The San Francisco Giants, fresh off a “lost weekend”
of baseball, will now look to get back on track when they host the New York
Mets for a four-game series at AT&T Park. Follow our coverage and MLB picks for each game of this series.
By: Ron Patrick
The Mets have taken two of the first three games in this
series, winning 8-7 Monday, losing 4-1 Tuesday then beating Matt Cain Wednesday
Despite Wednesday's loss San Francisco remains one game up
on Los Angeles in the NL West. But both those teams had better look out for
Arizona, which is now just 2.5 games back of the Giants.
The Mets, meanwhile, are back to within three games of .500.
The Giants will send lefty Barry Zito (8-7, 3.89) to the
hill Thursday (3:45 pm Eastern) against Chris Young (2-5, 4.58) for the Mets.
Zito is 9-for-20 on quality starts this season, and San
Francisco is 10-10 in games he's started. Most recently Zito gave up four runs
on seven hits in less than six innings of a 10-0 loss to Los Angeles last
Saturday, but in his two previous outings he had held the Braves and Phillies
to three ER through 14 innings.
On the season Zito has allowed 108 hits in 118 innings, but
his K/BB ratio of 70/51 leaves something to be desired.
In his one start this season against the Mets Zito allowed
two runs through five innings in a game San Fran eventually won 4-3 in 10
innings back in April.
Warming up over on the other side of the field, Young is
five-for-10 on quality starts this season, but New York has won just two of his
starts, and has lost his last five. His last time out Young got plugged for six
runs on seven hits in four innings of a 6-3 Mets loss in Arizona last Saturday,
although in his two starts before that, in back-to-back outings against the
Nationals, he had allowed four runs through 13 innings.
For the season Young, who didn't join the Mets until June,
has given up 61 hits and walked 17 in 57 innings.
Young hasn't pitched against the Giants since 2009.
As of Thursday morning most online sportsbooks were listing
San Francisco as a favorite of right around -130 for Thursday afternoon's game,
with a total of either 7.5 or eight.
The Giants could also be played on the run line at +165 at
several baseball betting outlets.
Free MLB Pick
San Fran is scuffling, losing six of its last seven games,
and they've cost us twice already in this series. But we figure the Giants will
manage a split for this series, so we'll stick with them for Thursday.
These teams have split the first two games of this four-game
series, after New York won 8-7 in extra innings Monday as +175 underdogs, while
San Francisco, behind Tim Lincecum, won Tuesday 4-1.
The Mets now sit 9.5 games out of the second National League
Wild-Card spot, while the Giants lead the NL West by a game over Los Angeles
and 3.5 games over surging Arizona.
San Francisco will go with Matt Cain (10-3, 2.80) for
Wednesday (10:15 pm Eastern) against lefty Jon Niese (7-5, 3.86) for New York.
Cain is 12-for-20 on quality starts this season, but only
three for his last seven. Most recently Cain gave up three ER on nine hits
through seven innings against the Dodgers last Friday, and in his three starts
since the All-Star break he's allowed nine ER on 19 hits over 21 1/3 innings.
So he's not exactly been unhittable as of late.
This will be Cain's first start this year against the Mets.
Last year, in his only appearance against New York, Cain got a win, allowing
squat on five hits through six innings.
Niese, meanwhile, is 11-for-20 on quality starts this year,
and five for his last seven. His last time out Niese gave up six ER on nine
hits through six innings at Arizona last Friday, but in his two starts prior to
that he held the Nats and Dodgers to four ER through 14 innings. Despite a
couple of quality starts the Mets have lost Niese's last four outings.
In his one start against the Giants this year, back in
April, Niese allowed three ER on seven hits through six innings of a 4-3 New
As of Wednesday AM the best price we could find on the
Giants was the -166 at Matchbook, while the Mets could be gotten at +163 at
San Fran can also be played at +150 on the run line at
Also, every sportsbook we consulted was listing the total on
this game at 6.5.
Free MLB Pick
OK, we're 0-2 on this series so far, and now we're gun-shy.
That rally by the Mets Monday night still pisses us off. Ultimately, we have to
look at who we think is the better team here, who's got more to play for, the
fact that the New York bullpen is one of the worst in baseball and that the
Giants are 21-10 against left-handed starters this year. So we'll go with San
Francisco for Wednesday's free MLB pick.
New York extended San Francisco's losing streak to five
games Monday night, coming from behind with a four-run eighth inning, coughing
up that lead in the bottom of the ninth, then scoring two in the top of the
tenth and holding on for an 8-7 victory.
The Mets won Monday as +190 underdogs, and the game cruised
'over' its total of 6.5.
