The San Francisco Giants try to pick up the pieces of what amounts to a lost season when they host the Cleveland Indians to start a new series on Monday night. The Giants are clearly in a bad way, as they dropped two of three games in a rough series against the rival Padres and continue to anchor the NL West with a brutal 35-58 record.
There doesn’t appear to be any light at the end of the tunnel for the Giants, but they do return home to AT&T Park and could have a positive matchup with the beatable Josh Tomlin toeing the rubber for the visiting Tribe. Cleveland is in a much better spot, as they look to add to a 47-43 record that currently has them standing in first place in the AL Central. It’s a tenuous grip atop the division, of course, as the Indians have dropped four straight and hold a narrow 1.5 game lead over the pesky Minnesota Twins.
This could be the beginning of a disastrous slide out of first place, or the Indians could take full advantage of a friendly showdown with an inferior squad in the Giants. How you perceive either side could go a long way in how you decide to bet tonight:
Cleveland Indians (-124) @ San Francisco Giants (+104) Total: 8.5
Josh Tomlin (5-9, 5.90 ERA) vs. Matt Moore (3-9, 6.04 ERA)
It doesn’t take a genius to note two obvious factors going into this inter-league showdown; the Giants are awful and neither of these pitchers can be trusted. Josh Tomlin obviously has the better matchup on paper, but the 32-year old righty tends to give up way too much contact and is especially at risk of coughing up the long ball. He can make batters miss at times, but the Giants don’t strike out a ton and he’ll also be sporting a nasty 5.75 road ERA.
So, where is the optimism with Tomlin? It’s short and sweet, but his hard contact issues are potentially negated by this park, plus San Francisco’s ineptitude in the power department (dead last in the majors in homers vs. righties). The Giants are also just 27th in batting average against lefties, while the only hitters Tomlin really needs to work around are Buster Posey and Brandon Belt. The latter isn’t particularly efficient, so if Tomlin can just keep the ball near the infield, he could be in for a mighty fine outing.
We’re not here to puff up an aging pitcher who gives away homers like they’re DJ pamphlets in Seattle, however. Tomlin is on the road, he tends to give up runs in bunches and he can’t be trusted.
The matchup does lean his way, however, and Cleveland’s offense should help him out quite a bit. This is not a good park for the Indians to sound off in, but Matt Moore isn’t a whole lot more stable than Tomlin and despite the friendly, park, has posted a shaky 4.44 ERA here. In addition, the Tribe hits southpaws quite well. Like, 3rd in home runs and 11th in batting average kind of well.
This is a date to fear for Moore, who has not been in top form with 5+ runs allowed in three of his last five starts. Moore is giving up fly balls at a rapid rate and while that’s less of a concern in this park, it’s certainly reason to worry against these Indians. Moore is also having serious problems getting lefty hitters out (.475 OBP), which means guys like Francisco Lindor, Michael Brantley, Jose Ramirez, Carlos Santana and even Bradley Zimmer could potentially tee off in this contest.
I’m not sold on the Over just because the pitching boasts some upside, but Tomlin has the better matchup and the Indians are the scarier offense. Cleveland needs to snap out of their current funk, too, and what better team to do it against? We love the Tribe here, so we can attack a pretty decent line despite them being favored. We should also consider their +135 Run Line, but with run lines giving us troubles lately, we’ll stick with the straight up pick.