Giants at Dodgers MLB Pick for April 2
The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants have been rivals for decades, but at this point they are a couple of franchises with different goals for 2019. The Giants, who happen to own the oldest big league roster in baseball, are trying to remain competitive this season while also trying to start over in a few areas.
The reality is that the Giants will likely tumble to the bottom of the NL West this season. Several of the players that were around for the World Series runs a handful of years ago are still around, but it’s a stretch to think the team as currently constructed is capable of legitimate playoff contention.
So, while San Francisco did acquire veteran outfielder Kevin Pillar from the Blue Jays on Tuesday morning, I still think we see this team start a fire sale as we get closer to the deadline. The Giants did pick up an impressive 4-2 win over the Dodgers in their series opener on Monday night, so at least they have that going for them.
The Dodgers, of course, are World Series or bust. L.A. has represented the National League in the Fall Classic in back-to-back seasons, but they are still in search of their first title since 1988. The Dodgers lost some key players like Yasiel Puig, Yasmani Grandal, Alex Wood and Matt Kemp during the offseason, but this is still one of the most stacked rosters in all of baseball.
|2019 ATR Home||0-0-0||2-3-0|
|2019 ATR Away||2-3-0||0-0-0|
|2019 O/U Home||0-0-0||4-1-0|
|2019 O/U Away||0-5-0||0-0-0|
Los Angeles won 3 of 4 against the Arizona Diamondbacks to start the season before their aforementioned defeat at the hands of the Giants on Monday. While a 3-2 record doesn’t look overly impressive, the Dodgers’ offense has been ablaze through the first week of the season.
The Dodgers have already scored 44 runs through their first 5 games, which has them second to only the Mariners, who have scored 54 runs through 7 games. L.A. has also pounded out 16 home runs, which has them tied with Seattle despite the Mariners having played 2 more games already. They hit 2 more long balls (from Chris Taylor and Alex Verdugo) in the 4-2 loss on Monday night.
Hyun-Jin Ryu will be taking the mound for this second start of the young season on Tuesday. Ryu was brilliant on Opening Day against Arizona, when he allowed just a run on 4 hit in 6 innings with 8 strikeouts. He was lifted after throwing just 82 pitches, which is something Dodger manager Dave Roberts is known for.
Ryu is the rare reverse-splits lefty, which means left-handed hitters have historically fared better against him than righties have. The South Korea native allowed a .314 wOBA to left-handed hitters last season, compared to a stellar .254 mark against right-handed sticks. The Giants have a couple of threatening left-handed hitters in Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford, but otherwise the lineup is largely comprised of righties this season.
Ryu is coming off of the best season of his big league career. He posted a strikeout rate of 27.5 percent in 2018 alongside a low 4.6 percent walk rate. The hard contact allowed (28.6 percent) was also among the lowest for starting pitchers in the league, and he’s always been good about keeping the ball in the ballpark.
Long Road Ahead for SF
The Giants dropped 3 of 4 games to start the season down in San Diego, though Madison Bumgarner did pitch well on Opening Day. The former World Series MVP allowed 2 earned runs over the course of 7 innings, but he wound up taking the loss because the Giants’ offense couldn’t muster much of anything against Eric Lauer and the Padres’ bullpen.
Unfortunately for Bumgarner, that could be a theme this season. The burly left-hander has been hamstrung by injuries over the last few seasons, but he’s optimistic that he can get back to consistently pitching at a high level. Bumgarner’s strikeout rate dwindled to just 19.8 percent last season, which is quite a dip from his career average pushing 24 percent.
MadBum conceded a hard-hit rate over 41 percent in 2018, which was garishly high. The Dodgers used to have a weakness against left-handed pitching, but it’s safe to say they’ve sorted that out over the last couple of years. Bumgarner has shown a pretty wide platoon split over the last couple of seasons, which could haunt him tonight.
Bumgarner yielded a .304 wOBA to right-handed hitters a season ago, compared to a .283 mark against fellow lefties. All 14 home runs he allowed also came off the bats of right-handed hitters. Newcomer A.J. Pollock has made a career of crushing left-handed pitching, while Justin Turner, David Freese, Enrique Hernandez, Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager have all fared well against southpaws in the past.
With a couple of respected lefties taking the mound, Vegas slapped this game with a low 7-run total. I’m not overly optimistic about the Giants’ chances at doing a ton of damage against Ryu, but those 2 left-handed bats could make a little noise.
I do think this is a spot in which the Dodgers will make life difficult for Bumgarner, so I honestly wouldn’t be all that shocked if L.A. managed to top the 7-run total by themselves in this spot. The Giants have a pretty weak bullpen backing up their ace, as well. With the way the Dodgers have been mashing to start the season, this could wind up being a short night for MadBum.
Betting the Dodgers to win the game outright on the moneyline doesn’t offer much profit potential at -170, but I do like the over in this game. MLB betting can be volatile with how random things are game-to-game, but I think we’ll see more offense at Dodger Stadium this evening than we did last night.
The over on 7 runs is priced at +100, and that’s a bet I’d be all over tonight.
$100 stake could win...