The San Francisco Giants host the Texas Rangers for a quick two-game interleague series starting on Monday. San Francisco is coming off an important series win against the San Diego Padres, pushing their lead in the National League West to 1½ games, with a 20-14 record.
The Rangers have been playing good baseball as well. They took two out of three against the Seattle Mariners and they have won five out of their last six games. Their Sunday victory put them at .500 for the first time since April 7 with an 18-18 record, which is good for fourth place in the American League West.
The Giants have been the surprise of baseball while the Rangers are getting healthy and are on a good winning run. This might be the most underrated series of the week, and checking the online sportsbook, the MLB betting line is San Francisco -147 with the total of seven juiced to the over.
Don’t Stop Believing
Coming into the season, the discussion of the NL West came down to the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres. The rest of the division was completely written off, including the Giants. San Francisco should not be this good. Their big names are older players past their prime, like Buster Posey and Evan Longoria. They do not have a stud pitcher whose presence on the mound evokes fear in the hitter, but here they are, the NL West leaders.
A valid criticism is that they have not played the best competition, as the Giants have the sixth-weakest schedule thus far. However, San Francisco is 5-4 in the season series against the Padres, and they won the three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Oracle Park was once known as a notorious pitcher-friendly stadium, but in 2019 and 2020, renovations were made that included shortening the dimensions of the park — and it shows. The Giants are tied with their Bay Area neighbor, the Oakland Athletics, with 46 home runs, the second-most in baseball.
After taking the 2020 season off, Buster Posey has come back with a vengeance and leads the team with eight home runs and 30 hits, despite having only the seventh most at-bats on the squad. Brandon Belt is following his bounce-back 2020 season by leading San Francisco with 19 RBIs and, while his .226 batting average is not impressive, his on-base percentage is at .354. The Giants have been able to take advantage of their weaker schedule, but the Rangers are not a team to look past because they come into this series on a roll.
Rangers Hitting Their Stride
Texas struggled to start the season, losing three of its first four games and having two separate four-game losing streaks. But the Rangers have been able to turn things around, sweeping the disappointing Minnesota Twins and winning a series against the Mariners. Texas is going to have to be at its best to compete with the Giants and the recipe for that is to continue to string together hits, like the team has been doing all season.
The Rangers are only two back of the Giants in team home runs with 44, but when it comes to average and hits, Texas has outpaced San Francisco. The Rangers have the fifth-highest team batting average with .248 and their 299 hits ranks third in baseball.
All of this hitting success has come despite their star slugger Joey Gallo not having a stellar start. The Rangers outfielder has a .229 batting with six home runs and 16 RBIs, but he does lead the team with a staggering 26 walks to give him a .381 OBP, also a team best. Gallo might be starting to get hot as he blasted two home runs in the Rangers’ 9-8 victory over the Mariners on Saturday.
While the Rangers are hitting a ton of home runs, they are also giving up a ton — a major league-worst 50 to be exact. Texas has had to hit the long ball in order to stay in games, but the Giants’ team pitching has been stingy and they are in the top six in ERA, opponent batting average, hits and home runs allowed. Both teams have shown that they can hit the ball well, but San Francisco has shown it can quiet explosive offenses.
That said, the Giants just lost to the Padres 11-1, the most runs they have given up all year. This could be a perfect moment for the Rangers to come in on Monday and repeat what San Diego did on Sunday. With Khris Davis returning from injury, that is another powerful bat that Texas can use to torture the Giants pitchers.
What’s the Bet?
The pitching might be overlooked when previewing the series, because both of these lineups can mash the ball, but Monday’s game is poised to be a pitchers’ duel with the Rangers’ Kyle Gibson taking on the Giants’ Alex Wood. Both starters have a 3-0 record and impressive ERAs, so the outlook is a low-scoring game. Tuesday’s matchup, however, is when the slugfest should take place, with Texas; Jordan Lyles and San Francisco’s Logan Webb each having ERA north of five. Add to the fact that it is also a day game by the Bay and we can anticipate the ball will be flying out of the park.
A series split is a serious possibility, but the Rangers are playing their best baseball and having their best pitcher out there for the opener should help them take the first game.
With the MLB series betting lines up, we like the underdog Rangers to steal the opener at +132.