There is no hotter team in baseball than the San Francisco Giants, as they enter tonight amid a ten-game win streak and looking for a third straight series sweep. San Francisco is fresh off a sweep of the Dodgers, and now, with a win this afternoon, they have the chance to sweep another California team in the Padres. We’ll preview the game before going over why I think today might be the end of the line for the win streak.
Last night marked the second time in this series that the Giants used a bullpen game, and the second time that it worked. Reliever Ryan Walker made his second start of the series and was one of six pitchers the Giants used in their 4-2 win. Sean Hjelle threw the bulk of the innings as he went four scoreless, while the other five pitchers went one inning a piece. On the offensive side, the Giants had four players pick up an RBI across the eight hits the team registered.
As the team looks to close out the series and extend their impressive winning streak, they will send left-hander Alex Wood to the mound. The veteran is fresh off his second win of the season, in which he threw five shutout innings against the Dodgers with four strikeouts. On the year, Wood has thrown 35 innings and pitched to a 4.11 ERA with 34 punchouts and 16 walks.
Wood will take on a Padres lineup that has scored three or fewer runs in four of their last six games, including last night. While the Padres were able to match the Giants in hits, they ended up leaving 24 runners on base, so the RBIs from Jake Cronenworth and Trent Grisham were not enough to get the job done.
With the way Blake Snell has been pitching recently, I can’t imagine the Padres would want anyone else on the mound as they look to avoid getting swept. The lefty has made five straight starts in which he was allowed one earned run or fewer and has a combined 24 strikeouts in his last 13 innings. Snell has recorded six or more strikeouts in each of his last five starts, which brings his total up to 93 in 75 innings of work.
There is no denying that the Giants are playing with a lot of momentum at the moment, but they face a pitcher tonight who is playing at an exceptionally high level. With that said, I’ll be backing the Padres to end the win streak and cover on the moneyline, which is priced at (-125). Snell is 3-1 with a 2.51 ERA against the Giants in six career starts, and I think he can continue to pitch at a CY Young caliber level tonight.
Snell has a 3.11 ERA in 37.2 road innings to go along with a batting average against of .221. His recent string of stellar starts has put him in the 84th percentile in strikeout percentage, 59th percentile in expected batting average, and 57th percentile in hard-hit percentage.
Alex Wood enters tonight with a 6.00 ERA and .271 batting average against when pitching at home this season. The Giants' lefty also has a FIP of 5.28 at home and is in the 37th percentile in xERA/xwOBA, so he is an ideal matchup for a Padres lineup that has hit lefties well recently. Over the past month, San Diego ranks 7th in wRC+, 7th in wOBA, and 6th in OPS against left-handed pitching on the road.
San Diego Padres (-125)