MLB Predictions: Giants at Padres Series Odds and Picks
by Alan Matthews - 8/16/2012
I’ll be honest here in that I am not previewing this weekend’s Giants-Padres three-game set at Petco Park because I think it’s a relevant series in the scheme of things. San Francisco is right in the hunt in the NL West and in the wild-card race, but the Padres are one of the National League’s worst teams. The Giants have no business losing a series like this.
But the news of the week in baseball, with all due respect to Felix Hernandez’s perfect game, was the 50-game suspension of Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera for testing positive for a banned substance. Cabrera began that sentence Wednesday and will miss the rest of the regular season plus five more games – either in the 2012 playoffs of the start of next season. It’s nothing short of a devastating blow to San Francisco.
Getting Cabrera for Jonathan Sanchez from Kansas City was one of the steals of this offseason. The 28-year-old Cabrera was having by far his best season. He was second in the National League in batting at .346, tops in runs (84) and led baseball with 159 hits and 52 multi-hit games. The switch-hitter also had 11 dingers and 60 RBI, had a career-high OPS (.906) and was named the MVP in last month’s All-Star Game back in K.C. That, of course, gave the National League the home-field advantage in this year’s World Series, which seems sort of tainted right now. Cabrera was set to become a free agent after this season and he just cost himself a ton of money in a new contract, not to mention about $1.6 million of this year’s salary. In fact, he probably will have to sign just a one-year deal this offseason.
The Giants simply have no replacement on the current roster. Someone named Gregor Blanco is the temporary guy. He is hitting .236 this season. Pablo Sandoval took Cabrera’s spot at No. 3 in the lineup in Wednesday’s game. Look for the Giants to be very active in trade talks – unfortunately now they have to take a guy who either cleared waivers or was claimed by San Francisco. That generally means a player with a bloated contract. Already the Giants reached out again to the Cubs about Alfonso Soriano, but reportedly Soriano said he wouldn’t waive his no-trade clause to go to San Francisco just like he wouldn’t before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
This suspension definitely affected Giants futures odds. On Sportsbook.ag San Francisco is now +110 to win the West, behind the Dodgers’ -200. To win the pennant, the Giants dropped to +700 and the San Francisco Giants odds to win the World Series are now +1400, whereas at one point San Francisco was a co-NL favorite with the Nationals.
Not surprisingly, the shocked Giants lost 6-4 vs. Washington on Wednesday to drop that series. It was their first series loss since the start of the month. The schedule does San Francisco no favors as starting with Friday’s game 12 of its next 16 games are on the road.
The Padres actually have been playing pretty well of late. Not counting Thursday night’s series finale in Atlanta, San Diego had won seven of its past 10 games. The Padres remain without closer Huston Street, who is on the disabled list with a strained calf. He went on the 15-day DL on Saturday, but he will be out much longer than the 15 days. Dale Thayer has replaced Street as the closer and has six saves on the year. Incidentally, the sale of the Padres franchise to a group that includes Phil Mickelson was officially approved on Thursday.
San Francisco and San Diego have played nine times this season, with the Giants holding a 6-3 edge overall, taking two of three in each series (one in Petco).
Giants at Padres Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday: Giants RHP Matt Cain (11-5, 2.99) vs. Padres RHP Ross Ohlendorf (4-3, 6.41) – Cain actually hasn’t been quite as good since the all-star break as he was before it. He has allowed five earned runs in two of his past five starts. He was solid last time out, beating the Rockies by allowing two earned runs in 7.1 innings. Cain started in San Diego on June 7 and got the win, allowing no earned runs (three unearned) and striking out nine in seven innings. Ohlendorf allowed six earned runs in just three innings last time out in losing to Pittsburgh. It’s the second time in three starts he has allowed six earned runs. He made his season debut in that June 7 game, pitching an inning of relief and allowing a run.
Saturday: Giants LHP Barry Zito (9-8, 4.29) vs. Padres LHP Eric Stults (3-2, 2.49) -- Zito has allowed at least four earned runs in three of his past four starts. He hasn’t faced the Padres this season but is 1-4 with a 4.93 ERA in nine career appearances at Petco Park. Stults was just recently moved back into the rotation and has allowed one earned run in 13 innings over two starts. He pitched two innings of scoreless relief July 23 in San Francisco.
Sunday: Giants RHP Ryan Vogelsong (10-6, 2.72) vs. Padres LHP Clayton Richard (9-12, 3.91) – Vogelsong had been one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball this season but was rocked for eight runs and nine hits in 2.2 innings last time out vs. Washington. That ended a 22-start streak of pitching at least six innings. He faced the Padres July 23 and allowed a run in seven innings for the victory. Richard had pitched very well for three straight starts but allowed five runs in 6.1 innings in losing to the Braves in his last start. He has started three times vs. the Giants this season and has lost all three with a 7.64 ERA.
Giants at Padres Betting Odds and Trends
For the series, I project San Francisco to be around a -150 favorite, which is also the line for Game 1 behind Cain with a total of 6.5. San Diego should be around +140. The Giants are 37-19-1 “over/under” on the road this season, while the Padres are 26-30-1.
The Giants have won five of their past six vs. teams with a losing record. But they are 1-5 in their past six openers of a series and 1-4 in Cain’s past four series openers. Cain is 9-2 in his past 11 starts vs. teams with a losing record. The Padres have won their past six series openers. They are 5-1 in their past six home games vs. a righty starter. The over is 5-0 in the Giants’ past five games. The over has hit in 12 of San Diego’s past 16 Friday games. The over is 10-1 in the past 11 meetings in San Diego and San Francisco has won eight of its past 11 there.
MLB Predictions: Giants at Padres Betting Picks
Even without Cabrera, the Giants obviously are a better team. But they are only 7-17 in Cain’s past 24 starts vs. San Diego, and he has a 6-11 career record vs. the Padres. And I truly think that San Francisco will go in a bit of a mini-slump after this Cabrera punch to the gut. So take advantage of that and bet the Padres in the opener (under) as well as in the series.
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