The Cloudbet Blog, led by Andrew Cunneen (@Cunneen92), takes a look at the three-game Giants series which starts Saturday. San Francisco are about to find they can't keep their momentum going, while Cloudbet’s adopted feature franchise, the San Diego Padres should find their offensive groove.
Felling the Giants
The San Diego Padres have, at time of writing, played 30 games in the majors.
There’s good news, bad news and indifferent news.
The bad news is that of all the teams to have played 30 games, they’re dead last in terms of runs scored.
The good news is that their seismic investment in pitching is proving fruitful - in both starting pitchers and in relief. Mark Melancon was recently rewarded with Reliever of the Month, and his ERA does all the explaining.
The indifferent news comprises both a positive and a negative.
The positive is that the Dodgers, for all their riches, World Series trophy and expectation, have not flown into a multi-game lead atop the NL West.
Everyone is aware the Padres are nowhere near their best yet, and that’s fine - but if Los Angeles had started like a house on fire, then they could very easily maintain that lead through psychology alone.
The negative is that the San Francisco Giants, who were almost certainly going to be in a rebuild this season, look like viable contenders in a two-horse race.
And three into two doesn’t go, as you know.
So, the 19 games against the Dodgers had been both the priority and focus for Padres staff and national media alike. But now the series against the Giants takes on an extra edge and one could argue that conceding even splits in their series against them is allowing them into contention.
Right now, the Padres are 3-3 against the Giants, with a three-game series coming up that they simply must win. Yes, based on the projected WAR of the Giants staff, there’s no way that they can keep up this pace.
But in order for that to be hammered home and avoid momentum skewing a straightforward ‘win more games than the Dodgers’ end-of-season goal for the Pads, they must dispose of the Giants and do it in some fashion.
Series opener: San Diego Padres vs San Francisco Giants
Make sure you check the live site for the latest odds.
The issue here is that both teams are wildly inconsistent. The Giants’ lineup is talented, especially when outfielder Mike Yastrzemski is back in the starting nine. It’s their pitching that’s outperforming the odds. And the lax effort of Padres bats in the box is the key to them maintaining parity.
From a betting perspective, it’s worth assessing their games to date.
Earlier in the season, none of their games had more than five runs in them. It was early-year misnomers.
Their previous three are probably a better reflection of where the teams are now - battling injuries and being without the new-season buzz that you generally get with those divisional series early on.
Ain't nothing buy a groove thing
The Padres are swinging bats, but relying on relievers failing rather than being patient with starters. That’s not been the case with the Giants, luckily - as they handed losses to Logan Webb and Anthony DeSclafani in their last series victory over them.
Sooner rather than later, the Padres offense will click. And when it does, they’ll be returning to the cheers of “Slam Diego” pretty quickly.
If the Giants’ starting pitching is aiding to this point, it’s doing so above projection and we’d fully expect the second-time-round at-bats of these Padres to expose the exhausted arsenals of an average rotation.
The fact it’s in the Bay Area shouldn’t bother the Padres either - they were 4-1 in AT&T Park in 2020, with a considerably worse rotation.
This feels like a moment where the season turns for the Padres offense, and the small piece of breathing room they need over their division rivals to be focused on the Dodger-logo-shaped shadow hanging over them.
If you're betting this, bet the Padres to take the series 2-1, but backing them in all three games with the percentage of a sweep being slightly above a series loss is a smart move.
Given the Padres bats are now taking a more refined approach and allowing balls to be balls rather than strikes off the plate should mean more of a 2020 feel to the offense. Without elite relay in the outfield, the Padres should be looking to steal bases and in turn, steal runs. Could be some value in the Overs in the Totals markets.
Expect this to be high-scoring - and the moment when the Giants come right back down to earth.
The National League West winner market hasn't shifted much since we last wrote, the Dodgers at 1.25 (from 1.20) and the Padres at 3.78 (from 3.85) - the Giants are next, back at 19.1.
In the National League winner market, the order is the same, with the Dodgers at 2.74 (from 2.60) and the Padres at 5.45 (from 5.14), followed by the Mets at 6.14 (5.65), the Braves at 8.88 (7.42) and the Cards at 11.9 (13.3).
At only 30-odd games into the season it's still very early on - you may find our pre-seasons previews of the National League and the American League - as well as our article on why we're following the Padres this year, useful in helping you play smarter.