We got a nice easy winner last night as the Giants cruised past the Rockies behind seven runs and a nice outing from Johnny Cueto to capture a much-needed 7-2 victory. Even nicer for us, the runline winner came at a slight plus-money line at +115. We will try to cap off the regular season in grand fashion as the final series of the regular season commence tonight.
The three series that everyone will have their eyes on are the three that will directly decide the wildcard winners (as well as who plays who, and where). The Cardinals host the Pirates, the Mets head to Philly, and the Giants play the rival Dodgers, whose manager Dave Roberts has insisted will be playing it straight and competing, though it remains to be seen just how far Kershaw and Rich Hill will be extended with the pennant already secured…
Let’s get to it – BIG weekend of baseball!
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Today’s Free Pick:
Los Angeles Dodgers +108 at San Francisco Giants -118 (Total: 6)
Rich Hill (12-5, 2.05 ERA) vs. Madison Bumgarner (14-9, 2.71 ERA)
If Rich Hill had pitched in the National League all season long, he might very well be a Cy Young winner this season. Regardless, he has been excellent, and even BETTER since joining the Dodgers, posting a 3-2 record with a 1.53 ERA. The only question with Hill tonight is how long Roberts will let him pitch with so little on the line for the Dodgers.
Opposing Hill is the Giants ace, their rock, their leader; Madison Bumgarner. There is a danger of the mythology occasionally eclipsing the reality due to his legend-worthy 2014 World Series heroics. But even with that risk recognized, I can’t see him NOT coming up big tonight in such an important game for the Giants. He has been great against the Dodgers in his career with a 13-9 record and a 2.66 ERA. His performance has been spot-on, but as you can see from the nine losses, his mates haven’t always backed him up with the bats. That is the fear tonight, but I’m going to back MadBum tonight on two assumptions – I think he will personally out-duel Rich Hill, and I also think Hill isn’t going more than five or six innings with the postseason right around the corner. The Dodgers do have an excellent bullpen, but again, how much taxation is Roberts willing to put on the most essential arms tonight?
The fact that Kershaw was originally slated tonight, but pushed back for the extra day of rest tells me the Dodgers had no interest in the Kershaw/MadBum headliner – they are in “ready for postseason” mode. The Giants are in “anything we have to do to get to the postseason” mode.
Those two are very different. I like the Giants at home behind a big effort from Bumgarner.