After a 3-gamer at Great American Ballpark against divisional foe Pittsburgh, Cincinnati bounces over to the West coast where they will take on San Francisco. Tim Lincecum takes the bump for the first time since his 148-pitch no-hitter against the Padres in a game where many will speculate on the state of The Freak’s arm. The Giants open as slight favorites with a total of 7.5 juiced to -125 on the under.
I’m concerned about Lincecum’s ability to limit the Red’s lineup and it really doesn’t have much to do with the fact that he threw 148 last time out. It’s more to do with the fact that Timmy just hasn’t been very good in the last two years, with the exception of his last start.
Despite hurling a no-no, Lincecum has posted an ERA of 4.26 and a WHIP of 1.33 this season and had allowed at least three earned runs in his last four starts leading up to the no-hitter. This game is in the pitcher-friendly confines of AT&T Park but this Reds lineup is potentially disastrous for Lincecum. He doesn’t struggle any more against lefties than he does righties – you could even argue he prefers to face them. Lefties post a higher OBP than righties but righties out-slug lefties. Lincecum loves to run the ball down and away to lefties with both his fastball and change-up. That pitch becomes much more dangerous against righties with the possibility of leaving on over the middle running in on the batter as opposed to away. The Reds production comes primarily from left-handers (Choo, Votto, Bruce, etc) but all three are phenomenal low-ball hitters with lots of opposite field power. It’s also why the trio has combined to hit 6 for 17 career against Lincecum. Brandon Phillips also hits 4 for 12 career as the last prominent Reds’ bopper in their impressive lineup.
Bronson Arroyo has been very good for Cincinnati this year but he has been such a similar pitcher for so long I think it’s a bit naive to judge him by his season stats as opposed to his last three years or so. Bottom line, Arroyo pitches well against weak lineups but he will get hit if capable batters play. The Giants haven’t been great this year (probably and understatement) but I think they have the individual hitters to be able to get to Arroyo for at least two or three runs with potential for more. The Giants hit Arroyo for a career mark of only .253 so it seems as though they shouldn’t be completely shutdown here.
I like Cincinnati as a ‘dog but the total line sticks out to me here. A line of 7.5 seems a bit low in the first place and the fact that it’s juiced under is enough for me to spring on it. I look for both teams to get at least two to three runs with a good chance of one team busting open for five, six, seven plus. Cincinnati appears to be the more likely but I don’t trust Arroyo enough to play the ‘Nati side. The over it is with plus money value as an underdog.
Free Pick: Cincinnati/San Francisco Over 7.5 (+105)