MLB Picks for July 29th – Giants Reds, Marlins Braves

San Fransisco Giants +100 @ Cincinnati Reds-120 (Total: 8.5)
R. Vogelsong (8-1, 2.10) vs. D. Willis (0-1, 3.71)

Things have gone from rocky to flat-out ugly in Cincy the past week. The Reds limp into the series with the defending World Champs fresh off a stinging 4-game sweep by the New York Mets in which they allowed 30 runs to cross the plate.

The Giants are near the bottom of nearly every offensive category, yet they do lead in a rather important one; wins. Think of these numbers: last in the league at hitting with runners in scoring position. They have the second fewest runs scored in the National League. They have a negative run differential. In fact the only team ever to win a World Series with similar statistics was the… yup, 2010 Giants.

Of course, when you can pitch like the Giants, scoring runs doesn’t seem to matter much; some nights they only need one or two. Tonight, replacement fifth-starter and All-Star (you won’t read that sentence very often) Ryan Volelsong takes his near perfect record to the mound against the pleasantly resurgent Dontrelle Willis.

Vogelsong shows no signs of coming back to Earth. His last three starts have seen his ERA actually shrink (1.93) and earned him two more wins without a defeat. Willis has likewise been effective, and facing a light-hitting Giant lineup should help.

The line seems a little high at 8.5 runs tonight, and I can’t help but be drawn to the UNDER. That’s my official pick tonight, though the Giants at even money with Vogelsong on the hill is an enticing proposition as well.


Florida Marlins +140 @ Atlanta Braves -160 (TOTAL: 8)
C. Hensley (1-2, 2.88) vs.: B. Beachy (3-2, 3.58)

The Braves are on fire, and despite the persistent rumors of the desperate desire to add a bat for the stretch run, it hasn’t been just pitching. The Bravos are scoring some runs too. As a matter of fact, the OVER has hit in 14 of their last 20 games.

The Marlins have also been playing some games in the high run total arena, with the TOTAL OVER going 6-1-1 overall, and 9-3 in their last 12 road games. Tonight the face Brandon Beachy. The young hurler has great stuff, but if there is anyone of their staff that is going to get touched up a bit, it is most likely Beachey.

Beachey is 0-1 with an ERA approaching five in his last three starts. His WHIP for the season is a very respectable 1.23, but over his last three starts it has ballooned to 1.86. It’s tough to win many ball games if you allow two runners to reach base every inning. Sooner or later, they’re going to do some damage.

For the Fish, young Clay Hensley has really come into his own over the past two weeks. In his three most recent starts he has allowed an ERA of 1.80 (albeit in limited innings). The Marlin bats failed them in their last trip to Atlanta, scoring just four runs in three games, however, they did put up five and six respectively in their early season homestand.

It’s summertime, and the run totals seem to be escalating along with the temperature. That makes TOTAL 8 a pretty enticing number to play the OVER, despite some of the Marlins recent struggles scoring runs in Atlanta. I’m making that my official play tonight, OVER 8.


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Chris Scheeren / Author