Arizona Diamondbacks (9-3) - Randy Johnson -130, 8 O/U at San Francisco Giants (5-8) - Jonathan Sanchez +120, 8 O/U, AT&T Park, 10:15 PM EST, Monday
by Badger of Predictem.com
Randy Johnson makes his 2008 debut Monday night when the Arizona Diamondbacks travel to AT&T Park to start a three-game series with the San Francisco Giants.
The Diamondbacks are off to the hottest start in Major League Baseball with a 9-3 record. The D-backs finally lost on Sunday to the Colorado Rockies, 13-5, snapping an eight-game winning streak and preventing them from a third-straight series sweep.
The 44-year-old Johnson, who is still working his way back into form following back surgery in the off-season, allowed three runs on three hits in his last minor league rehab start last Tuesday. His comeback is timed up perfectly too, as he will be taking the rotation spot of teammate Doug Davis, who will miss the next few months to have surgery for cancer.
San Francisco will be starting their final series of its season opening 10-game home stand with a 4-3 record, following a 7-4 victory Sunday over the St. Louis Cardinals. Lefty Jonathan Sanchez will take the mound Monday hoping to duplicate his last start (6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 10 K) and not his season opener (4 IP, 7 H, 7 R) the week before.
Baseball bookies opened the game with Arizona as -130 favorites on the moneyline, with San Francisco listed at +120. The over/under total is 8, but you can find it at 7.5 in a few offshore sportsbooks.
Despite losing in the series finale with the Rockies, the Arizona offense is still slugging away coming into tonight. During the 8-game win streak the D-Backs averaged over seven runs per game (7.6) and young stars Justin Upton (5 HR, 11 RBI), Chris Young (4 HR, 7 RBI, 12 R) and Mark Reynolds (5 HR, 15 RBI, 12 R) among the National League leaders in multiple offensive categories.
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The San Francisco offense has received a huge boost from right fielder John Bowker. Bowker went 2-for-3 with a homer and 3 RBI in his major-league debut Saturday, then followed it with a 2-for-4 and a two-run jack on Sunday. After two games Bowker is only two RBIs behind team leader Bengie Molina, which tells you a little about the rest of the Giants lineup. Although, the Giants will get outfielder Aaron Rowand back in the lineup (.308 vs. Johnson in his career) as his sore ribs are slowly getting better.
Most pitchers enjoy playing in San Franciscos AT&T Park, and Johnson is no different. He is 2-2 with a 2.88 ERA in AT&T in five career starts. In two appearances against the Giants last year before he was shut down, both in Arizona, Johnson went 0-0 with a 3.00 ERA.
Sanchez meanwhile has faced the D-Backs, going 0-3 with an 8.10 ERA in three career starts. The Giants dont fare too well in games Sanchez starts either, as the team has lost six of his last eight starts dating back into the end of last season.
Arizona won 10 of the 18 head-to-head meetings last season, but the Giants did win six-of-nine played in AT&T Park. AT&T Park played to its dimensions too, as the under has cashed in seven of the nine games last year and is 13-5-3 in the last 21 in the series.
The high-octane offense that the D-Backs have put on the field has made the runline bet a profitable one, as it is 9-2 (+9.13 units) so far.
Badgers Pick: Expect the Big Unit to be a little amped up at the start, if the Giants are patient they could get a couple of quick runs. But I still think the D-Back offense will push some runs across the plate, making this a game for the bullpens. In the end it goes over 7.5, making the over the best pick for this game as long as you dont have to go over -110 or -115 in price.