Minnesota starter Ricky Nolasco has really struggled on the road this season where he is 1-2 with a 7.81 ERA and 1.91 WHIP in five outings. In contrast, Nolasco owns a solid 3.21 ERA and 1.14 WHIP at home, but those numbers are meaningless since today’s game is at AT&T Park. Overall, Nolasco is 2-4 with a 5.50 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in 2014, including going 2-2 with a 6.21 ERA and 1.72 WHIP in day games and 0-1 with a 4.76 ERA and 1.35 WHIP over his last three starts. Let’s also note that Nolasco’s spot in the rotation was recently changed due to a tweak in his hamstring. “Just came out and was a little sore on his hamstring,” manager Ron Gardenhire said of Nolasco, who hasn’t pitched since May 18.
Nolasco faced San Francisco three times last season over which time he allowed a combined sixteen runs (14 earned) on 24 hits in 12 2/3-innings of work. Needless to say, Nolasco is not overly excited to see the Giants this afternoon. Meanwhile, San Francisco southpaw Madison Bumgarner is 5-3 with a 3.38 ERA and 1.43 WHIP this season, and his strikeouts per nine ratio is at a career-best (10). The problem facing Bumgarner is the fact that his hits per nine ratio has increased to 10.3 this season, which is significantly higher than the 6.5 figure last season.
I am confident that pitching coach Dave Righetti will modify Bumgarner’s recent trend of throwing his four-seam fastball at a rate of 44.67% in May, which is the highest monthly fastball rate since March, 2013. Not lost on Righetti is the fact that Bumgarner has 65 strikeouts in 58 2/3-innings pitched this season. I also like the fact that Bumgarner had a 2.33 ERA and 1.00 WHIP at home last season, including going 6-2 with a 2.12 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in day games. Bumgarner is also supported by a phenomenal San Francisco bullpen that owns a 2.24 ERA and 1.01 WHIP this season, including a 1.36 ERA and 0.90 WHIP at home, a 1.32 ERA and 0.73 WHIP in interleague play and a 2.05 ERA and 0.89 WHIP in day games.
From a technical standpoint, Minnesota is a money-burning 30-65 versus teams with a winning record , including 10-23 on the road versus .601 or greater opposition and 3-13 on the road versus .501 or greater interleague opponents. The Giants are a profitable 9-0 (+10.4 units) versus American League Central opponents and 12-4 (+9.1 units) in day games, while Madison Bumgarner is 25-9 (+15.1 units) after issuing one walk or less in each of his two previous outings. Here are some additional trends favoring San Francisco:
- Giants are 25-8 L/33 interleague games vs. right-handed starter;
- Giants are 14-5 L/19 home games;
- Giants are 63-26 L/89 games as favorites of -151 to -200;
- Giants are 20-7 L/27 versus A.L. Central opponents;
- Giants are 12-1 L/13 Sunday games (I put zero value in this trend, but it is interesting);
- Twins are 4-9 L/13 games after losing first two games of the series;
- Twins are 6-20 L/26 interleague games versus teams with a winning record;
- Twins are 2-9 L/11 interleague games
Today’s home plate umpire, Paul Emmel, represents a 77.8% winning proposition for home teams this season. In addition, San Francisco is 19-7 in its last 26 games with Emmel behind the plate. With the Giants standing at 16-5 as home favorites between -151 and -200 with Bumgarner on the mound and 9-4 in Bumgarner’s last thirteen starts, take the surging home team and invest with confidence.