We finish last month with a win and the battle to get back into the plus money remains right in front of us. We’ve got two more months of regular season baseball to play before the playoffs get going. One team that feels like a sure bet to get there would be the San Francisco Giants. That will get the “every other year” crowd excited as the Giants shoot for four World Series in seven years. But San Fran hasn’t locked up a spot in October yet, not by a long shot. And the sputtering Giants would really like to get a win tonight and even up the series after being shellacked by the Phillies last night.
The last time we backed San Francisco they were in the middle of a losing streak that continued. That streak got all the way to six games, a season-worst for the Giants. Things have gotten better since then, but Bruce Bochy’s group is still laboring here into August. The Giants have gone 3-6 since snapping that six-gamer late last month, including last night when Madison Bumgarner was both knocked around by the Phillies and let down by his own defense en route to eight runs allowed (four of them earned). Philadelphia ended up scoring 13 on the night, led by Aaron Altherr‘s five RBI’s. But today’s a new day and I expect San Fran to extract some revenge at Citizen’s Bank Park.
One reason is that Johnny Cueto gets the start for the visiting team. He’s been great this year, though he did struggle when he faced these Phillies just over a month ago. He gave up six runs in six innings but did manage to get away with a no-decision in an 8-7 Giants win. That was the first start in a stretch of his last six in which Cueto’s ERA has taken a tick up, from 2.06 to 2.63.
The real reason I definitely like the Giants is that it seems Aaron Nola has hit some sort of wall. Nola was great as a rookie pitching at the tail end of last season and even started 2016 strong. But his ERA has jumped by more than two full runs over his last nine starts and fatigue very well may be a problem. He’s allowing more hits, striking out fewer, walking less and simply doesn’t look to be the same guy that would warrant the total to sit as low as 7.5. He was lit up by the Giants in that 8-7 game that featured Cueto at AT&T and you have the feeling the Giants expect to do the same tonight.
If Cueto is good tonight it should be an easy Giants victory. If San Fran doesn’t roll it’s probably because Philly puts up some runs. There’s also a good shot we can cover both the runline and the over tonight so we’ll play them both for a half unit each.
Free Pick: Giants -1.5 (-105) and Over 7.5 (-110)
YTD: 20-20-1 -0.43
2015: 31-25-5 +1.09
2014: 45-28-3 +9.02
aaron nola • citizens bank park • giants • johnny cueto • phillies