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San Francisco Giants at San Diego Padres MLB Pick – July 31st

I hate it when a game goes a lot like you thought it would and you still end up coming up short. That is what happened last night when we backed Aaron Nola and the Philadelphia Phillies as big underdogs against the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox were justifiably the favorites, but getting a chance to back Aaron Nola getting a bunch of dog money, was too good of an opportunity to pass up on.

Nola was fantastic as he pitched eight strong innings and gave up just one run on four hits. Unfortunately for us, Red Sox starter David Price was up to the challenge and matched him pitch for pitch. Price ended his day with eight innings pitched and also allowed just the one run. The game went to the bullpens in the ninth inning and eventually the game ended up in extra innings.

Both teams had ample opportunity to take the lead in the extra frames, and despite several runners on base, the Phillies couldn’t drive a run across to take the lead. The Red Sox finally took the game on a walk-off Blake Swihart ground-rule double in the bottom of the thirteenth. Cleary we were on the value side of this one as it could have gone either way and we were getting +135 so I won’t feel too bad about getting bitten by some variance. For today’s pick, I will take a look at the game between the San Francisco Giants and the San Diego Padres.

The San Francisco Giants are in San Diego Tuesday for game two of a quick two-game series with the Padres, looking for the sweep. The Giants took game one last night in dramatic fashion, 5-3 in the twelfth inning on a Gorkys Hernandez home run. Neither of these teams are enjoying much success right now as they are both falling out of contention in the National League West Division.

The Giants had lost eight out of their last eleven games before last night’s win, and the Padres are closing in on the worst month in franchise history. With the loss today, the Padres would set the all-time mark for lowest winning percentage month in their history.

Starting today for the Giants is rookie sensation Dereck Rodriguez (5-1 2.75 ERA), and for the Padres it is Clayton Richard (7-10 5.05 ERA). The Giants are small -109 road favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight runs. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 PM PST from Petco Park in San Diego.

Dereck Rodriguez is like my little secret weapon this year. The rookie has produced some very solid results and it a relative unknown to anyone outside of San Francisco. With the Giants struggling, he hasn’t gotten all the attention he has deserved this season. After joining the rotation in late May, Rodriguez has really pitched well.

In his eleven starts on the year, he has an ERA of just 2.75, and the Giants are 8-3 in those starts. He has been even better in the month of July as he is 2-0 with a 2.05 ERA in four starts. The future looks bright for Rodriguez, and with his strong results, he just might be pitching himself into the National League rookie of the year conversation.

Clayton Richard is not having nearly as much success as Rodriguez is this year. The dog days of summer appear to really be wearing him down as in July this guy has been awful. This month, Richard has made five starts and is 0-3 with an ERA of 8.28. His last two starts he has gotten really hammered as he has pitched a combined eight innings and has given up thirteen earned runs. The Padres have lost five out of his last six starts.

The Giants stink on the road, and they are really struggling this month, that is the only thing giving me any apprehension here. The Padres are absolutely terrible and for a franchise known mostly for its losing ways in the last decade, the fact that they are worse now than maybe they have ever been, makes me really like fading them. They just aren’t winning many games this year.

And with a kid as good as Dereck Rodriguez on the mound tonight I don’t expect them to score many runs. The Padres have scored fewer runs than all but one team in the majors and are dead last in on-base percentage. This is one of the worst offensive teams in the league, and I expect Rodriguez will completely shut them down today.

I guess all the trade rumors swirling around the Giants is what has kept this a close line. Former MVP Andrew McCutchen is reportedly being shopped to several teams and may get moved before today’s trade deadline. That would certainly be a gut punch to the team, and I could see them coming out flat if they lose that big bat in the middle of their lineup.

Throw in the fact that starter Johnny Cueto looks to be done for the year as Tommy John surgery is in his near future and morale could certainly be down in the Giants dugout. But, all that being said, the fact that this line is close to even money is ridiculous. The Giants aren’t a playoff team this year, but they certainly aren’t a historically bad team like the Padres might be right now.

Whether McCutchen is in the lineup or not, I still like the Giants in this one, a lot. They are the significantly better team, with the significantly better starter on the mound. At basically even money it is just too much value to pass up on. Give me the San Francisco Giants as small road favorites tonight in game two at -109!

The Bet: San Francisco Giants -109

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