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Thursday MLB Padres vs. Giants Odds, Preview, Prediction: Back Gausman, San Francisco to Bounce Back (Sept. 16)

Thursday MLB Padres vs. Giants Odds, Preview, Prediction: Back Gausman, San Francisco to Bounce Back (Sept. 16) article feature image

Norm Hall/Getty Images. Pictured: Kevin Gausman #34 of the San Francisco Giants.

  • The Padres and Giants wrap up a series Thursday afternoon in San Francisco.
  • The Giants are favored with their ace, Kevin Gausman, taking the mound.
  • Continue reading for the full betting breakdown as well as a prediction.

Padres vs. Giants Odds

Padres Odds +160
Giants Odds -190
Over/Under 7.5
Time 2:45 p.m. ET
TV MLB Network
Odds as of Thursday and via DraftKings

The Padres snapped a five-game losing streak with a 9-6 victory to keep their playoff hopes alive on Wednesday. San Diego rode the arm of its best pitcher with Joe Musgrove on the mound while the Giants went with an opener.

Both teams will switch roles on Thursday as the Giants will start ace Kevin Gausman while the Padres will utilize Pierce Johnson as an opener.

In baseball, it isn’t easy to find an adequate substitute for a quality starter. That was evident in Wednesday’s game, and we could see a similar outcome in the series finale.

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San Diego Padres

Johnson’s start will be his 57th appearance for the Padres this season. He’s 3-3 with a 2.98 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP. His advanced numbers do point to some regression, as evidenced by his 3.64 xERA and 3.65 xFIP.

The only other time Johnson started a game was on Aug. 24 against the Dodgers, and he surrendered a run en route to a 5-2 Padres loss. He only pitched one inning in the game and hasn’t pitched more than 1 1/3 innings this season. Thus, we really can’t expect him to complete two innings of work in the game.

If we look at San Diego’s relief pitching as a whole, it’s ranked fourth in the league with a 3.34 ERA. However, its 4.07 xFIP is more than a half-run higher, so perhaps it’s also been a bit fortunate this season.

And if we glance at the numbers over the last 30 days, the regression has already begun as the Padres’ bullpen has the third-highest ERA at 5.27 with a 4.90 xFIP.

My model accounts for the expected innings of the relievers, and since they’ll likely need to pick up at least eight innings, it’ll take quite an effort to have a chance at stymieing the Giants.

It’s evident that this isn’t an optimal scenario for the Padres, but they don’t have much of a choice due to recent injuries to starters Blake Snell and Chris Paddack. The Padres are also without starters Adrian Morejon and Mike Clevinger, who are both recovering from Tommy John surgery. They also have as many as eight relievers currently on the injury list.

San Francisco Giants

There’s still plenty to play for if you’re the Giants because Wednesday’s loss dropped their divisional lead to just 1.5 games over the Dodgers. While San Francisco went 9-1 over its last ten games, Los Angeles was almost as good as it won eight of ten games during that span.

The Giants will look to get back in the win column with Gausman on the mound. This season has easily been his best given his 14-5 record with a 2.65 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP. Although, his advanced numbers do point to some regression, evidenced by his 3.36 xERA and 3.32 xFIP.

Gausman did allow three runs in each of his last two starts, but the Giants managed to win both games comfortably. Either way, an ERA that’s around three would certainly still be considered above average.

Gausman’s had success this season by increasing the usage of his splitter. He’s throwing it 35.3% of the time, which is up from 27.7% last season. It’s a pitch that’s done remarkably well for him in his career, but I counted five seasons where he only used it about 20% of the time.

The highest average for opposing hitters against the pitch was .237 in 2019, but he’s had five seasons where he’s held them under .200.

This season, hitters are batting .131 against Gausman’s splitter with an xBA of .144, an xSLG of .190, and an xWOBA of .176. It’s been a devastating pitch for him as it has a put-away rate of 29.3% and a whiff rate of 44.9%. Note that his splitter averages around 83.5 mph. That’s a nice contrast to his fastball at 94.5 mph.

Both pitches complement one another as his FanGraphs Pitch Info rates his splitter to be 16.7 runs above average and his four-seam fastball at 15.9 runs above average.

This start will be his fourth against the Padres this season as he went 2-0 in those outings, allowing just one earned run in each game. Overall, in five career appearances and four starts against the Padres, he’s 2-0 with a 2.22 ERA.

Padres-Giants Pick

Gausman’s been just as good or even better against the Padres than how he’s fared against the rest of the league. In 122 at-bats, he’s limited San Diego’s current lineup to a .254/.283/.361 line.

Perhaps more importantly, he’s been able to cut off their power supply as they have just a .107 ISO against him. That could continue again on Thursday, given his 0.79 HR/9 ratio.

The Giants have the clear edge in this pitching matchup, with Gausman going up against Johnson. As a result, I see no reason to jump off the San Francisco bandwagon after one loss.

By now, the Giants are the worst kept secret in baseball as they were 95-51 and netted over 32 units with a 22.4% ROI.

 Some sportsbooks have the Giants as high as -200, but DraftKings has yet to move their number from -190.

I’ll go ahead and lock San Francisco in at that price because this number’s only going to get higher as we get closer to the first pitch.

Pick: Giants ML (-130)

Author’s Note: Due to some late line movement that pushed the Giants’ moneyline from -130 to -190, I would no longer recommend the Giants’ moneyline at long odds, but would instead recommend grabbing the first five run line -0.5 at -130 odds.

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