San Francisco Giants vs Los Angeles Dodgers
The San Francisco Giants will capture a home victory from the play-off bound Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday.
So much of performance in the final weeks of the baseball season is down to motivation and personnel. Does a team – or key player – have reason to play hard and is the manager putting out a club’s best lineup? In this case the Giants have the advantage.
Their starting pitcher, Tim Lincecum, will be a free agent after this season and this contest will be his last opportunity to show his best stuff before hitting the open market. He’s pitched reasonably well against the Dodgers this year (2-1 with a 3.86 ERA) and has thrown pretty well as of late (3-1 with a 3.90 ERA in his past five appearances).
The Dodgers on the other hand have clinched the National League West. While they’re still battling for the best record in the NL (which would assure them home field advantage in the league championship round of the post-season), their bigger concern is resting a number of players with nagging injuries. As a result, expect a less than complete Los Angeles lineup for this contest.
Finally, the Dodgers are using a pitcher, Edinson Volquez, who has been terrible overall this year (9-12 with a 5.77 ERA) and, in particular, has thrown poorly against the Giants (0-1 with a 6.65 ERA in four starts). Go with San Francisco at 1.75.
Texas Rangers vs Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
In Texas, the Rangers will suffer a tough loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
The Rangers are still fighting for a Wild Card spot and while that motivation would normally carry a club over the top against an Angels’ team that has no post-season prospects, there are extenuating circumstances in this game.
The first is that the two starting pitchers have very different experiences against the opposition. Angels’ starter Jerome Williams has been solid against Texas, posting a very respectable 3.00 ERA in 18 innings this year. In contrast, Rangers pitcher Matt Garza has sputtered against Los Angeles. In 20 1/3 innings he’s registered a poor 5.31 ERA.
The other factor here is recent form. The Angels have been one of baseball’s best teams in September, posting a 15-8 record through their first 23 games of the month. In contrast, the Rangers have faded miserably this month, tallying a 7-15 record so far. Look for a Los Angeles upset and take them at 2.55.
Back San Francisco to win at 1.75.
Back Los Angeles Angels to win at 2.55.