Giants vs. Dodgers Odds
|Time||Monday, 10:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Monday and via FanDuel|
The Giants look to maintain their lead in the National League West when they open up a crucial four-game series on Monday in Los Angeles against the Dodgers.
San Francisco had one of the most surprising first halves in MLB and now finds itself in pole position to not just win its division, but also to get home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. However, the Dodgers have had their number this season, winning six of the first nine matchups, and a sweep would see LA take over the top spot in the division.
The Dodgers had a slow start to the season but picked things up right before the All-Star break and now sit just one game behind the Giants. The Los Angeles bullpen has steadily improved from a bad start, which has allowed the offense and starting pitching to dominate like they usually do.
San Francisco Giants
The main reason the Giants currently have the best record in baseball is because of their offense. They are top five in wOBA, wRC+ and ISO, with most of that success coming against right-handed pitching. San Francisco has a .332 wOBA and 110 wRC+ against righties this season.
The Giants’ offense has also been absolutely crushing fastballs, ranking as the second-best team in MLB with a whopping 43.8 weighted fastball runs this season. Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin goes to his fastball over 45% of the time, so San Francisco has a good matchup tonight.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers have been the best offense in the National League, and it’s only getting better. They hit right-handed pitching better than anyone in baseball to the tune of a .338 wOBA and 115 wRC+, so Kevin Gausman is in for a difficult matchup.
The Dodgers also have positive run values against every pitch type, except for cutters. However, Los Angeles will have to deal with Gausman’s splitter, which is not a pitch it’s used to seeing on a regular basis.
Starting Pitching Matchup
Kevin Gausman vs. Tony Gonsolin
2021 Stats (via FanGraphs)
Giants Starting Pitcher
Kevin Gausman, RHP
2021 Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)
If it wasn’t for Jacob deGrom, Gausman would be getting serious consideration for the NL Cy Young Award. Through 18 starts, he’s posted a 2.35 xERA and 3.32 xFIP, which are two of the best marks in baseball. His control has been impeccable, as his K/9 is over 10, BB/9 rate under 2.5, HR/9 rate is under 0.70 and WHIP an incredible 0.82.
The reason for his success? Gausman’s splitter is one of the best pitches in all of baseball. This season it’s allowed only a .142 wOBA, has a 50.1% whiff rate, and has accumulated 95 strikeouts, while also only allowing 20 hits total.
Kevin Gausman’s split finger change up has the ability to ruin careers. One of the nastiest pitches I have ever seen.
— James Donohue (@Cool_Hip_Jim) January 25, 2021
He’s already faced the Dodgers twice this season, giving up five hits and three runs over 11 innings, so he knows how to navigate one of the best lineups in baseball.
Dodgers Starting Pitcher
Tony Gonsolin, RHP
2021 Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)
Gonsolin has only pitched 25 1/3 innings in the big leagues this season, but he’s been very solid with a 2.99 xERA and 4.53 xFIP. However, he’s giving up way too many free passes, as his BB/9 rate is up at 5.33, which is the highest mark of his career.
Gonsolin mainly goes to the fastball (45.6% thrown in 2021), but it has average velocity (93.4 mph) without a lot of movement, which has allowed opposing hitters to tag it for a .397 wOBA. That’s going to be a major problem against this Giants lineup that crushes the heater.
His two secondary pitches of splitter and slider have been really effective this season. The splitter has a lot of action moving in on right-handed hitters, and his slider has good horizontal movement. Both pitches are allowing a wOBA under .180 and have over a 40% whiff rate, so he will need to utilize them both often against this Giants lineup.
Both of these bullpens have been outstanding this season with ERAs under 3.40 and xFIPs under 4.25.
The bullpen has really been a big reason for the Giants’ turnaround. In 2020, the San Francisco relief corps was one of the worst in baseball with an xFIP over 5.00, but now it has the lowest BB/9 rate and opponents are only hitting .220 against them.
The Dodgers’ bullpen has similar numbers, with a 4.04 xFIP and .216 batting average against. Los Angeles’ relievers also do a fantastic job of not allowing hard contact, with the sixth-lowest hard hit percentage and the highest soft-contact percentage in MLB.
The Giants will have the advantage in the field with the sixth-best in defensive runs saved (DRS) rating and a 4.8 defensive rating on FanGraphs, while the Dodgers are 15th in DRS and rate at -15.9.
I think Gausman has a very distinct advantage over Gonsolin in the starting-pitching matchup. He’s had success in his two starts against the Dodgers this season and his nasty splitter should be able to keep one of the best offenses in baseball in check.
Since I have the Giants projected at -136 for the first five innings, I think there is some value on them at +104 (FanDuel) and would play it up to -115.
Pick: Giants First Five Innings +104 (play to -115)