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Bay Area Series Concludes Thursday In San Francisco, With Zito At The Center

Posted by Dale "Skip" Lalonde on 5/29/2013 7:49:22 PM

Barry Zito once pitched – and quite well at that – for the Oakland Athletics. Now with the San Francisco Bay Area’s other baseball team, he’ll try to beat the A’s on Thursday.

Oakland Athletics @ San Francisco Giants – Thursday, May 30
Sport betting line: No line

Why Oakland Will Win

When the best online betting sites tackle this clash, they will probably lean to the Athletics because of the way San Francisco starting pitcher Barry Zito has performed in recent weeks. Zito started this season like a house on fire, throwing shutouts in consecutive outings and maintaining the momentum he established last October, when he improbably became the savior of the Giants’ season in elimination games during the National League playoffs. Zito then thrashed Detroit Tiger ace Justin Verlander in Game 1 of the World Series, propelling the Giants to their second world title in the past three seasons. Everything was going Zito’s way.

The past three starts have been a very different story. Zito got crushed by the Toronto Blue Jays and then ran into difficulty in two straight starts against the Colorado Rockies. Zito hasn’t allowed fewer than four runs in each of his last three starts. His strong month of April has become a distant memory during a very poor month of May. He’s trying to get his form and his edge back, and that’s going to be hard against the A’s, who have a lineup full of aggressive hitters who are going to be able to take big, confident cuts against Zito’s slow fastballs, which generally reach 84 to 88 miles per hour. It’s going to be hard to see how Zito can flip the “on” switch in this game. Oakland appears to have a clear advantage in the matchup.

Why San Francisco Will Win

This is not quite poker, but while Barry Zito has not been a particularly effective dealer in recent weeks, it’s not as though Oakland starter A.J. Griffin has been that much better. Griffin’s earned-run average is 3.84, only three tenths of a run lower than Zito’s ERA (which is 4.13). Whereas Zito has been hammered on a few occasions while managing to throw shutouts at other times this season, Griffin has been consistent… consistently average. Griffin has steadily thrown roughly six innings per start (6 1/3 innings is more precise) and given up three to four runs.

If the Giants can get four runs off Griffin in six innings in this contest, they should be right in the hunt and could win the game in the final innings with their strong bullpen. The Giants have proven to be a very resourceful and, moreover, resilient team over the past three seasons. They own more belief and determination than any other team in the big leagues. Oakland became a pesky and resolute team last season, but the Giants are still the superior competitive force in the Bay Area.

Who Will Win

The odds will point to Oakland… and the odds should be able to hold up here. Expect the Athletics to tee off on Zito and make this a lopsided affair.

MLB Betting Pick: Oakland

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