It is the final contest of the four-game set between San Francisco and Atlanta and for those betting baseball, the money line is setup as a complete mismatch between these National League clubs.
Besides the disparity in the record and talent of the two teams, the starting pitching differential is on par with Golden State facing Philadelphia in the NBA.
However, stranger things have happened and while it would appear the Giants should stomp on the Braves, sometimes events occur that make no sense.
Your friendly MLB handicapper has hit five in a row here for MLB picks, taking record to 14-9 and just picked up my third -Top Handicapper of the Month award in 2016 – this time at Best Sports Picks Today.com. Here are your all facets for breakdown.
Fans of teams and a lot of sports talk radio types love to hit the panic button at the first sign of trouble. Case is point Madison Bumgarner (6-2, 2.12 ERA and 1.12 WHIP). After the Giants lost three of his first four starts and he had 3.91 ERA, there was talk of fatigue to the Zika virus (OK, that might not be entirely true). However, when calendar turned to May, Mad Bum went into the zone. In May, the lefty was 4-0 (San Fran 6-0) with a 1.05 ERA, allowing only 29 hits over 42 2/3 innings. Bumgarner hopes to continue winning ways and is 6-3 in 11 starts versus Atlanta with a 2.93 ERA.
Aaron Blair is suffering big league growing pains and it has not been pretty with 6.67 ERA, 1.74 WHIP and no wins in six starts (0-3). Though his mid-90′s fastball has a great deal of movement, he’s not getting many swings and misses, with only 13 strikeouts in 27 innings and opposing hitters are knocking him around with .317 batting average. This seems to have made Blair more cautious and he has more walks (14) than punch-outs.
As of yesterday, the San Francisco offense was a big part of why they have won 16 of their last 19, scoring 5.6 runs per game in their last seven outings, compared to season average of 4.4. Hunter Pence continues to be a stud on manager Bruce Boche’s lineup card, hitting over .300 with a slugging percentage approaching .500, and first baseman Brandon Belt is just a little behind for batting average with similar numbers for slugging. Otherwise, it is your typical Giants batting order, filled with clutch hitters and who are seldom out of any game if they receive adequate starting pitching.