Giants vs. Padres Pick MLB – Sept 22nd

At least we didn’t have to wait too late into the night to tear up our ticket… The run total for the Giants and Dodgers was eclipsed early and often, thanks in large part to a three-run homerun from the center of the series, Yasiel Puig.  Six runs crossed in the first inning, more runs than had scored in the entire SERIES to that point, and the Dodgers coasted to an easy 9-3 win.

The wildcard race will the the focus for the next 10 days, and most of the “winning the NL” attention falls to the seemingly inevitable matchup between the Cubs and Nationals.  And of course, it is hard to discount the last three NL champs, New York, San Francisco and St. Louis, who are all jockeying for the final two berths.  But well under that radar are the dangerous Dodgers.  Kershaw, for all his postseason woes, is back and healthy and remains a dominant ace.  Rich Hill has been amazing – statistically one could argue he is the best pitcher in baseball in 2016, and Kenta Maeda is their #3.  Now that the offense, and sparkplug Puig, are showing some life, don’t discount the Dodgers chances to finally get over the hump.

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Today’s Free Pick:

San Francisco Giants -150 at San Diego Padres +144 (Total: 7.5)

Jeff Samardzija (11-10, 3.97 ERA) vs. Christian Freidrich (5-10, 4.78 ERA)

I’d be juuuuust about ready to give up on the Giants if it weren’t for the fact that everyone they are competing against for the final two postseason slots also seems uninterested in winning their way to the finish line.  All three contenders, including the aforementioned Giants, lost yesterday, leaving all three knotted at 80-72.  One would think the edge would shift to the Giants tonight while they play the lowly Padres and the Cards gear up for some fun with the Cubbies starting tomorrow, but the Giants have now lost three in a row to the Pads after getting swept at home a week ago.

They SHOULD fare better today.  After all, I’d hope the team that won three of the last five World Series could beat a minor league team with regularity.  Because that is what they are facing tonight.  The Padres are clearing the benches tonight and will start an all new outfield consisting of Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe, catcher Austin Hedges.  You are forgiven for your collective “who?!?”  I imagine for all but the most strident of Pads fans tonight’s reaction will have a Major League “who are these f*&*!^g guys?!?” feel to it….

SO will that be enough to keep Samardzija sharp?  He has been good the last month after a pretty miserable summer.  He is fresh off a 1 ER outing and has delivered quality starts in five of his last six outings.  Add in a pitcher friendly park and a team playing a largely inexperienced lineup and I like Samardzija to be better than “good” tonight.

The Giants have their backs to the wall and CAN’T waste an opportunity to play four against the Padres.  I like them to play like it tonight and to somehow, someway, finally get their act together.

The -150 line is reasonable, but I’m going to muscle up on the runline tonight and grab some better value at +105.

Free Pick:  San Francisco Giants RUNLINE -1.5 (+105)