Daily Diamond Picks: An Affair with California

Jason FigueiredoCorrespondent IJuly 29, 2009

DENVER - JULY 24:  Starting pitcher Matt Cain #18 of the San Francisco Giants works against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on July 24, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. Cain earned the win as the Giants defeated the Rockies 3-1.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

As a way to jumpstart my road trip up to Reno tomorrow, I thought I would give out today’s Top 3 picks for all you money layers out there.

No. 1: Under 7.5 Giants/Pirates

This is probably the Giants fan in me speaking but Matt Cain will dominate and their offense will get just enough runs to squeak out a win.

Zach Duke takes the mound for the Bucs, which is always an adventure.  In his past ten starts, he has only been able to hold the opponent to less than three runs twice. 

Sounds promising for Giants hitters but since they have only averaged 2.8 runs per game over the past five days, thinking that they put more than four seems like wishful thinking.

Cain is 3-0 in his last five starts and posted a 1.23 ERA during that time span.  Pair that with an anemic Pirates offense (averaging 1.4 runs per game the past five games) and the possibility of short, quick innings shoots through the roof.

No. 2:  Cardinals (-115) over Dodgers

Once again, most likely the Giants fan in me speaking, but the Dodgers have looked terrible so far on this road trip and St. Louis seems to be getting stronger with each inning that passes.  

The Dodger faithful look to Clayton Kershaw to get them out of this current funk, who is the perfect candidate. He has a 0.90 ERA in his last five starts and the Dodgers are 8-2 in his past 10 starts. Sounds pretty good right…but wait, there’s more.

Unfortunately, they have to run into the buzz saw that is currently the Cardinals.  Not only is their offense going off (scoring six or more runs in their last five), but with Pinero on the mound they are behind a pitcher who won’t let runners on.

Pinero’s 0.81 WHIP in his last five starts should keep the Dodgers’ hitters at bay, allowing the Cardinals to scrape away at Kershaw, claiming the series.   

No. 3: Angels (-175) over Indians

Just to prove that I’m not a “LA Hatter”, I think the Angels should mop up on the disappointing Indians.

John Lackey has been simply amazing in his past five starts. His 4-1 record and 2.97 ERA has kept the Angels rolling, who are winners in 13 of their last 16 games.

Cleveland sends Aaron Laffey to the mound, who appears to be on the right track after his last start (7 IP, 0 ER 3 H).  But one outing doesn’t prove long-term growth…back-to-back great outings…perhaps.

We will see how long the taffy will stretch for Laffey when he goes up against an offense that ranks second or higher in runs, hits, RBI, batting average, and on base percentage amongst all teams in the league.