Giants vs. Padres Pick – April 7th

The Giants and Padres both got off to rough division starts, dropping three of four to the D'Backs and Dodgers respectively.  Both will look to get things moving in a positive direction this weekend in Petco.

I love the beginning of the MLB season.  Wagering can be tricky, as so much of the sabermetrician data that us baseball nerds live by is yet to emerge or is far too small in sample size to be useful (for example, Daniel Nava of the Phillies is currently slugging just under three thousand 2.750%), but every three or four days gives us a completely new “mini season” and a fresh chance to evaluate each team.  We have a completely new slate of series tonight.  The Rockies looked pretty awesome, going 3-1 in their first week.  The Dodgers looked like the best team in baseball, going 3-1 and winning by a combined score of 27-10.  This weekend they each get a new opponent; each other.  The Rockies host the Dodgers – can their early season pitching excellence last against a top-flight lineup in batter-loving Coors Field?  Can the Dodgers pitching be as comfortable now that they face not only a real MLB lineup, but a really GOOD one at that.

Likewise, the Cubs and Cards played some tense games with runs at a premium.  Will either offense break out this weekend?  It seems likely.  The Cubbies go to Miller Park and the Cards get to enjoy the fourth and fifth starters of the Cincinnati Reds this weekend at home.

It was a fun first series.  We saw a pitcher homer twice (MadBum), we saw Yasiel Puig homer twice (hitting in the eight-hole no less), and we saw dominant pitchers like Strasburg and Arietta and Kershaw be dominant.  We are off and running – enjoy this weekend of interesting matchups!

Today’s MLB Pick:

 San Francisco Giants -102 at San Diego Padres +115 (Total: 8)
Matt Cain vs. Luis Perdomo

It was a less-than-ideal start to the season for the Giants, dropping three of four to the Diamondbacks and having all the worries of the off-season surface in differing orders throughout the series.  First, it was the bullpen woes.  They blew three leads in the opener’s walk off loss.  Then, their starting pitching past their two studs faltered, and they surrendered runs in bunches the last two games.  And of course, their staggering offense from the second half of the season is still a real concern.

All those concerns, all those worries… and we are STILL talking about a likely playoff team with one of the best starting rotations in baseball and talent all over the field.  Remember, there are 158 more games, and every three or four days (and every new starting pitcher trotting to the mound) is a new season.  I like Matt Cain to make the most of that fresh start; both for the team and personally, tonight.

Cain has struggled the last few years.  To say the least.  The former Cy Young and one-time highest paid righty on Earth, hasn’t posted an ERA under 4.00 since 2012.  His Spring numbers were vile.  He went 25-plus innings and surrendered a 7.84 ERA with a WHIP of 1.66.  That gets you cut in most cities where you haven’t won a Cy Young Award.  Alas, Cain is the #5 for now…

If there is cause for concern, there is also cause for optimism for two distinct reasons.  He is facing the Padres offense, and he is facing them in Petco Park.  That’s a great recipe for success.  Another recipe for success are the ghosts of home opener’s past for Perdomo.  The young Padres hurler lasted just one inning in the ballyhooed home opener last year, allowing six runs before an embarrassing walk to the showers.  I think he will better this year, but I think the Giants have the distinct edge.

The Padres website eager points out that Perdomo had a nice season, leading the club in wins and innings and second in strikeouts.  The downside is that those numbers are: NINE, 146, and 105, respectively.  And THAT my friends, is how you get the #1 pick in the draft!

A note on the lines – they are wildly varied from book to book and in no sport more than baseball can you find advantages by shopping lines.  They are -115 in a lot of books but as low as -102 if you shop around.

I’ll take the G-Men to get things going in friendly Petco Park.