Sunday MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Astros vs. Giants: Pitching Should Take Spotlight in Clash (August 1)

Sunday MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Astros vs. Giants: Pitching Should Take Spotlight in Clash (August 1) article feature image

Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Logan Webb.

  • The Houston Astros take on the San Francisco Giants in Sunday's Major League Baseball action.
  • Luis Garcia and Logan Webb will face off on the mound for these sides, who boast two of baseball's best offenses.
  • Tanner McGrath details below why he expects a low-scoring game.

Astros vs. Giants Odds

Astros Odds-105
Giants Odds-115
Over/Under8.5 (+100/-120)
Time4:05 p.m. ET
Odds as of Saturday evening via DraftKings.

As the Houston Astros and San Francisco Giants prepare for Sunday's highly anticipated rubber match, the thing catching my eye is the pitching showdown.

In my opinion, these are two of the most underrated hurlers in Major League Baseball this season. Luis Garcia has been a life saver for the Astros' rotation, while Logan Webb has overperformed expectations in his role behind Kevin Gausman and Anthony DeSclafani.

Unfortunately, these pitchers will be battling two of the game's hottest offenses. And how hot are they? Houston and San Francisco have combined for 29 runs in the first two games of this series.

So, who has the edge in this series-defining game? Let's take a look.

Houston Astros

While he’s pitching at an elite level, the best part about Garcia’s game is his wind-up:

I think Luis Garcia has a fun wind-up.

Post your best Garcia wind-up impression below. I dare you.

— Michael Schwab (@michaelschwab13) September 10, 2020

Usually following that fun stutter step is either a four-seamer or cutter. Despite the low velocity (93.4 mph average four-seamer; 86 mph average cutter), the pitches are keeping exit velocities way down. They're sitting at 1.6 mph average exit velocity on the four-seam and 82.3 mph average on the cutter.

Predictably, the cutter is where Garcia makes his money. Behind that obscenely low exit velocity, opponents are batting just .136 with a .199 wOBA off the pitching and whiffing 46.9% of the time. Garcia's allowed just 12 hits on 329 cutters thrown this season.

All in all, Garcia has a 3.19 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP over 96 innings in 17 starts this year (5 2/3 innings per start). Plus, his 3.45 xERA and 3.79 xFIP show he’s not due for too much regression.

It also helps that Garcia is backed up by baseball's best offense. The Astros' 119 wRC+ means the lineup's producing runs at a 19% better rate than the rest of the league, which includes a whopping 6% better rate than second-place Toronto.

Curiously, despite Garcia pitching so well and the Astros providing 5.19 runs of support per start, Houston is just 9-10 in his starts. However, Houston did acquire some bullpen depth at the deadline to help get Garcia and the lineup some extra wins.

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San Francisco Giants

Webb has tossed three consecutive high-quality starts, allowing just four earned runs over his past 15 innings. After facing the Dodgers on back-to-back outings, you’d think Webb would get a big step down in competition in his next start.

Sadly for Webb, he gets one of the few offenses that can go toe to toe with Los Angeles. However, I actually think he's up for the challenge.

After two seasons of posting an ERA above 5.00 and a WHIP north of 1.50, Webb has notched a 3.36 ERA, 3.11 xFIP and 1.19 WHIP in his 13 starts this season. The big change Webb has made is swapping out his four-seam usage for a combination of a sinker, changeup and slider:

This three-pitch, softball mix has produced low exit velocities (87.1 mph average) and hard-hit rates (34.6%) from opposing hitters this year. Of the pitches, his slider has been the most effective, with guys batting just .119 with a .161 wOBA on the pitch.

Webb averages a little more than five innings per start, but it’s all the San Francisco offense and bullpen has needed from him. The Giants win a lot, but they're an impressive 11-3 in Webb’s starts.

In its pursuit to win more games, San Francisco bolstered its veteran-heavy lineup by adding veteran Kris Bryant. He isn’t having the best season of his career, but he’s smacked 18 home runs and recorded 51 RBIs with a 133 OPS+ during his campaign.

San Francisco’s 106 wRC+ this season is fifth best in baseball, but you could always use another bat. The Giants have a 3.5-game lead in the NL West, but it should prove difficult to hold off the Dodgers and Padres. It goes without saying Bryant will help in that quest.

Astros-Giants Pick

These are two of MLB's top five offenses this season and the wind will be blowing directly out of Oracle Park at 10+ miles per hour.

Yet, I heavily believe in this pitching matchup. Despite their season-long performances, I think Garcia and Webb are still undervalued in the market and the total of 8.5 runs seems a bit high.

Additionally, there’s an under leaning umpire calling the game in Fieldin Culbreath, who is 245-227 to the under (51.9%, +12.85 units) lifetime.

With just 33% of the bets and 65% of the money on the under, it’s clear under 8.5 runs is the best bet. While you can still snag it at even money on DraftKings, I’d happily play it at -110 or better.

Pick: Under 8.5 (+100) — Play to -110

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