After splitting the first two games of what has been an exciting MLB Interleague series this week, the San Francisco Giants (38-31, 17-17 away) will get set to try and bounce back from last night’s crushing defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Angels (37-32, 18-16 home), in what is sure to be an excellent pitching duel between two of the best arms in the West. With game time set for 10:05 PM ET at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, get ready for what should be one of the top sports betting options on baseball, as Jered Weaver (6-1, 2.61 ERA) of the Angels returns from a stint on the DL to take on the red-hot Ryan Vogelsong (6-2, 2.29 ERA).
These two pitchers squaring off tonight have two of the lowest opponents’ batting average in their respective leagues, with Vogelsong allowing only a .215 average to opposing batsmen, and Weaver producing even more stingy marks, holding his foes to just a .195 average this season. What will truly be interesting to watch for tonight though, is how rusty Weaver is, or how well he is able to pitch coming back from the DL and not pitching since May 28th. If one thing may be certain, this game might very well be impacted by Weaver’s low pitch count, which is expected to be limited to around 80-90 pitches this evening. However, with Weaver coming back from a lower back injury and responding well to treatment, at least his arm shouldn’t be in question, and we should see the fireballer launching the ball up there with his usual fervor. What will make for a huge advantage for Weaver, who has simply devastating off-speed pitches, is the fact that only two of the Giants’ hitters have ever faced him before, with Melky Cabrera and Aubrey Huff combining for 26 at-bats against Weaver during their previous stints across AL teams. However, even their experience may not count for much, with Cabrera going 3-for-15 lifetime against Weaver, and Huff a dismal 1-for-11. With Weaver keeping the pitch count low and the walks to an absolute minimum, facing an order that has little experience against him could still find him with enough leeway from pitching coaches to get into the 6th or possibly 7th inning in tonight’s game.
For Ryan Vogelsong, one of the Giants’ All-Star pitchers last season, this year’s run so far has been absolutely superb. Vogelsong has won 6 straight decisions in his last 8 starts dating back to May 8th, and only once during that stretch has he allowed more than 2 runs. He has accumulated 8 quality starts of more than 7 innings in his last 9 outings, dropping his ERA from 3.42 to his current 2.29. Despite having a slightly inflated 3.48 ERA on the road through 5 starts away from home, Vogelsong is still 3-0 and has averaged just less than 7 innings of work per road start. Like the Giants against Weaver, Vogelsong has not been seen much by any of the Angels hitters. In fact, the only LA batter who has even faced Vogelsong in his career is Albert Pujols, who fortunately for the Angeles has managed plenty of success in his time at the plate, going 6-for-15 (.400) with 1 homer, 6 RBIs and 3 walks. Coming off a huge night last night going 2-for-3 with a home run and 4 RBIs, Vogelsong will want to be especially careful with the heart of the Angels line-up, as in a game like this with two incredible pitchers, one big swing of one big bat could be the difference maker.
If there is going to be a hitter for the San Francisco Giants that has an opportunity to step-up and get at Jered Weaver, it’s going to be Melky Cabrera, who has been on an absolute tear at the plate lately. Despite his less-than-stellar career against Weaver, Cabrera is seeing the ball very well, going 3-for-5 last night to make him 6-for-10 in this series so far. Cabrera has hit safely in 17 of his last 19 games, and needs to be a catalyst for the Giants to overcome the Angels and save some face after being blown out 12-5 last night. Another guy to watch for is Buster Posey, who extended his recent hitting streak to 7 games, and has gotten at least a hit in 14 of his last 16 starts. Lastly, Pedro Sandoval and Angel Pagan both need to be contributors in some part at the plate for the Giants, as without much power in the line-up, base hits from their +.300 hitters will be all the more important to help get guys on the base paths and also force Jered Weaver to work more per inning.
For the Los Angeles Angels bats, undoubtedly last night’s effort will find them coming into tonight’s showdown with plenty of confidence. As mentioned previously, Albert Pujols was one of the Tuesday night stars, but even more impressive was the show put on by DH Mark Trumbo, and centerfielder Mike Trout. Trumbo went 3-for-5 with 5 RBI to bring his season average up to .326 with 16 homers and 47 RBIs, while Mike Trout went a perfect 4-for-4 with 4 runs scored and two doubles to raise his impressive batting average 14 points in one game to .337. There’s signs popping up that the Los Angeles bats are finally hitting stride, evident in players like Torii Hunter starting to come around (hitting .309 with 4 homers and 10 RBIs in June) after relatively lackluster starts to the season. The Angels certainly have the advantage at the plate heading into Game 3, and getting to Vogelsong as early as possible will be a key factor towards an Angels victory to take the series 2 games to 1. Look out for one or two of these red-hot Angels hitters to be essential to them finishing off the series in victorious fashion.
Betting lines for the San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Angels at Oddsmaker Sportsbook.
Despite coming off the disabled list for today’s start, Jered Weaver and the Angels head into tonight’s Game 3 as -159 favorites to win straight up on the money line. With Weaver on a limited pitch count, plus a possibility of some rust after not having pitched in almost a month, there could be a solid opportunity to seek out the Giants as underdogs with +144 odds behind Ryan Vogelsong. There certainly are worse pitchers to get behind in a tough road match-up, as Vogelsong has yet to lose on the road this season.
Against the spread, the Angels will need to cover 1.5 runs to earn spread pickers backing them +140 odds, while Giants pickers will get a 1.5-run cushion but at weaker -160 odds.
For the total runs line, the over/under is set at 7 runs, which has been surpassed twice in this series so far. Definitely factored in is the caliber of pitching here, but with tempting EVEN money odds taking the over wager there should be plenty of bettors taking a chance that the Angels’ bats will find a way to get at Vogelsong, and perhaps Jered Weaver will also come out a bit rusty. We won’t be banking on that however, playing it safe and looking for a low-scoring ballgame dictated by much better pitching this evening.