So New York is back to within three games of .500 at 50-53,
but still 8.5 games back of Atlanta in the battle for that second NL Wild-Card
The Giants, meanwhile, are still tied with Los Angeles for
first place in the NL West, but Arizona has crept to within 3.5 games of those
San Francisco will try to end its slide by sending Tim
Lincecum (4-11, 5.88) to the mound Tuesday night (10:15 pm Eastern) against
Mets rookie Matt Harvey (1-0, 0.00).
Lincecum might not be the best guy to send out there to try
and end a losing streak. So far this season he's just five-for-21 on quality
starts, although he is two for his last three in that department. His last time
out Lincecum got tagged for five ER on seven hits, including a couple of
homers, in less than five innings against the Padres last Wednesday. But in his
two starts before that he allowed just two ER on 10 hits over 15 innings. Was
that the start of something better for Lincecum? We just don't know.
Lincecum has started once previous this season against the
Mets, and got a win, holding them to one run through five innings back in
Meanwhile, Harvey will be making his second career ML start,
after shining in his ML debut. Last Thursday against Arizona the big
right-hander threw 5 1/3 scoreless innings, walking three and striking out 11
in a 3-1 New York victory.
Harvey's call-up to the Majors, while much needed, as the
Mets rotation is racked with injuries, was also well-deserved. At triple-A
Buffalo this year Harvey went 7-5 with a 3.68 ERA, allowed 97 hits in 110
innings and struck out 112.
Odds and Trends
As of Tuesday morning Matchbook is listing the Giants at -140 for Tuesday night's game, while
the Mets could be gotten at +137 at several baseball betting outlets.
And most online sportsbooks are listing the total on
Tuesday's game at 6.5.
Free MLB Pick
The Mets bit us on the ass Monday night with their late
rally, or was it that the Giants bullpen let us down again? Either way, it
hurt. San Francisco is suddenly struggling; is New York warming up? We're not
sure of the answer to that one, but in believing that it's possible we'll go
with Harvey and the Mets (and the underdog price) for Tuesday's game.
Both Teams Come in
San Francisco just got swept three games at home by the Los
Angeles Dodgers by scores of 5-3, 10-0 and 4-0. In the process the Giants
coughed up a three-game lead in the NL West, and now begin this week tied with
the Dodgers for first place.
In losing its last four games, San Fran has scored a total of
The Mets, meanwhile, after playing over their heads for much
of the season and staying at least close to the NL playoff picture, have
finally fallen back to Earth and nearly out of contention. New York just split
four games in Arizona over the weekend, winning Sunday behind RA Dickey 5-1,
but the Mets have still lost 14 of their last 17 games. So, New York is now 8.5
games behind Atlanta in the battle for that second NL Wild-Card spot.
The Mets have also had some trouble scoring lately, being
held to three runs or fewer in six of their last eight games.
San Francisco will go with lefty Madison Bumgarner (11-6,
3.10) Monday night against rookie Jeremy Hefner (1-4, 5.40) for New York.
Bumgarner is 13-for-20 on quality starts this season, and is
working on a string of three in a row. Last Tuesday he held the Padres to two
ER through seven innings, and over his last three starts he's allowed five ER
on just 11 hits over 21 innings, walking four and whiffing 22.
On the season, Bumgarner has given up 115 hits in 137
innings, walked 27 and struck out 121.
In his one start this year vs. the Mets, back in April,
Bumgarner got a win, allowing one ER on three hits over seven innings.
Hefner, who spent most of his time pitching out of the
bullpen for the Mets this season, is making some starts now because New York
has three SPs on the DL. So far this year, Hefner is one-for-four on quality
starts, that coming in his most recent outing, when he held the Nationals to
two ER on six hits through six innings, walking two and striking out seven.
On the season, Hefner has allowed 46 hits in 38 innings, but
his K/BB ratio is pretty good, at 25/6.
Hefner made his ML debut April 22 vs. the Giants, and held
them scoreless on three hits through three innings.
The Mets are 1-3 in Hefner's starts this year, while San
Francisco is 13-7 in Bumgarner's starts.
Monday's Betting Odds
As of Monday morning, San Fran could be gotten at -170 at
Matchbook for Monday's game, while New York was getting +169 at 5Dimes.
Also, most online sportsbooks are listing the total on
Monday's game at 6.5, although some have it lined as low as six.
The Giants can also be played at upwards of +130 on the run
line at several baseball betting outlets.
Finally, Bovada is chalking San Francisco at -260 to win
this series, with New York getting +200 as the dog.
Early betting on Monday's game has seen about 65 percent of
play on the side come in on the Giants, while about 65 percent of action on the
total has come in on the 'over.'
In the only previous meeting this year between these two
teams, San Fran took three of four games from New York at Citi Field back in
Free MLB Pick for
The Giants have lost
four games in a row, but we're guessing Bumgarner will keep that from going any
further. So, we're taking San Francisco Monday night.