Sometimes you just miss on a game. That is what happened last night when we backed the Philadelphia Phillies as home underdogs against the Washington Nationals. The Nationals bats had been struggling badly since they traded away Daniel Murphy and Matt Adams last week and Steven Strasburg hadn’t won a game in three months. Throw in the fact that the Phillies have been the best home team in the National League this year, and it felt like a great spot to find value.
But in the end, the variance caught up to us, and we came up short. Strasburg pitched decently. All told, he pitched six innings and allowed two runs on five hits and three walks. Strasburg was working in and out of jams all afternoon long and got the job done for his team. Eflin for Philly was a bit of a hard-luck loser as he allowed five runs, but two of them weren’t really his fault as they were unearned. For today’s pick, we will look at the game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Francisco Giants.
The San Francisco Giants will be looking for the series win tonight in game two of a three-game series with the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks. The Giants took the series last night in game one, 2-0. Patrick Corbin pitched well for Arizona as he threw seven innings of two-run ball and struck out nine. But it wasn’t enough to match Giants starter, Chris Stratton, as Stratton pitched eight shutout innings in the Giants win.
Despite falling out of contention at this point, the Giants continue to be one of the best home teams in the National League this season. For Arizona, the loss hurts as they are in a dogfight in the National League West Division with the Colorado Rockies and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Entering play today, the DBacks hold a slim one-game lead over Colorado and a two-game lead over L.A.
Starting tonight for the DBacks is Clay Buchholz (7-2 2.25 ERA), and for the Giants, it is Madison Bumgarner (5-5 2.88 ERA). This number has moved around quite a bit after opening with the DBacks as small favorites, the Giants are now small home favorites at -110. The game total over-under is set at seven runs. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 PM PST from AT&T Park in San Francisco.
What an addition Clay Buchholz has been this season for the Arizona Diamondbacks. With Patrick Corbin and Robbie Ray struggling, it has been Buchholz that has been the second-best pitcher on this team behind ace Zack Greinke. Buchholz was picked up when the Kansas City Royals dropped him from their minor league squad in May and was added to this rotation for one spot start to help spell the regular rotation.
He pitched well in that one start and earned another and then another, and he has now become an integral part of this Arizona pitching staff. On the season, his ERA of 2.25 is the best of any of the Arizona starters. He has been especially good in August as he is 3-1 with a 1.55 ERA in four starts. Buchholz has two starts against the Giants this season and has pitched well both times. In both games, he pitched six innings and allowed just two earned runs.
The Giants will start their ace tonight, Madison Bumgarner. Bumgarner got a late start to the season as he missed almost two months with an injury. After a slow start, Bumgarner has gotten right back to his winning ways. Bumgarner has allowed two runs or fewer in five out of his last six starts. In his last start, he went head to head with leading Cy Young Award candidate Jacob deGrom in New York and outdueled him. Bumgarner pitched eight innings and allowed just one run and picked up the win against the Mets.
The Giants season is, for all intents and purposes, over. They are just too far back to really have any chance of getting back in the race at this point. And on top of that, they just shut down Buster Posey, their best player, for the rest of the season with a hip injury. But you just can’t deny how great Madison Bumgarner is at home this year. He has always pitched well at home, but this season he has a blink, and you will miss it ERA of just 1.71 at home. Opposing batters are hitting just .198 against Bumgarner in San Fran.
While I love what Clay Buchholz is doing this year, he is no Madison Bumgarner. This line opened with the DBacks as small favorites and I hammered the overnight line. It has shifted in early betting this morning to the Giants as small favorites, and I still feel strongly that the Giants are the side to be on. Bumgarner has shown in the past that he loves the big moment and pitching at home tonight against the first place DBacks is about as big of a moment as these Giants have left this year.
The game will likely be low scoring and tightly contested, but in the end, I see Bumgarner out dueling Buchholz and leading his team to another win. Give me the San Francisco Giants as small home favorites tonight at -110 in game two!