Friday brought the first loss of the 2014 season after Matt Cain lost a brutal 2-1 pitcher’s duel in San Diego. The good news is that the loss didn’t carry along any juice with it and resulted in just a net of exactly -1.00. I didn’t necessarily feel 100 percent confident that I would run the table this season. Now it’s official and it’s on to the next one. Monday’s play will be out in Coors Field for game one of a series between the Giants and the Rockies. We’ve got an interesting pitching matchup between two guys that have been pretty good at one time or another in the last few years. The high total suggests that neither has been particularly good this year, though. And that’s most certainly the case. Ryan Vogelsong takes on Jorge De La Rosa in a game Vegas calls for 10.5 runs. Colorado is the -135 favorite at home.
A willingness to keep believing in players is usually my biggest weakness. But it’s also a great strength that’s helped me win a lot of games. And I tend to still typically lean toward both of these guys going on Monday.
Ryan Vogelsong hasn’t pitched as poorly as his numbers indicate through three games this year. He gave up four earned in each of his first two starts at LA and against Arizona. But four runs often isn’t anything more than giving up a big hit or two in a spot where a pitcher might usually wriggle off the hook. And Vogelsong bounced back nicely in his last start against the Dodgers, giving up just one run in six strong innings. Look, it’s been a steady decline for Vogelsong since that 2011 season that put him on the map. I also don’t think he’s necessarily as bad as last year’s numbers and I think he’ll end up finishing this year somewhere closer to 2012’s numbers. I am moderately concerned about Vogelsong tomorrow because of his track record at Coors. It’s okay. Not great and not a train-wreck. But Vogelsong’s strikeout to walk ratio at Coors Field over the last three years is almost double what it is now and what it will likely continue to be. If he’s struggling to pitch well at Coors Field when he is striking batters out, how will he fare when more guys are putting it in play? I’m not necessarily sold on Vogelsong in the spot.
I am hopeful that De La Rosa will pitch well in just his second home start, which is where he does most of his damage. The good news is that De La Rosa’s ERA is at a season-low. The bad news is that it’s 7.58. The Rockies’ ace will have some pressure on him to pitch well against San Francisco Monday. And I want to believe he will so much that I actually do think it’ll happen. The Giants’ offense hasn’t exactly been steam-rolling pitchers lately and De La Rosa is back to where he – and possibly only he – is comfortable pitching. Viva!
Both of these pitchers come with their troubles. And both of these offenses can mash the ball. But I’m not so sure that this game warrants double-digits on the total. This isn’t a slam dunk but it’s a spot I’m comfortable enough with on a pretty slow Monday. Plug your nose for this one. Unders it is.
Free Pick: Under 10.5 (-110)
2014 YTD: 7-1 +6.00