Moneyline: Reds (-110) Giants (+100)
Starting Pitchers: Giants (Vogelsong) vs. Reds (Willis)
Looking at the schedule before the year, one would have expected this series to be a matchup of two teams right in the contention to win the National League in 2011. The San Francisco Giants have held up their end of the deal, but the Cincinnati Reds have been a major disappointment so far this year. The Reds were swept over the course of the last four games by the New York Mets. The Giants got a massive boost to their lineup on Wednesday when Carlos Beltran was brought in from the Mets.
Ryan Vogelsong starts in this one for the Giants, and he has been one of the biggest surprises of the year. Vogelsong has only allowed more than three runs once all year! He has an ERA of 2.10 in 2011. The Giants offense has been short-handed for quite a while, but the addition of Beltran should help them immensely. Pablo Sandoval is healthy and hitting the ball well, and he should benefit quite a bit from having another big bat in the middle of the order. Make no mistake about it; the Giants still have an absolutely dominating pitching staff that can take them all the way back to the World Series.
The Reds moved to within a game of .500 with a walk-off win over the Braves on Sunday night baseball, but then they lost four straight to the mediocre Mets. Dusty Baker’s team just isn’t executing right now, and it is starting to look like they won’t be able to get back to the postseason. Joey Votto is hitting .319, and he has picked up two hits in last three games. The biggest problem for the Reds has been their pitching, which has been a big disappointment. Cincinnati ranks 22nd in the majors in team ERA at 4.11. Dontrelle Willis has a solid 3.71 ERA in his three starts with the team, but it remains to be seen whether he can prove to be a reliable starter for this team.
At even money, I think the Giants are a good value here. The Giants have the better starting pitcher and a much better bullpen. The Reds are really scuffling right now.
MLB Free Pick: Giants ML
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