We’re off to a hot start to the season as part of a small four-pick sample size, but as we look to starting banging out some more picks on a daily basis, let’s stay hot with this Reds vs. Giants MLB pick from San Fran!
- Season Record: 3-1
- Units: +1.88
Reds vs. Giants Betting Odds
- Reds (+104)
- Giants (-114)
- Reds +1.5 (-225)
- Giants -1.5 (+195)
- Over 7.5 (+100)
- Under 7.5 (-120)
Reds vs. Giants MLB Pick Breakdown
The Reds will send their current ace Luis Castillo to the mound in this one, marking his third start of the season after the first two were night and day from one another.
Castillo was roughed up on Opening Day to the tune of eight earned runs allowed on eight hits — including a homer — along with a pair of walks in just 3.1 innings of work. The electric right-hander also failed to strike anyone out in that one. However, he enjoyed far better results against the lowly Pirates his last time out, hurling seven shutout innings, allowing four hits and a walk while punching out five en route to his first win of the 2021 season.
Although the Pirates represent perhaps the top matchup in the bigs, the latter is more of what we’ve become accustomed to from the 28-year-old Castillo. After all, he worked to a 3.21 ERA/2.65 FIP last season while his 2.97 xERA, 2.82 xFIP and 3.34 SIERA — not to mention a huge 11.44 K/9 clip — all suggest he deserved every bit of that elite season.
Here’s a guy with a 3.68 ERA/3.78 FIP for his career, although he’s been below those figures in each of last two seasons as he is smack-dab in the middle of his prime years and should have many ahead of him moving forward.
Few teams, if any, have raked at the same rate the Reds have early in the 2021 campaign.
Indeed, the Reds’ 18 home runs share the MLB lead alongside the Houston Astros so far while Cincy ranks first as well with a .369 wOBA and a .227 ISO while their 131 wRC+ checks in at third behind the Astros and league-leading Dodgers.
All that said, it’s an offense that’s been cooled off following a white-hot start to the season. The Reds have scored just six runs over their last three games, including a 3-0 series-opening win over the Giants last night. They were also shutout 7-0 by the D-backs in their series finale on Sunday, giving them just three runs over their last two games as the bats come back down to earth here.
The production has been monstrous up and down the lineup and even into the bench. Nicholas Castellanos and Mike Moustakas are everyday regulars that have ranked, but Tyler Naquin has four homers, Jesse Winker has a cool 264 wRC+, catcher Tucker Barnhart owns a 183 mark and Eugenio Suarez has two homers and a 128 wRC+ himself. Add in big-time contributions from Jonathan India, Nick Senzel and Aristides Aquino and the Reds have had few holes throughout their lineup.
That’s certainly all well and good in the early going, but if we’re looking at the big picture and factoring career track records, it’s understandable why the group has cooled off. Not to say there isn’t potential for a quality offensive season, but even the best teams in baseball don’t post a .369 wOBA over a full season while notable regression is to be had across the board moving forward, for the most part.
One area where the Reds will need to get better in order to take a real shot at the NL Central crown is here in the bullpen, a fairly new-look group here in 2021.
Gone is long-time closer Raisel Iglesias who the team traded — along with his $10M contract — to the Angels in the offseason, looking to replace his high-leverage production with a handful of arms with late-inning experience.
One new face is Sean Doolittle, and another is former Angel Cam Bedrosian. Amir Garrett got the first crack at saves coming out of spring training but has been hit hard in allowing five earned runs in his three innings of work while Dootlittle has pitched three clean frames so far. Also factoring into the late innings is Lucas Sims who looked like a breakout reliever in the shortened 2020 season , so while Iglesias is no longer, they do have experienced high-leverage arms in that ‘pen.
They’re off to an inauspicious start, however, posting a 19th-ranked 4.50 ERA on the season so far and their 23rd-ranked 4.82 FIP doesn’t exactly point to much bad luck. Home runs (1.58 HR/9) and walks (4.05 BB/9) have been issues and considering they appear to have actually benefitted from batted-ball luck with a .232 BABIP against despite an elevated 41.5% hard-hit rate against — as per Statcast — and it seems this group just hasn’t been all that good so far.
We’ll see how it goes, but improvements will need to be made in support of the fine-looking offensive work so far.
It’s ace vs. ace in this one as the Giants send right-hander Kevin Gausman to the bump for this one as he’s logged a pair of excellent starts to begin his 2021 season.
