This weekend’s Giants-Cardinals series looked like it might be important when the 2016 MLB schedule was released. After all, both San Francisco and St. Louis expected to be playoff contenders. Alas, it hasn’t worked out for the Giants as they continue to struggle. The Giants are coming off with local rivals, Los Angeles Dodgers, in a 3 game series, ending it at 2-1. For the Cardinals, they’re coming off a 2 game series against the Boston Red Sox, losing both games. San Francisco will be betting underdogs for Game 1 on Friday night.
San Francisco at St. Louis MLB Betting Analysis & Game Info
— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) May 17, 2017
When: Friday, May 19, 8:15 PM ET
Where: Busch Stadium, St. Louis
Probable pitchers (away/home): Matt Moore/Michael Wacha
TV: MLB Network
Radio: San Francisco / St. Louis
Opening MLB Lines: Cardinals favored by TBA
Why Bet On Giants?
San Francisco will get back closer Mark Melancon, the team’s big offseason signing, for Game 1 of this series. He actually was activated Wednesday in a minor surprise. Manager Bruce Bochy said Tuesday that Melancon would get two additional days off and join the team Friday in St. Louis, but interim closer Derek Law had pitched in four of the past five games, so the bullpen needed a fresh late-innings arm.
Melancon was placed on the DL on May 9 (retroactive to May 6) with a mild right pronator strain. In his first season with the Giants, the three-time All-Star is 0-1 with a 2.64 ERA and has six saves in eight chances. The team sent down outfielder Kelby Tomlinson. The Giants are also without starting right fielder Hunter Pence. He was placed on the DL Monday with a strained left hamstring. He will be eligible to return during the Giants’ four-game series against the Cubs next week in Chicago. The 34-year-old veteran is hitting .243 with three home runs and 16 RBIs this season. Pence underwent surgery on his torn right hamstring last season and played only 106 games after playing 52 in 2015.
It’s Matt Moore (2-4, 5.67) on the mound. Moore allowed a single run on eight hits and three walks while striking out seven over 7.1 innings during Saturday’s win over Cincinnati. He earned a win for the first time since April 10. The left-hander pitched out of multiple jams early while throwing a season-high 119 pitches.
“It was really needed for him to get us deep in the game,” Bochy said. “He really gave us a little more than I thought, to be honest. He pitched his way into some jams, but in traffic, he found a way to make pitches.”
The home-road splits have been drastic for Moore, as he owns a 2.57 ERA and 1.14 WHIP at AT&T Park compared to 10.50 and 2.17 marks over his four road starts. Moore’s lifetime record on the road is .500 (20-20) in 58 games, including 56 starts. This will be his first career appearance in St. Louis.
Why Bet On St. Louis?
The Cardinals could activate both outfielder Stephen Piscotty and third baseman Jhonny Peralta for Game 1 of this series off the DL. Peralta, on the 10-day disabled list with complications stemming from an upper respiratory infection, has been playing at Triple-A Memphis this week. Prior to being placed on the DL, Peralta hit .120/.185/.120 in 25 at-bats. Peralta likely has lost his starting MLB job to Jedd Gyorko.
Piscotty (right hamstring strain) began his time on the medical rehabilitation option on Tuesday night at Class AA Springfield. Before landing on the disabled list, Piscotty was hitting .241/.378/.380 with two home runs, 10 runs scored and 11 RBIs. Peralta and Piscotty being activated doesn’t mean that two position players will go. Rookie outfielder Magneuris Sierra, who came from Class A, probably will be one. But Tommy Pham, hitting .371 with power, speed and defense since he came up, will not be going anywhere, at least not for a while. the Cardinals, temporarily, at least, could drop from 13 pitchers to 12.
It’s right-hander Michael Wacha (2-1) on the mound here. In a move the club believes will protect Wacha from the late-season fade and shoulder troubles that have eroded two of his previous seasons, he had his start skipped entirely in this turn of the rotation last time out. In his career, Wacha has an ERA in the second half that is almost a run higher than his first-half success. His ERA jumped to greater than 4.00 after his All-Star Game selection in 2015, and in the past three seasons he’s had a 5.11 second-half ERA
Through six starts in 2017, Wacha has averaged more than six innings in each appearance, and his ERA has reached 3.19 after he allowed six runs in his past 12 innings. Wacha has shown a spike in his fastball velocity, up to a 94.4 mph average after 93.2 mph last season, and a more familiar effectiveness with his changeup.
San Francisco at St. Louis MLB Betting Pick: St. Louis Cardinals
Wacha has finished at least six innings in all six starts he’s made this season and should be fresh with all that time off.