Major League Baseball wraps up what has been great a week of action today with fourteen games on the schedule. As we look back on the week, we see several teams surging up the standings. The Chicago White Sox have won seven straight games and are now just a game back of the Minnesota Twins for first place in the American League Central.
The San Diego Padres haven’t lost a game this week, winners of six straight and are looking to sweep the Houston Astros today at home. Even the Toronto Blue Jays, a team that looked destined for failure just a couple of weeks ago, managed to go 6-1 this week, and are right back in the playoff conversation in the American League East.
For our free daily betting pick, we will take a look at another team that is figuring things out as of late, as the San Francisco Giants look to extend their season-long five-game winning streak today at home, when they host the Arizona Diamondbacks in a battle between NL West Division rivals.
Arizona Diamondbacks (13-15) at San Francisco Giants (13-16)
The San Francisco Giants are looking for the series sweep today against the Arizona Diamondbacks in game three of a three-game set. The G-Men have been on fire this week, as they have won five straight games, with a combined score of 36-12. The nice run of results has catapulted the Giants into the NL wild-card race, as they are currently just a half of a game back of making the postseason.
For Arizona, the DBacks were putting together a strong month of August as they won ten out of thirteen games before dropping their last two games of their previous series with the Oakland A’s and the first two games of this series, to give them a season-high, four-game losing streak.
Starting today for the Giants is Trevor Cahill (0-0 1.59 ERA), and for the DBacks, it is Luke Weaver (1-3 9.16 ERA). The game total over/under is set at nine runs. The DBacks are -120 road favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 PM PST from Oracle Park in San Francisco.
You could look at the Arizona Diamondbacks record of 13-15 and go with a glass half full optimism and say that if the season were to end today, Arizona would be in the playoffs. Or, you can look at it with a glass half empty pessimistic view, and say that the DBacks are just half of a game away from being in last place in the National League West Division standings.
I’ll take my normal pragmatic view, and say that this team is in the mix, but is flawed, and they have a lot of work left to do if they want a realistic shot at the postseason. The biggest issue for Arizona, I am going to give Madison Bumgarner and Robbie Ray a little bit of a pass here, because them being atrocious is also a big deal, has been consistency at the plate for the DBacks.
The DBacks have scored just five total runs during their current four-game losing streak. On the year, they have scored two runs or fewer, eleven times in just 28 games. That is nearly 40% of the time that this team just can’t hit the baseball. In a division with hard-hitting teams like the Dodgers, Padres, and Rockies, that just isn’t going to cut it.
Luke Weaver (1-3 9.16 ERA)
I’ve decided to lay most of the blame for the DBacks struggles on their weak-hitting lineup. But the starting pitching has been awful as well. Zach Gallen and Merrill Kelly have both been strong, but Madison Bumgarner has an ERA of 9.35, Robbie Ray has an ERA of 8.33, and today’s starter, Luke Weaver, has an ERA of 9.16.
Weaver has made five starts this season and has been getting lit up. In his first four starts, he failed to pitch more than four innings in any outing and allowed a whopping eighteen earned runs in only 13.2 innings pitched. He looked much better in his last start, coming against the Oakland A’s, when he pitched five innings of one-run ball and picked up his first winning decision of the season.
San Francisco Giants
When the San Francisco Giants announced their plans to rebuild this season, most expected that rebuild to take at least a year or two. But here we are, just a handful of games into what should have been a season full of struggles for San Francisco, with the Giants right on the cusp of making the playoffs. Now, the greatly expanded postseason is playing a large part in that, but even if only five teams made the playoffs this year, like in year’s past, the Giants would only be two games out of the hunt in the NL.
The Giants are winning games at the plate right now, as they have scored an average of over seven runs a game during this five-game winning streak. One guy who has been powering this offense all year long has been Wilmer Flores. Flores is hitting a sizzling-hot .319 on the year, and in his last seven games, he has 13 hits and 10 RBI. He went 0-4 yesterday, and I would expect him to get right back on track today against Luke Weaver.
Trevor Cahill (0-0 1.59 ERA)
Trevor Cahill has been around west coast baseball for basically forever. Cahill has played for the Athletics, Angels, Padres, DBacks, and Giants during his long twelve-year career. That doesn’t even include a couple of stops of the other side of the country, when he played for the Cubs, Royals, and Braves.
Cahill is one of the most traveled pitchers in the game and has always been a serviceable pitcher no matter where he has gone, as he has a 162-game average of double-digit wins and an ERA of right around four runs.
This year, Cahill has really struggled to locate his pitches as he has five walks in only 5.1 innings pitched, and it has really hurt his ability to keep his pitch count low and get deep into games. In his first start of the season, against the Houston Astros, Cahill threw 55 pitches and didn’t make it out of the second inning, despite not giving up a hit or a run. In his last outing against the A’s, he was much better as he pitched four innings and allowed just one run, but again threw a lot of pitches early.
Who Do I Like?
Luke Weaver has been really bad this season. Even in his last start, where he was respectable, you have to think that was more based on the game situation than anything else, as the DBacks scored him nine runs of support in the first two innings, and both teams seemed content with just playing out the stick and calling it a game after the fast start for Arizona.
And when you look at how badly these DBacks bats have been swinging lately, I wouldn’t expect the lineup to bail him out again today. If Weaver doesn’t have his best stuff and gets lit up again by this hot-hitting Giants team, I don’t think the DBacks will have enough firepower to keep up.
This is a coin-flip type of game. Neither of these teams are very good, but Arizona has had a complete power outage at the dish in the last week, and the Giants are playing with confidence for the first time this year.
I see Weaver being bad again, and the Giants hanging some crooked numbers up on the board against him today. I don’t have too much confidence at all in Trevor Cahill, but against an Arizona team that seemingly forget their bats at home in Arizona for this road trip, he should be good enough to outduel Luke Weaver.
I love me some home dogs, and that is the play I am going to make in this one. A home dog getting plus money in a coin flip game? Ok, I’ll bite. Give me the San Francisco Giants as home underdogs today in game three as they pick up the series sweep!