Baseball Predictions: Giants at Rockies Odds and Picks
by Alan Matthews - 8/26/2013
Look, I get that baseball players are like you and me. Well, better paid than you and me. But they go out there to do a job when called upon like the rest of us. What I don't understand is why the San Francisco Giants keep trotting lefty Barry Zito out in road games. The guy simply is not the same pitcher away from AT&T Park. But I guess Zito has been stealing the Giants' money for so long that they might as well toss him out into the fire at this point as he will be a free agent after the season. His seven-year, $126 million contract, which at the time was the largest ever for a pitcher in baseball, will go down in infamy as one of the worst ever.
Giants at Rockies Betting Story Lines
Actually, Zito had been so bad that the Giants booted him from the rotation, but because of injuries they had no choice but to bring him back. Yeah, that didn't work out, and it was even at home. Zito was shelled for six runs and seven hits in just 3.2 innings of a loss to Boston last time out. Inexplicably, he allowed a two-run homer to Boston's Will Middlebrooks with the pitcher on deck. You know, an AL pitcher who never hits. “That’s a mental mistake as much as anything,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said afterward.
Zito has allowed a whopping 29 earned runs over his past 28.2 innings. Did I mention he stinks on the road? He's 0-7 with a 9.45 ERA away this season compared to a pretty solid 4-2 with a 3.71 ERA at home. Only one other pitcher in big-league history has gone 0-7 or worse with an ERA that high in his first nine road starts of a season, which was Pittsburgh's Charlie Morton, who was 0-7 with a 10.38 ERA in his first nine away from home in 2010. Zito actually gets $7 million this offseason when the Giants buy out his option year ($18 million). I probably am not ruining the ending of this story by telling you I won't be recommending the Giants in Monday's series opener in Colorado. Zito has allowed nine runs over 11 innings in two losses at Coors Field this year.
The good news is that it's likely Zito won't have to deal with oft-injured Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. He missed Sunday's game with a sore oblique and probably sits a few more. Tulo struggles against Zito anyway, batting just .160 with 10 strikeouts in 50 at-bats off him. The Rox remain without outfielder Carlos Gonzalez as well. Too bad, as he crushes Zito in his career (.378 with 10 RBI). Michael Cuddyer, the Rockies' third-best player, is 4-for-20 with a homer off Zito.
Colorado counters with Juan Nicasio (7-6, 4.79). He's 1-0 with a 3.12 ERA in his last three starts. Nicasio is 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA in three starts this year against the Giants. He's been much better at Coors Field overall, going 3-1 with a 3.95 ERA compared to a 5.43 ERA on the road. Giants star Buster Posey is 2-for-3 in his career off Nicasio. Shortstop Brandon Crawford is 4-for-8 with three doubles. The Rockies remain without closer Rafael Betancourt, who was placed on the DL on Thursday and whose career might be over. Rex Brothers now closes and has been very good with a 1.48 ERA and 12 saves. Brothers leads all relief pitchers in Wins Above Replacement this season.
Giants at Rockies MLB Betting Odds and Trends
At BetOnline, the Rockies opened at -164 and the Giants at +154 with a total of 10.5. All trends entering Sunday: The Giants are 63-60-6 “over/under” (33-29 on the road) and 52-77 on the runline. Colorado is 59-66-6 O/U (29-33-1 at home) and 61-70 on the runline.
San Francisco is 1-7 in its past eight Monday games. It is 0-4 in Zito's past four series-opening starts and 0-4 in his past four against teams with a losing record. San Francisco has won nine of its past 12 road games against righty starters. Colorado is 6-1 in its past seven at home. The Rockies are 2-8 in their past 10 Monday games. They are 1-4 in Nicasio's past five against teams with a losing record. The over is 4-1 in Zito's past five starts. It is 4-1 in the Giants' past five road games. The over is 6-0 in Nicasio's past six series openers. It is 7-1 in his past eight home starts against teams with a losing record. The under is 4-0 in the past four meetings in Colorado. San Francisco is 5-2 in Zito's past seven against the Rockies.
Baseball Predictions: Giants at Rockies Betting Picks
Rather oddly, this will be the first meeting between the NL West rival since late June. The Giants lead the season series 7-6, but the Rockies are 5-2 at home against San Francisco. I can't possibly take San Francisco here even with Colorado's best two hitters out. The Rockies and the under it is (I'll never recommend an over on a double-digit total).
Read more articles by Alan Matthews