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Two Teams In Freefall Meet As The Shaken Giants Tackle The Tumbling Padres

Posted by Dale "Skip" Lalonde on 7/14/2013 8:28:49 PM

The San Francisco Giants’ memories of the 2012 World Series seem very distant right now, given the team’s collapse and its fourth-place position in a weak National League West.

San Francisco Giants @ San Diego Padres – Saturday, July 13
Sports betting line: no line

Why San Francisco Will Win

In a contest of online betting, the importance of momentum sometimes matters, but it doesn’t really enter the picture here. A fragile matchup in any sport is one that occurs between two cratering clubs. San Francisco has lost eight of its last 10 games, while San Diego had lost 10 straight before grabbing a win on Tuesday night against Colorado. Neither team merits trust on its own, but when putting these teams together, one would have to think that San Francisco, its pride wounded, will take the field with a sense of purpose. San Francisco starter Tim Lincecum has been less than special for the Giants, but San Diego starter Edinson Volquez, saddled with a 5.33 ERA, is not likely to outpitch him. Lincecum has been disappointing for the San Francisco franchise in recent years, with manager Bruce Bochy expressing his evident exasperation with a player who once dominated on the mound. Yes, it might seem as though the Giants are in big trouble in this contest, but you can’t just look at the negatives that apply to one pitcher. You must look at both pitchers, and improbably, San Diego’s pitcher just might be a little bit worse than Lincecum, much as San Diego’s tailspin has managed to be a little bit worse than San Francisco’s own nosedive in the National League West standings.

ESPN’s game notes are unsparing in their criticism of Volquez as a starting pitcher: “Despite the decent results, we aren't really buying in, as he still arguably has the worst control of any regular starter in baseball. His current 4.30 BB/9 mark would be his lowest since his breakout season in 2008, but it's still pretty lousy by the standards of most pitchers. Volquez and his never-ending control issues will take the mound again Saturday in San Francisco.”

If you’re going to pick between two bad teams, wouldn’t you rather pick the one that won the World Series last year? That’s a hard question to overlook if you want to make a betting play on this game.

Why San Diego Will Win

When the betting websites break down this contest, they’re going to give a good, long look at the pitching matchup, given that it’s filled with mediocrity on both sides. Tim Lincecum is saddled with a below-average 4.61 ERA and a 4-9 record, a far cry from the excellence of past seasons, when he was one of the top pitchers in the sport. ESPN’s game notes on Lincecum’s most recent start (excerpted) talk about the issue that has dogged Lincecum for quite some time now: “Lincecum was dominant in the early going, not allowing the Mets to get a hit until the fifth inning of Monday's loss. Then he ran into a little trouble, allowing his first run in the fifth, followed by a pair of runs in the sixth. This series of events has become all too familiar for Lincecum, who gives up more runs (0.82) in the sixth inning than any other frame. Critics point to Lincecum's lack of strength and stamina as the reason he gets hit harder the second and third times through the rotation.”

Who Will Win?

The odds will be stacked against the Padres here. Lincecum is not particularly special at this point in his career, but Volquez is worse. Somebody has to win, and it will probably be the Giants.

MLB Betting Pick: San Francisco

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