San Francisco Giants +135 at Cincinnati Reds -140 (Total: 7.5)
Homer Bailey vs. Ryan Vogelsong
The Giants got a gift in getting host the first two games of the series, despite being the lesser-seeded team. Suffice it to say they squandered it. They now head to Cincy, down 2-0, and having been outscored 14-2 in the process. Not an ideal situation, and now the season rides on the arm of Ryan Vogelsong pitching in Great American “Small-park” and trying to silence the suddenly red-hot Reds bats.
He will match up against Homer Bailey who was the National League Player of the Week two weeks ago after tossing his first career no-hitter. Bailey, who has been much maligned in his first four years, is finally beginning to show the promise that made him the seventh overall selection in the draft. It feels like he’s been around for a while, but he’s only 26 and his stuff is electric when he has full command.
The Reds have three home games to finish off what appeared to be a pretty evenly matched series. The question is will they play like it? Or will their bats stay alive, happy to be home, and continue the onslaught they’ve unleashed in the first two games? Let’s dig into the numbers and find some advantages.
For Cincinnati, there is no bigger advantage than their home ballpark. They are a blistering 50-31 on the season at home, and have used the hitter-friendly dimensions to fuel an offense loaded with power. Injuries have held down a few hitter’s numbers, but one through eight they have players who can take the opposing pitcher deep. But very underrated is the excellence of their pitching staff. They have two legit aces with Cueto and Latos, and Arroyo and tonight’s starter Homer Bailey have been as good as any 3/4s in baseball.
And then of course, there is the vaunted bullpen. Along with Atlanta, the Reds have had the best bullpen in baseball, and behind the strength of Marshall, Broxton and Chapman it becomes essentially a six inning game, so you better touch up their starter early…
The Giants offense has been in hibernation mode in this series, and the pressure of an 0-2 road game usually isn’t the best recipe for relaxing at the plate. I like Bailey to continue to pitch well and for the Reds to close out their first playoff series win in seventeen years. They are 12-0 in their last 12 games at home against a team with winning record. Today makes lucky #13.
Free Pick: Cincinnati Reds to WIN -140