Cardinals vs. Giants Odds, Pick & Preview: Alex Cobb, San Francisco in Bounce-Back Spot Against Jordan Hicks, St. Louis (May 6)
Dustin Satloff/Getty Images. Pictured: Alex Cobb
- The Giants are favored to snap their losing streak at home tonight against the Cardinals.
- Alex Cobb takes the mound for San Francisco and will be opposed by Jordan Hicks for St. Louis.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Cardinals vs. Giants Odds
|Time||10:15 p.m. ET|
|Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
A return to Oracle Park wasn’t enough to propel the San Francisco Giants to victory on Thursday as they extended their losing streak to four games. What’s most concerning for Giants fans is how they’ve lost these games considering they haven’t scored more than one run in each of their past three contests. That’s very uncharacteristic of a Giants team with an above-average wRC+ value of 102 on the season.
Tonight’s matchup will feature two right-handers who’ve experienced somewhat unique starts to the season. Jordan Hicks is back on the mound to make another start as the Cardinals hope that pitching him every fifth day will help the former reliever recover better and avoid injuries. San Francisco will counter with Alex Cobb, who failed to make it out of the first inning in his last outing after giving up five runs (one earned) against the Nationals.
While Cobb didn’t have much luck in his recent start, his underlying numbers aren’t as bad as you think. I’ll share my thoughts on why I think he’s poised to turn things around sooner rather than later.
Cardinals Hopeful For Hicks
This season, the St. Louis Cardinals are desperate to get something out of Hicks. Since 2019, the flame-throwing right-hander appeared in just 44 games due to injuries. Hicks routinely averaged over 100 mph on his fastball, and that kind of arm speed is something you can’t teach. Although this is a first for him in a major league rotation, he did spend the majority of his minor league career as a starter.
Friday will mark Hicks’ fourth start of the year and sixth appearance. He’s currently 1-2 with a 3.65 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. One area that’s been a concern throughout his career is his command. He has a career 5.18 BB/9 ratio and has a 5.84 BB/9 mark this season.
Hicks will be up against a Giants team that ranks 12th with a walk rate of 9%. While I expect the Cardinals to continue to bring him along slowly, he doesn’t strike me as a starter who can pitch particularly deep in a ballgame. If you put aside his ERA and look at his advanced numbers, you’ll find that his 5.27 xERA and 5.28 FIP points to some regression.
Should Hicks continue to struggle with his command, I’d expect the Cardinals’ bullpen will be called into action reasonably early. St. Louis might have to turn to other relievers to get critical outs as two of their best pitchers, Jake Woodford and Kodi Whitley, have thrown at least 27 pitches in the past three days.
Giants’ Cobb Should Find Better Results
An error and three walks led to Cobb throwing 40 pitches and facing 10 batters in the first inning of his last outing. Through three starts, he’s 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.90 WHIP. However, a closer look reveals that Cobb’s been more effective than what his traditional numbers portray. The veteran right-hander has a 12.60 K/9 ratio, which would be a career-high. Moreover, his 1.48 xERA and 1.80 FIP suggest there should still be some reason for optimism.
Cobb has yet to allow a home run this year, and his 3.67 GB/FB ratio is also a career-high. The problem is that batters tend to find holes whenever they put the ball in play. For example, hitters currently have a .452 BABIP against Cobb, which simply isn’t sustainable. This is a classic buy-low scenario with Cobb and the Giants, and I imagine that he’ll be much fresher in this start following his early exit five days ago.
Offensively San Francisco should have a decent shot to snap out of its funk against Hicks since he’s predominantly a fastball pitcher (62%). That should take away much of the guesswork at the plate as the Giants are 4.1 runs above average when facing a fastball.
I think the Giants are due to snap this losing streak as I’d still give Cobb the edge on the mound despite his recent struggles. He should be able to provide the Giants with some additional length because their bullpen’s been quite busy recently.
Per RotoWire’s bullpen usage, San Francisco currently has four pitchers who’ve thrown at least 30 pitches over the past three days. However, the Giants avoided using their best relievers because they’ve rarely had a lead to protect during this recent skid.
Historically, the Giants have done well to limit the damage when on a losing streak, as our BetLabs database shows that since 2005, they’re 87-77 for 15.12 units after losing four or more straight games.
I did even more digging and found that during the same timeframe, the Giants are a perfect 5-0 when coming off a three-game streak with just one run in each contest. That’s certainly a trend I can get behind, so I’ll look to play San Francisco at -125 for a half-unit.
I would play this number up to -130.
Pick: half-unit Giants ML (-125)