The late-blooming Gausman struggled mightily with the Reds in the 2019 season, but broke out with the Giants last season, posting a 3.62 ERA/3.09 FIP with a monstrous 11.92 K/9 against just 2.41 BB/9 in 59.2 innings in the shortened 2020 season.
At that point, Gausman accepted the team’s qualifying offer and has gone on to allow just two earned runs across the first 13.2 frames of his 2021 season, walking just 1.98 batters per nine innings in the process. He began his season with 6.2 innings of one-run ball in Seattle before hurling seven innings of one-run ball in a difficult start at San Diego his last time out.
It certainly doesn’t appear as if luck is a major factor here. Sure, his 194 BABIP against will regress, but the command is there, and he’s allowed just 30.6% hard contact with another 22.2% soft contact so far as well.
His 47.2% fly-ball rate will need to come down, which is why his xFIP of 4.38 is so far above his 1.32 ERA as he’s yet to allow a homer despite such an elevated fly-ball rate.
Nonetheless, Gausman has been sharp so far this season and will look for his third consecutive dominant outing in this one.
The Giants surpassed any and all expectations at the plate in the 2020 season, and while they scored 13 runs across their first two games this time around, it’s been a lowly start to the season for this offense.
After scoring seven runs on Opening Day and another six the following day against the Mariners, this Giants offense has not scored more than four runs in any game, averaging just 2.25 runs per game over their last eight, getting shutout twice in that span.
Entering this one, the Giants are tied for 25th with a .285 wOBA on the season while they’ve done much of their damage via the home run with 14 of them on the season, good for a lengthy share of fourth place league wide. Their .167 ISO checks in at 11th and their 10.5% walk rate at sixth, so they’ve been good in the power/patience department despite the weak overall results.
It would seem they should regress positively moving forward, however. The Giants are in the middle of the pack at 16th with a Statcast 40.8% hard-hit rate and also fourth with an 11% barrel rate, yet rank 30th with a .222 batting average on balls in play.
Home runs aside, it’s largely been Evan Longoria, Buster Posey and Donovan Solano doing the all-round hitting. Darin Ruff, Alex Dickerson and Brandon Crawford have two homers apiece, but are all hitting .200 or worse.
We’ll see if any positive offensive regression is in store for the home side in this one.
The Giants benefited from some quality bullpen work last season, working to a 12th-ranked 4.24 ERA a season ago. However, their 4.78 FIP and 5.07 xFIP suggests they deserved a far worse fate than they ended up with, although they did rank fifth with just a 34.7% hard-hit rate against, as per Statcast.
The group has been good again this year, working to a seventh-ranked 3.34 ERA on the season, but again, it looks like regression on the horizon. The Giants’ bullpen also owns a 4.63 FIP/4.30 xFIP while they’ve certainly have benefited from a .176 BABIP against, by far the lowest mark in the league with Cleveland’s 2.11 mark coming in as the next-lowest figure. Now, they still haven’t allowed much hard contact at 33.3% for the season, but that BABIP regression is en route to be sure.
Jake McGee has been a fine addition as the team’s closer with 5.1 scoreless frames and four saves on the season while his 1.86 xERA is, of course, quite good. Wandy Peralta has also been good in the later innings with four scoreless frames and a save himself.
We’ll see if the Giants’ bullpen can avoid the BABIP regression in this one tonight.
Reds vs. Giants MLB Pick
To me, there’s a couple of ways we could go here. I do like the value on the Reds moneyline given that the BABIP numbers on Gausman and the Giants’ bullpen spell regression, especially when we factor in fly-ball rates.
However, I’m also liking the over on a short total here at nice value.
While Oracle Park in San Francisco is one of, if not the pitcher-friendliest park in baseball, it appears we have a 14 mph wind blow out to dead center tonight in San Fran, a condition greatly helping the hitters. It also helps the Gausman home-run rate regression to kick in (remember, big fly-ball rate, zero homers against) against an offense smacking plenty of homers on the season. Keep in mind the Giants have done plenty of damage on the long ball as well.
Neither bullpen has been any good, and the Giants aren’t going to average 2.25 runs per game much longer. They also have some serious BABIP regression kicking in as an offense moving forward.
Add it up and I think we’ll see these starters yield some offense before a couple of middling-looking bullpens take over. I’ll hit the Over here at a nice price.