San Fran goes for a sweep Sunday after taking the
first two games of this series in Philly. The teams combined for six homers Saturday, including one each by
starting pitchers Matt Cain and Cole Hamels, to send that game OVER its total
of seven. How do we play this in our MLB picks?
So the Giants lead in the NL West sits at 2.5 games over the
second-place Dodgers, while the Phillies - well, they're in big trouble, at 13
games under .500.
In a matchup of former Oakland A's teammates, Philly will
send Joe Blanton (8-8, 4.79) to the mound Sunday vs. Barry Zito (8-6, 3.75) for
Blanton, by our strict standards, is only 7-18 on quality
starts this year, although somehow the Phillies are 10-8 in games he's started.
But in his first start after the break, Blanton held the Dodgers to two runs on
six hits through eight innings, walking none and striking out seven.
On the season, Blanton has allowed 130 hits, including 20
dingers, in 118 innings.
In his one start this year vs. the Giants, Blanton gave up
four run on 11 hits in five innings of a 4-2 Philly loss back in April.
Zito is 8-18 on quality starts this year, although San
Francisco has managed to go 10-8 in games he's started. But he is three for his
last four on QS, after holding the Braves scoreless through seven innings of a
9-0 Giants win Tuesday. Over his last four outings he's allowed five ER on 18
hits in 25 innings, but he's walked 13 in that span, and on the season owns a
very mediocre 59/49 K/BB ratio.
In his most recent start vs. Philly last July, Zito got
nailed for six runs on six hits, including three homers, in seven innings.
In perusing Sunday's MLB odds boards we found the
Phillies at -142 at Heritage, and the Giants at +141 at Matchbook. Also, the
total on Sunday's game is listed almost everywhere at nine.
Free MLB Pick
It's tough to go
against a home team trying to avoid a sweep, but that's what we'll do; give us
the Giants at the underdog price.
So the Giants, winners of six of seven since the All-Star
break, lead the NL West by 2.5 games over the Dodgers, while the Phillies are
now 12 games under .500 and 13.5 games out of first place in the NL East.
In a matchup of NL Cy Young contenders Cole Hamels (11-4,
3.07) starts for Philly Saturday against Matt Cain (10-3, 2.56) for San
Here's what we're looking at for this game
Hamels, by our strict standards, is 12/18 on quality starts
this year, and the Phillies, a team that's 12 games under .500, are 12-6 in
games he's started. Most recently, the All-Star lefty held the Rockies to one
run in eight innings last Sunday, and for the season he's given up 107 hits in
126 innings, and owns a K/BB ratio of 4/1, with 125 whiffs against 30 walks.
This will be Hamels' first start this year vs. the
NL All-Star starter Cain, meanwhile, is 11/18 in quality
starts this year, and the Giants are 12-6 in his starts. Most recently, he held
Houston to one ER on five hits through 6 1/3 innings. If we have to stretch to
say something bad about Cain, we notice that he's given up three or more runs
in three of his last five starts. But other than that, we're big fans, and have
backed him many times over the last two seasons.
On the year, Cain has allowed 96 hits in 127 innings, and
owns a 5/1 K/BB ratio at 124/25.
In his one start this year vs. Philly (playing without Howard and Utley) Cain tossed a two-hit shutout for a 1-0 San Francisco
victory back in April.
These two starting pitchers hooked up twice last year; the
teams split the two games, both of which were decided by scores of 2-1.
As of Saturday morning, in shopping for prices at various
baseball odds makers, we found the Phillies at -125 at The Greek, while the
Giants were getting +126 at Matchbook.
And most MLB betting books are listing the total on Saturday's game at
Free MLB Pick
If you like watching
good pitching, you might want to tune in for this one (4 pm Eastern, Fox). As
for a pick, we'd have to go with Cain at the underdog price, and the UNDER seven on the total.