graded play on the Giants as they take on the Dodgers. The Dodgers have a ½
game lead over the Giants in the NL West division race and have gone 7-3 over
their last 10 games. The Giants had a skinny lead, but a 5-5 stretch over their
last 10 games has led to a virtual dead heat.
The biggest winner of this three
game series might be the Arizona Diamondbacks, who have very quietly won four
straight games and trail the Dodgers by just four games. It will be quite a race
for the wild card berth, too, seeing as the Giants are just one behind
Pittsburgh; the Pirates hold the second place playoff berth and are four games behind the
Braves, who hold the first place playoff berth. Arizona is five back of the
Pirates so, although there are five teams realistically competing for two wild card
berths, there will be just one team from the NL West competing in postseason
The Dodgers got a critical road
win at Atlanta with Chad Billingsley winning his sixth straight start and being
nearly untouchable in the 5-0 win. The problem, though, is that the team had to fly
back to the West Coast from Atlanta while the Giants were only playing in San Diego.
This is a significant advantage for the Giants and this hangover, so to speak, from the
trip may affect the Dodgers into Game 2 as well.
In his last start, Bumgarner pitched a gem against the Nationals, allowing five hits, one earned run, one
walk with six strikeouts in a complete game win. He threw 108 pitches in the
complete game, but this is an average workload since he has thrown over 100
pitches in 18 starts this season and six of his last seven starts.
He has an average fastball that he
can deliver to the plate at between 88 and 94 MPH, but his best pitch is his
slider; he can vary the break and angle of the break and vary the speed from
84 to 90 MPH. He throws the fastball 56% of all pitches and 64% on the first pitch
of an at-bat. These percentages are below the norm at the MLB, reflecting the
confidence he has throwing the slider as a first pitch, offering it in 19% of
He has the ability to pitch backwards - that is, throwing breaking pitches early in the count when batters are
looking fastball. Once ahead in the count, he then has the hitter completely
guess not only what pitch will be thrown, but in what location. He has enough
zip on the fastball that he can blow it past the majority of MLB hitters when
ahead in the count.
Pick: Take the Giants as a 10* play and
be sure to visit the MLB with John Ryan thread for further facts and wagering
Reds vs. Phillies
5* graded play on the
Philadelphia Phillies as they host the Reds set to start at 7:05 PM ET. The
Reds have caught fire since the All Star break and have built a 6 ½ game lead in the National League Central
division over the Pittsburgh Pirates. They still do not have the best record
in the NL, however, despite going 8-2 in their last 10 games. That distinction is owned
by the Washington Nationals, who are 29 games over .500 with a 75-46 mark.
The Phillies have had a
disappointing season, to say the least; early season injuries simply were
too many and too much to overcome to give them a shot at a strong winning run
the second half of the season. Still, they have been playing improved
baseball over the last month, and they will be eager to play the role of spoiler
and to build for the future.
The Phillies have posted a 7-3
series record in the second half of the season and, after the losing the first
two games in Milwaukee last Thursday and Friday, the Phillies stormed back with
with wins Saturday and Sunday to earn a split of that four-game
series. The Phillies are the team that no contender wants to see on their
schedule, especially after their fifth starter Kyle Kendrick threw back-to-back scoreless starts. So, it is not just Halladay, Hamels and Lee,
but now Kendrick added to the mix with a solid Vance Worley starting out fo the
four hole of this rotation.
The Betting Line
Baseball odds makers have installed Philadelphia as -145 favorite with Halladay on the hill for the Phillies. In the first hours of betting, the public has been on the Reds with nearly 62% of bets
being placed on them. This reflects the recent surge by the Reds and the
public’s belief that Phillies have nothing to play for. Halladay is the
vastly superior starting pitcher over the Reds' Leake, and I strongly believe the
Phillies will win this game and this series.
Pick: Take the Phillies