San Francisco Giants vs. LA Dodgers Pick
San Francsico Giants (31-40) at Los Angeles Dodgers (49-25)
When: 10 p.m., Thursday, June 20
Where: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
Moneyine: SF +220/LAD -250 (BetNow)
Runline: Giants +1.5/Dodgers -1.5
Starting Pitchers: Drew Pomeranz (2-6, 6.43 ERA. 1.73 WHIP) vs. Rich Hill (4-1, 2.60 ERA, 1.13 WHIP)
Trusting the Infielders
Ask anyone who’s pitched at Dodger Stadium and they’ll tell you one thing about the facility: it’s a pitcher’s park. Dodger Stadium is a throwback to another era — an era where stadiums were privately financed and ballparks were designed to favor the pitchers. Rather than go for the home run and increasing their likelihood, as happened in most parks, Dodger Stadium was built as a park where genuine home runs would still leave the park, but pop-ups from lesser hitters would only find the gloves of fielders. In short, it’s a great park for fly ball pitchers to work, knowing that they’re going to give themselves a chance to make plays and get a win.
Rich Hill isn’t one of those pitchers. He tends to be 50/50 on whether he goes for the fly ball, the ground out or the strikeout, and he’ll go for whichever one is giving him the most success on any given night. In his most recent outing, a 5-3 win over the Cubs, he opted for the ground ball, with 12 of his 21 balls that were put in play hit on the ground. On the other hand, the last time he faced the Giants, the fly ball got the job done for him, as he scored a 7-2 win over San Francisco with 10 of 15 balls put in play becoming flies.
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So with Hill on the mound, any kind of game is possible, and that means the defense for the Dodgers has to be on top of its game. Luckily for them, that’s an era where L.A. is pretty solid: the Dodgers rank 11th in fielding percentage at .985.
A Major Adjustment
Should we even consider the first month of the year as part of the performance for Drew Pomeranz? Things are so different for him now that it almost feels like the Giants unveiled a completely different pitcher in June after Pomeranz made an adjustment to his delivery and started to get his arm away from a side motion to his pitches.
How much of a change has Pomeranz made in his most recent starts? Against Arizona and Baltimore, his last two games with his old delivery, he was incredibly beatable. In four innings combined between the two games, Pomeranz gave up 14 hits and 13 runs — all of them earned — as the Giants wiped out in losses to both the Diamondbacks and the Orioles, giving up a combined 27 runs in the two games.
Then June 7 arrived, Pomeranz tried the new motion, and the effect was almost instant. Not only did Pomeranz best Clayton Kershaw and hand the Dodger ace a 2-1 setback, but he looked great in doing it, holding Los Angeles to three hits and no runs in five innings. Against Milwaukee’s powerful offense, Pomeranz did it again, keeping the Brewers to just five hits and two unearned runs that scored off of San Francisco mistakes. With a pitcher’s park up next, Pomeranz could be in line to make his third straight strong appearance.
The phrase “Hitless Wonders” has long been assigned to the Chicago White Sox, but the term could be applied to the Giants this season for their lack of scoring ability. Only Detroit and Miami have scored fewer runs than San Francisco’s 269, a big reason why the Giants have the second-worst record in the National League. The runs given up suggest that San Francisco would be competitive if it could just find an offense, and a look at the standings shows that both Atlanta and Milwaukee, who lead the NL East and NL Central, respectively, have both conceded roughly the same amount of runs as San Francisco (Milwaukee 355, San Francisco 359, Atlanta 360). The difference is that the Brewers and Braves have no trouble putting up enough runs to give themselves a chance to win, while the Giants routinely find themselves asking their pitchers to hold the opposition to two runs or fewer.
Dodgers-Giants is one of the best rivalries in sports, and it’s truly a rivalry where the records don’t really matter when the squads get together. Case in point: look at the records this year. The Dodgers are in position to lap the field and get their 50th win of the season, while the Giants are trying to keep themselves from falling 10 games under .500 in Bruce Bochy’s final season. And yet, the teams split their first 10 meetings of the season. With the Dodgers’ 9-0 win over San Francisco on Monday, Los Angeles now holds a 6-5 lead on San Francisco for 2019.
- The Giants have won five of their past seven.
- The Dodgers have won six of seven against left-handed starters.
- The Dodgers have won Hill’s past five starts against the NL West.
- The over is 5-0 in Hill’s past five Wednesday starts.
- The over is 6-1 when the Dodgers scored five runs or more the day before.
Weather doesn’t get much more mild in Southern California, with the temperature set for 65 degrees at first pitch.
The Dodgers have destroyed everyone they’ve played at Dodger Stadium this year — except the Giants. Los Angeles is 29-9 at home this season, but just 3-2 against San Francisco at home. Milwaukee and Washington are the only other teams to win more than a game at Dodger Stadium this year, and the Giants remain the only team to beat Kershaw this season (a loss he more than made up for with a 9-0 rout of San Francisco on Tuesday).
With the Dodgers going off at such a high price in this game, Pomeranz pitching well in his past two games and the Giants having a history of success against Los Angeles, why not take a shot with San Francisco to pull off an upset? You’re going to have to take L.A. on the runline to make any money, and that’s not a bet you want to make when two archrivals like this get together. The opportunity is there, and there have been bigger underdogs that were worth taking a chance on and paid bettors nicely. It’s absolutely worth a gamble on San Francisco here.
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