We have a jam-packed evening of MLB action on deck as 15 games hit today’s schedule.
We’ll get in on the action with this Astros vs. Giants MLB Pick from Oracle Park in San Francisco!
Astros vs. Giants Betting Odds
San Francisco Giants
Over 7.5 (-115)
Under 7.5 (-105)
The Astros are hot as they’ve won five of six behind rejuvenated offense, but they haven’t needed much run support when left-hander Framber Valdez has toed the rubber this season.
Valdez enters this one sporting a 2.97 ERA, although his peripherals do suggest at least some regression moving forward as he owns a 4.30 FIP, 3.63 xERA, 3.68 xFIP and 3.87 SIERA.
What’s most insane when it comes to Valdez is his ability to generate ground-balls. He’s done so on a whopping 71.4% of the contact induced while his fly-ball rate is a tiny 14.8%. That helps keep the ball in the yard as Valdez owns a 0.95 HR/9 on the season.
While Valdez owns a 2.94 ERA on the road, he also sports a 4.40 FIP while his strikeouts fall to just 6.95 K/9.
Valdez is coming off a strong bounce back outing that he really needed. After a tough three-start stretch that saw him yield 11 runs in just 15.1 innings, Valdez hurled six innings of shutout baseball while allowing zero hits his last time out. The blemish came in the form of six walks in that one, the second time over his last three starts he’s walked a half-dozen hitters.
Command has been an issue in two of his three big-league seasons so far while he owns a 4.19 BB/9 for his career.
The Astros’ offense went quiet by their standards early this month, but would appear they are back in a groove after a three-game set in Seattle.
The Astros scored at least eight runs in all three of those contests and 27 total, averaging an even 9.00 runs per game. The latter two came against Chris Flexen and Yusei Kikuchi, two starters enjoying very good seasons.
They’re back atop the league in overall offense, at least a share of the top spot alongside the Toronto Blue Jays with each sporting a .337 wOBA. Houston doesn’t hit for as much power as Toronto with a .172 ISO on the season, but that’s still good enough for eighth league wide.
Houston will take on a right-handed starter in this one, so it’s worth noting that they sit second in baseball with an identical .337 wOBA off righties while the power does play up a bit in the form of a .181 ISO that sits seventh. Only those Jays have been better overall off righties with a .339 wOBA.
It’s a hot and healthy Houston lineup at the moment, so look out.
The storyline when it comes to the Astros’ bullpen this season has been injuries as some key cogs have been out for some time.
Josh James and Pedro Baez were set to take on high-leverage roles in the bullpen if James didn’t pitch out of the rotation, but neither has pitched this season. For his part, Baez was a key offseason signing from the Dodgers, but has yet to get on the field with his new club.
Despite the ailments, the Astros’ bullpen has been solid if unspectacular with a 16th-ranked 4.14 ERA at the moment. In terms of their batted-ball data, they rank ninth with a solid 36.6% hard-hit rate against, although their 8% barrel rate slips to 22nd.
Since the All-Star break that bullpen has slipped a little bit as they own a 4.58 ERA that puts them 17th entering this three-game set with the Giants.
We have one heck of a race developing in the NL West as the Giants continue to reign supreme over the hard-charging Dodgers and Padres.
The Giants hold a three-game lead over the Dodgers at the moment and sit five and a half games up on San Diego.
They’ll look to do their part in extending those leads tonight behind the right arm of ace Kevin Gausman whose career renaissance continues in what is developing as a career-year for the veteran.
Guasman bounced around a little bit following parts of six seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, working to a 5.72 ERA as recently as the 2019 season between the Braves and Reds, even being demoted to the bullpen in that season.
The Giants took a flier on him prior to last season and he rewarded them with 12 appearances of 3.62 ERA, landing him a rich qualifying offer from the Giants this winter. Gausman accepted and has dealt to the tune of a 2.21 ERA/2.99 FIP this season to go along with a 3.23 xERA, 3.52 xFIP and 3.55 SIERA.
Perhaps there could be some regression given the peripherals, however walks are in check at 2.73 BB/9 and home runs are down to just 0.81 HR/9 as well.
Gausman has pitched to a 3.10 ERA/2.91 FIP in the pitcher-friendly Oracle Park in San Fran this season, but the main concern is his work of late.
Since the All-Star break, he’s posted a 9.82 ERA/9.84 FIP in two starts. He lasted just three innings while allowing two runs against the Dodgers before being shellacked for six runs in 4.1 innings at home his last time out.
He’ll certainly be looking for a bounce-back effort tonight.
This Giants offense just cannot stop hitting.
They aren’t exactly scorching hot as they scored just seven runs in three games against the Dodgers this week, but they continue to rank among the best in the business.
Overall, they’re tied for fourth with a .327 wOBA on the season, but their power numbers are fantastic with a .190 ISO on the second, good for second place behind those Blue Jays and their .192 mark.
The offense does slip against left-handed pitching, however. They are just 1% better than league average off lefties with a 101 wRC+ while their .319 wOBA off lefties puts them smack-dab in the middle of the pack in a share of 15th alongside the Atlanta Braves.
Despite the pitcher-friendly nature of their home ballpark, the Giants sit sixth with a .337 wOBA at home while their .184 ISO is tied for ninth.
They’ll look to get back going after a quiet set with the Dodgers earlier in the week.
Regression for the ‘Pen?
As they did last season, the Giants are getting quality results from their bullpen. Whether it’s sustainable is a different question.
They enter this one ranked third in all of baseball with a 3.30 ERA on the season, but also check in at 13th with a 4.19 xFIP and 14th with a 2.1 fWAR. While their hard-hit rate is trending towards the middle of the pack, they’ve avoided barrels with the best of em’ as their 6.1% barrel rate on the season ranks them second only to the rival Dodgers and their 5.9% clip.
Jake McGee and Tyler Rogers have been doing yeoman’s work at the back end of that bullpen so while the overall numbers aren’t as strong as the ERA indicates, they still have some very strong arms in that group.
With the way things are trending right now in the betting odds according to BetUS, I can see a high-scoring game going down tonight in the bay area.
Clearly, Gausman is not on his A-game. He’s largely been dominant and giving hitters headaches with his splitter, but getting roughed up by the Pirates at home in a pitcher’s park is something else. He’s certainly not trending in the right direction.
Valdez has dealt with his own struggles of late despite a nice effort his last time out. That effort did include six walks, however, and this Giants team will make you pay for issuing free passes.
Certainly the Houston Astros’ offense is scorching hot and that’s dangerous for a scuffling Gausman. When this group is hot they are an absolute handful and I believe Gausman and that Giants pitching staff will have their hands full.
We’ll also note that the Houston bullpen is pretty mediocre and I would bet on the Giants’ bullpen results at least slipping some as the season moves along.
Add it up and I’ll go Over the low 7.5 total tonight from San Fran.
As a recent addition to the GamblingSites.org team, James Peralta has been covering everything about casinos, sports, and laws that are specific to online gambling in Canada. James started writing about sports in 2007 during his first year at U of T Mississauga. ...
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