After three days of All-Star festivities and two long days without any baseball whatsoever, Major League Baseball returns on Friday with baseball’s “second half.” We’re already 90-something games into the season, but the traditional halfway point is finally behind us, which means things really start to pick up from here. That is especially the case if your team is on the fringe of the playoff race.
The Giants struggled mightily in the last month before the All-Star break and saw a 7.5-game lead in the NL West evaporate away before their eyes. With the Dodgers now on top and threatening to separate themselves in the division, the Giants need to put together a good start to the second half and it starts Friday against the Miami Marlins. Ace Madison Bumgarner gets the ball for San Francisco against Nathan Eovaldi for the Fish. The Giants are small -125 favorites on the road.
The All-Star break couldn’t have come soon enough for San Francisco. And the Giants used the time to get healthy. Only Hunter Pence actually played in the actual game, which meant Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey could rest back to 100 percent. And Bumgarner gets the ball on Friday. The left-hander had a terrific first three and a half months in 2014, posting a 1.25 WHIP and earning 10 wins. We know who Madison Bumgarner is by now. He is about a hit per inning type of pitcher who rarely walks batters. And making Miami hit the ball is usually a winning formula with a lot of young hitters who can go out of the zone to swing at bad pitches at time.
There’s also the question of how well Giancarlo Stanton will play in the second half after the Home Run Derby. Most likely, he will play as well as he did in the first half. Aka, MVP worthy. But you never know; and after a long weekend that saw him participate in two rounds of the derby and start for the NL side in the All-Star Game, you never know how strong he’ll come out of the gates.
Meanwhile, Buster Posey should be about as healthy as he’s been for quite a while and the rest of the Giants’ lineup will be too. Nathan Eovaldi has a tendency to throw either really well or really not so well. Going up against a consistently great pitcher like Bumgarner, I’ll fade the young Marlin even if he’s at home.
Free Pick: San Francisco (-125)
YTD: 23-19-2 +0.88