Aug. 15 MLB Preview — San Francisco Giants (60-61) at Arizona Diamondbacks (61-60)

(Ketel Marte photo courtesy Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports)

This is the full preview(s) as seen on the Winners and Whiners and Stat Salt websites. The confidence rating for all picks on a scale from 1 to 5 is in parentheses.

Note: The 5/5 does NOT represent the best overall pick of the day’s games when there are multiple games, simply the best pick(s) from each individual game.

When and Where: Thursday, Aug. 15, Chase Field, Phoenix, Ariz., 9:40 p.m. EDT.

The San Francisco Giants are counting on Dereck Rodriguez in a big spot as the left-hander will open their four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday night in a clash of NL wild-card hopefuls.

Giants trying to stay in thick of NL wild-card chase

San Francisco (60-61) wrapped up a nine-game homestand 4-5 after splitting two games with Bay Area rival Oakland and losing 9-5 on Wednesday. Mike Yastrzemski hit a three-run homer for the Giants, who failed to recover from an early four-run deficit as their five-run, eighth-inning rally fell short.

The decision to recall Rodriguez (4-6, 5.32 ERA) from Triple-A Sacramento is an interesting one given Jeff Samardzija, who was pushed back to Friday, is 5-0 with a 2.56 ERA in his last six road starts.

The right-hander was sharp in his only outing for the River Cats on Aug. 7, yielding two runs in seven innings and striking out six without a walk in a 4-2 victory.

Rodriguez was demoted after a disastrous outing in his last start for the Giants, getting tagged for seven runs — four earned — and eight hits over three-plus innings of a 10-2 setback at Philadelphia on Aug. 1.

Rodriguez has made four relief appearances against the Diamondbacks this year, giving up four runs in four innings. Three of them came in the most recent outing June 30 when he retired only two batters and permitted four hits.

The righty split two starts against Arizona as a rookie last year, yielding three runs in 11 1-3 innings.

D-Backs rookie Young seeks second win over Giants

Alex Young (4-2, 3.32) began his major league career by beating the Giants on June 27, conceding a solo homer to Brandon Belt and two other hits over five innings of a 5-1 road win.

The left-hander, though, has struggled to gain traction in losing back-to-back starts to Washington and Los Angeles. The Dodgers chased Young after 3 1-3 innings Saturday, giving up four runs and five hits as the NL West leaders rolled to a 4-0 victory.

“Just missing, nibbling,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo told the club’s official website about his rookie. “You know those quick, easy outs weren’t there for him today. The Dodgers are a team that grind it out and make you get the ball on the plate, so you’ve got to give them some credit. I think Alex was just a click off, just a little bit off the edges.”

Young did not get any offensive backing in those losses and is 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA in three starts at home. The southpaw has limited opponents to a .113 batting average in 16 innings in those games, issuing more walks (8) than hits allowed (6).

Arizona (61-60) was denied a three-game sweep of Colorado at Coors Field on Wednesday, squandering a three-run lead in the seventh and a 6-5 lead in the ninth when Nolan Arenado belted a two-run walkoff homer.

Eduardo Escobar, who hit a two-run homer, is 18 for 55 with two homers and 11 RBIs in 13 games versus the Giants this year.

Notable Trends

The Diamondbacks are:

  • 4-1 in their last five home games.
  • 4-1 in their last five home games vs. teams with an above-.500 road record.
  • 7-3 in their last 10 games following a loss.

The Giants are:

  • 1-6 in Rodriguez’s last seven starts during game 1 of a series.
  • 7-19 in their last 26 games vs. starters with a sub-1.15 WHIP.
  • 2-10 in their last 12 games vs. above-.500 teams.

*****5-Star Pick*****

Diamondbacks 3-way ML first 5 innings (-121)

Though the Giants are the overall pick, it is hard to go against Young in this instance. Arizona is 4-1-2 at the midway point in his seven starts and has held opponents to one or no runs in five of them.

Rodriguez has been hit or miss in his two starts since the All-Star break — oddly effective at Coors Field and rocked at home by Philadelphia — but the hedge is the rookie gets some run support for the first time in three starts and the Diamondbacks lead after five.

****4-Star Pick****

Diamondbacks UNDER 5 runs (-110)

The expectation is there is some sort of middle ground for Arizona’s offense, which racked up 23 runs in its three-game set at Coors Field after being stymied by the Dodgers and scoring only six runs in that three-game series.

Rodriguez’s win versus Arizona as a rookie last year came on the road, and it is one of only two career starts in which he pitched at least six innings without yielding a run.

***3-Star Picks***

San Francisco +1.5 runs (-145)

While the Diamondbacks were originally the lean, the feeling is the Giants will stay close enough or potentially eke out a win late. San Francisco — which is 9-4 on the road in its last 13 games — is 4-2 at Arizona this season, and one of those two losses was a one-run defeat.

UNDER 9.5 runs (-115)

The number fell on the high side at 9.5 runs, and the under has been trending for both Rodriguez and the Giants in general. The under is 12-5-1 in his last 18 starts against teams with winning records and 9-1-1 in their last 11 when allowing five or more runs in the previous game.

The under is 6-2-1 in Arizona’s last nine versus NL West rivals and 8-3-2 in their last 13 series openers.

UNDER 5.5 runs first 5 innings (-125)

The hook gives the under the nod, with the five-inning under 6-3 in San Francisco’s last nine games and Young delivering the under in his lone start versus the Giants.

The under is 4-3 in Young’s seven starts, and while Arizona had a three-game run with the over end in Wednesday’s loss, the under had posted in its previous four contests.

UNDER 0.5 runs/NO 1st inning run (Even)

Despite the fact Rodriguez has a 5.40 ERA in the first inning of his 10 starts, he has been nicked on the road just once in six outings. Young has been effective in the opening frame since being called up, with his lone mistake in seven outings a leadoff solo homer in Miami on July 27.

The Giants have plated a first-inning run just once in their last nine games, so if you can be brave with Rodriguez, there’s a shot at even money with a scoreless first.


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