With only five games remaining in the regular season, the Colorado Rockies will wrap-up a four-game series against the Giants in San Francisco on Thursday.
The Rockies took the series opener 7-2, with the Giants getting a 5-2 victory on Tuesday. The Rockies still hold a 5-3 edge in the season series.
This preview is for Thursday's day game and was made before the team's finished playing on Wednesday night.
Rockies cannot afford another loss and still need helpThe Colorado Rockies are not yet mathematically eliminated from the postseason hunt; still, they are likely done after this week concludes unless they win out and get some serious help. With a 24 -30 record, the Rockies trail the Brewers and Giants by three games for the final playoff spot. Unfournatley for Colorado, even if they can catch Milwaukee and San Francisco, they also have the Phillies and Mets ahead of them, fighting for one of the final spots as well.
Bigger than baseball. pic.twitter.com/L7RUAjNOle— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) September 18, 2020
Pitching has been one of the most significant weaknesses for Colorado. The pitching staff in 28th in baseball with a 5.46 ERA has given up 313 runs, the second-worst in the league. Chi Chi Gonzalez, who is 0-2 with a 7.53 ERA and 1.53 WHIP, will get the start for the Rockies. Gonzalez is 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA, and 1.93 WHIP in 15 career innings pitched against the Giants.
Offensively Colorado has gotten production from its core three players. Charlie Blackmon has put together another good season leading the team with a .302 AVG and 39 RBI to go along with six homers. Trevor Story has been one of the best shortstops in baseball once again, with 11 home runs 25 RBI, and 14 stolen bases. Nolan Arenado is only batting to .253 but as eight home runs and 26 RBI. As a team the Rockies are 16th averaging 4.6 runs per game, and 10th with a .255 batting average.
Giants hanging on in playoff picture
The Giants are 27-27, currently tied for eighth in the National League for the final playoff spot. The Giants offense has been better than expected this season. San Francisco's .263 batting average is sixth-best MLB, and they are the seventh-best scoring team in the league, averaging slightly over five runs per game. Donovan Solano (.339 AVG, 3 HR 29), Mike Yastrzemski (.944 OPS, 9 HR, 33 RBI), and Alex Dickerson (.964 OPS, 10 HR, 26 RBI) have been the leaders to keeping the Giants in the playoff hunt.
Kevin Gausman, who is 3-3 with a 3.76 ERA and 1.08 WHIP, makes a start for San Franciso on Wednesday. Gausman is 1-1 with a 5.87 ERA, and 1.04 WHIP in three career starts against the Rockies. As a team, the Giants rank 17th with a 4.71 team ERA this season.
- Giants are 18-8 in their last 26 games against a team with a losing record
- Giants are 6-1 in their last 7 home games.
- Rockies are 0-7 in Gonzalez's last 7 road starts.
- Rockies are 1-7 in their last 8 Thursday games
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Giants have the more realistic playoff hopes and have played well at home this season, where they have a 17-10 record. Kevin Gausman also gives the Giants a decisive advantage on the mound. Gausman has gone at least five innings and allowed two earned runs or less in each of his last three starts. On Septemeber 1, Gausman faced the Rockies and was on the winning side of a 23-5 beat down.
Gonzalez has faced the Giants twice this season, allowing eight hits, five runs, and two homers in five innings of work. With the home-field advantage, better bullpen, better starter, and higher stakes on their side, I will have to take San Francisco.
Prediction: San Francisco Giants -1.5
Full-Game Total Pick
I find it hard to expect Chi Chi Gonzalez and the Rockies bullpen to hold down the Giants here. The San Francisco offense has been potent at home, averaging 5.5 runs per game and hitting for a .273 batting average. Although Gausman has been solid recently, he does have a career ERA well over five runs against the Rockies in his career, and will likely need the Giants bullpen pitch at least three innings on Thursday.
Neither team has one of the elite bullpens in baseball, and I think the total here is a little to low.
Prediction: Over 8.5