Yesterday went to take in Tim Lincecum and the rest of his teammates in the black and orange hats and see if this reporter could figure out why they are playing such good baseball. Having struck out and walked more than enough batters in my youth, I always appreciate outstanding pitchers and try to make it point to see as many as possible when they come to town.
It just so happens the San Francisco Giants (56-43, +7.7 units) are racking up profits faster than Major League teams selling $10 beers, winning 16 of last 20 and collecting +13.35 units of profit, moving into second place in the NL West, trailing San Diego by four games in the loss column.
What is most noticeable about the Giants of course is their pitching, the starters in particular. Lincecum didn’t begin the game with his best stuff, unable to command his curveball and Arizona batters were sitting on his fastball and tallied two runs in the second inning. However, as the game wore on, the long-haired competitive right-hander settled into a groove and never permitted another run over the final six innings of work.
This giant streak has seen Giants pitchers allow only 2.5 runs per game, which gives the offense a chance in every contest even if they don’t score many runs early on. This type of pitching has brought about something that hasn’t happened in nearly a century of Giants baseball. Among their last 15 victories is a pair of four-game sweeps (at Milwaukee and at Arizona). The last time this franchise accomplished this feat was 1912, 98 years ago. (OMG)
Another factor is this San Francisco team has been averaging 5.8 runs per game compared to 4.4 for the season (10th in the NL). Aubrey Huff is batting over .300 and is their leading home run hitter with 19. Pablo Sandoval is starting to hit despite personal issues. If you haven’t seen catcher Buster Posey swing the bat, he looks every bit as good as his .371 batting average. His 18-game hit streak (he’s hitting .472 in this stretch) is the second-longest for a rookie in Giants history, passing one Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda and chasing another in Willie McCovey, whose streak stands at 22 games. With six more games to play this week, Posey could also break the team record for runs batted in for a rookie of 24 set by Jim Ray Hart in 1964 having 23 this July.
After their 6-1 road excursion, San Francisco opens up homestand with Florida (49-49, -0.1) tonight. Manager Bruce Boche hands the ball to Barry Zito (8-5, 3.45 ERA) who has had a career resurgence to help the Giants this season and they are a combined 21-13 (+11.3 Units) against the money line after a win the last three seasons. Sportbet.com has the San Fran as -140 ML favorites and the 2002 AL Cy Young winner and his club are 11-4 against NL East squads. The left-hander is 5-0 with a 2.15 ERA vs. the Marlins.
Florida arrives in the Bay Area playing very well with seven triumphs in last nine outings and they are 20-11 as underdogs with Ricky Nolasco (10-7, 4.50) the starting pitcher. Nevertheless, it is difficult to discount the way the Giants are playing and they are 37-17 as a home favorite of -125 to -150 since 2008. The Fish on the other hand are 6-18 vs. an NL starting pitcher whose ERA is 3.50 or better this season.
Until further notice, it’s awfully hard not to back San Francisco with reasonable money lines.