What a pitching matchup we have in this one.
The defending NL Cy Young champ, Corbin Burnes, is taking on the current MLB leader in pitching fWAR, Carlos Rodon. The nation should be watching in earnest.
Who has the edge?
Read on for the starting lineups, betting odds, and my prediction for this Thursday’s matchup.
Milwaukee Brewers vs San Francisco Giants Odds
Vegas is pricing these two teams exactly even, although Milwaukee is priced slightly higher given they’re the road team.
Odds differ slightly across the books. Fox Bet has the Brewers as big as -118 favorites, while WynnBet has both teams at -105. But the consensus line is -110 on both sides.
If there was a game we’d get a total under 7, this is it. I’m not sure I project value on either side there.
We have to dig deeper to find the value here.
Milwaukee Brewers Starting Lineup
C. Burnes R
7-4 2.20 ERA
LF C. Yelich L
SS W. Adames R
DH A. McCutchen R
RF H. Renfroe R
3B M. Brosseau R
1B R. Tellez L
2B L. Urias R
C V. Caratini S
CF J. Davis R
Milwaukee Brewers vs Carlos Rodon
Rodon has had his struggles this season. But they’ve mostly come on the road.
- 2022 Rodon at home: 39 IP, 2.08 ERA, 2.65 xFIP, 12.92 K/9
- 2022 Rodon on the road: 61 IP, 3.10 ERA, 3.33 xFIP, 10.03 K/9
Put him on the mound in San Francisco and Rodon will shut down anybody. And I wouldn’t project any regression for him either, considering his ERA and xERA both sit at 2.70.
Nobody has a better four-seam fastball than Rodon, who compliments it well with a slider that forces a 40% whiff rate. He sets you up with the high heat and then gets you to miss with the breaking ball. The combo has combined to accumulate a -19 Run Value.
Rodon is coming off a complete-game gem where he used the combo to perfection, forcing a ridiculous 27 Whiffs en route to 12 strikeouts.
Rodon will face an abnormally average Brewers lineup. Milwaukee has enough bats to string together modest rallies but no one superstar can put an offense over the top (like Christian Yelich should’ve been). Eight of the Brewers’ regular nine-man lineup currently hold an OPS+ between 101 and 115.
Milwaukee hits for power well, with their .177 ISO ranking top-five. But the Brewers also rank 23rd in average this season and 15th in OBP. The Brewers need guys to be on base so those extra-base hits can drive guys home. A contact leadoff hitter would help the cause in Milwaukee.
San Francisco Giants Starting Lineup
C. Rodon L
8-5 2.70 ERA
RF L. Wade L
CF M. Yastrzemski L
LF J. Pederson L
3B W. Flores R
1B B. Belt L
SS B. Crawford L
2B T. Estrada R
DH L. Gonzalez L
C J. Bart R
San Francisco Giants vs Corbin Burnes
Burnes has mostly gone under the radar due to both voter fatigue and god-like performances from other NL aces (Rodon, Sandy Alcantara, Tony Gonsolin). Burnes also has only put together 2.6 fWAR so far this season, compared to the 3.7 put together by Rodon.
However, that shouldn’t take away from the season Burnes is putting together.
He’s posted a 2.20 ERA and pairs it with peripherals all under 3.00 (xERA, FIP, xFIP, SIERA). His strikeout rate is surprisingly down (11.34 K/9), and his walks are surprisingly up (2.20 BB/9). But that hasn’t affected his performance.
I am worried about this .243 BABIP. Burnes carries a career BABIP of .296, and the league average is about .300. More guys should get on base throughout the season.
But Burnes has as good of a profile as you can find in Baseball:
Image credit: Baseball Savant
He’ll look to exploit a Giants offense that is … pretty exploitable. Outside of Joc Pederson, there isn’t a scary bat on this roster. Plus, Mike Yastrzemski’s continuous regression into mediocrity after a hot start is very scary for Giant fans.
There are reasons the Giants are only two games above .500, and the lineup is a big one.
The other is the defense, which has been pathetic so far. And the leader of that defense, Brandon Crawford, has both regressed at short (14th percentile in Outs Above Average) and from behind the plate (81 OPS+).
It’s also tough that Burnes’ most used and most dangerous pitch is the cutter, as the Giants rank dead-last this season in Weighted Cutter Runs Created.
Milwaukee Brewers vs San Francisco Giants Pick & Prediction
My picks: Milwaukee Brewers ML (-105 at WynnBet)
The key here is going to be platoon splits, with how the Brewers can handle lefties and how the Giants can handle righties.
Over the past month and against southpaws, the Brewers have put together a whopping 120 wRC+ and a .770 OPS, both numbers which rank among the top-10 MLB teams during that stretch. They’re also walking 12% of the time, which trails only Philly during the time frame.
In the meanwhile, the Giants have posted just a 94 wRC+ against righties over the last month. They’ve walked a lot but are only slugging at a .364 rate, which ranks 24th during the stretch.
Given the trends, I’m looking to bet on the Brewers.
I wouldn’t project too much bullpen use here, but the Brewers have a significant advantage in that department. Milwaukee consistently puts together a top-five bullpen while the Giants rank just 23rd in reliever xFIP this season. Plus, if Burnes can put together a seven-inning performance, the back-end of Milwaukee’s bullpen is unhittable with Josh Hader anchoring.
I’ll take the Brewers at anything less than -115. If it gets higher than that, I may start looking San Francisco’s way.