After a homer-happy weekend in Mexico City, the San Francisco Giants now head (slightly) north for an interleague matchup against the Houston Astros. First pitch from Minute Maid Park is set for 8:10 p.m. ET. Ross Stripling (0-1, 6.89) will start for San Francisco, while Luis Garcia (2-2, 4.00) gets the ball for Houston.
The Astros are currently -180 favorites on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Giants are +155 underdogs. The run total is set at 8.5.
Giants-Astros picks: Monday, May 1st
Day to day: OF Mike Yastrzemski (hamstring), SS Brandon Crawford (calf)
Out: UTIL Darin Ruf (wrist), SP Alex Wood (hamstring)
Out: OF Michael Brantley (shoulder), 2B Jose Altuve (thumb), OF Chas McCormick (back)
Ross Stripling vs. Luis Garcia
Stripling was great in Toronto last year, but he’s struggled to bring that form with him in his first season by the Bay. The righty is giving up some of the hardest contact in the Majors — sitting in the bottom five percent of all pitchers in expected batting average, expected slugging percentage and barrel rate — and as a result he’s been shuffled between the rotation and the bullpen of late.
Stripling’s changeup has long been his put-away pitch, but it’s generating far fewer swings and misses this season with an expected slugging percentage of .566 — which puts far more pressure on his pedestrian low-90s fastball. He hasn’t made it through even four innings in any of his last four appearances, and that could put pressure on a very bad Giants bullpen.
Garcia, meanwhile, is on a roll after a slow start to the season, with 13 scoreless innings over his last two outings. The difference? He’s throwing his cutter more than ever, largely at the expense of his four-seamer, and it’s allowed him to induce far more weak contact than he was previously. The righty has also upped his strikeout rate to a career-high 27.2%.
The Giants have actually been a pretty dangerous offense against right-handed pitching this season, with the second-highest OPS in baseball — just ask Joe Musgrove and Yu Darvish about this past weekend. With lefties LaMonte Wade Jr., Joc Pederson and Michael Conforto alongside righties like Thairo Estrada and J.D. Davis who have no real platoon split, this is a sneakily deep lineup, and they should hold up their end of the bargain while the Astros get to feast on a struggling Stripling.
Pick: Over 8.5
Stripling has been too shaky to trust so far this year, and his inability to go deep into games means that Houston will be able to tee off on the underbelly of a Giants bullpen that currently has the third-highest ERA in baseball.