The Giants and Diamondbacks were expected to bring up the rear in the NL West this season. With just about a month left in the campaign, though, that has not been the case. While both teams are well out of the divisional hunt by now, both teams still have a glimmer of hope when it comes to the Wild Card hunt. The 66-66 Diamondbacks are four games behind the Cubs for the second Wild Card spot, while the 65-66 Giants are 4.5 games back.
Both teams are over 20 games behind the Dodgers in the division, so that ship sailed long ago. It’s going to take a bit of good fortune for either team to leapfrog the handful of teams in front of them in the Wild Card standings, but it’s not impossible. There is enough time left in the season for that to happen. It will just require a hot September combined with some of the teams in front of them floundering.
The two teams met on Monday night in the Bay Area to begin a two-game miniseries. The Diamondbacks picked up a 6-4 win in the series opener behind a solid effort from rookie starter Alex Young. On Tuesday, Mike Leake will look to lead Arizona to a sweep opposite Giants right-hander Jeff Samardzija.
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Giants Exceeding Expectations
The Giants weren’t supposed to be here. San Francisco had the oldest roster in the league at the beginning of the season, and most expected first-year GM Farhan Zaidi to clear the decks and begin a rebuild. The team started off poorly enough, but a hot stretch through June and July got the Giants into the playoff race. That surge kept Zaidi from dealing left-hander Madison Bumgarner at the trade deadline, though the team did part ways with some lesser pieces like Mark Melancon and Drew Pomeranz.
Samardzija has been up and down during his tenure with the Giants, but this season, the veteran has given them some excellent innings. Samardzija is 9-10 through 26 starts on the season with a 3.44 ERA. He’s been excellent lately, though, as he hasn’t yielded more than three earned runs in a single start since July 26.
He has allowed 21 homers through 26 starts with a strikeout rate of 20.6% and a walk rate of 6.5%. His 4.69 SIERA shows that there has been some good fortune involved in his low ERA, but the results have certainly been there. The Diamondbacks are without one of their best hitters with David Peralta on the injured list, but the projected lineup Samardzija will face still has a sizable .339 wOBA with a .200 ISO against right-handed pitching on the year.
Leake’s New Team
The Diamondbacks traded Zack Greinke to Houston ahead of the deadline, and they quickly moved to replace him by acquiring Mike Leake from the Seattle Mariners. Leake has made four starts for Arizona to this point, and he’s gone 0-2 with an ERA over 8.00. It’s not exactly the way you want to start your career with a new team. The Arizona State product has allowed four or more earned runs in each of his last three starts, including four runs against these Giants back on August 16.
Leake has never been a guy that misses many bats, and that’s the case again this season. He has a strikeout rate of just 16.1%, which is among the lower marks in the league for any starting pitcher. He doesn’t walk anyone (3.2%) so, more often than not, hitters are putting the ball in play against Leake.
Leake has really struggled to contain left-handed hitters. He has allowed a .356 wOBA to lefties so far in 2019. While the Giants wouldn’t be confused with the Red Sox or Dodgers offensively, they will be throwing a handful of lefties Leake’s way. The projected San Francisco lineup includes six left-handed bats (Yastrzemski, Crawford, Belt, Vogt, Gennett, Dickerson). Oracle Park is a park that kills power-hitting, but there is still reason to believe the Giants can do some damage here against a vulnerable, pitch-to-contact type of pitcher.
I like the Giants here. Their lineup profiles well against Leake’s weaknesses, even if it isn’t a murderer’s row on paper. Leake hasn’t shown much of anything since coming to the Diamondbacks, and he’s allowed at least eight hits in all four of his starts with his new team.
While I think Samardzija has been enjoying some good luck, the results have been there, and the Diamondbacks don’t own the most threatening lineup themselves. The value on the Giants to win outright on the moneyline (-140) isn’t amazing, but I still think it’s a viable bet at most baseball betting sites. If you’re more confident in San Francisco getting to Leake, you can take a stab at the Giants to cover the runline at +140 instead.
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...
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