Los Angeles Angels vs. San Francisco Giants
Tuesday, June 1, 2021 – 9:45 PM ET at Minute Maid Park
● Angels: Andrew Heaney (2-3, 5.24 ERA)
● Giants: Alex Wood (5-2, 2.44 ERA)
Stakes of the Matchup
In arguably the biggest surprise this season, the San Francisco Giants are in first place in the NL West with a 34-20 record despite being projected to win around 75 games this season. They have built a competitive roster by having several overperforming veteran starting pitchers, and a decent lineup.
In an interleague matchup, they host a struggling Los Angeles Angels team. The Angels have a 24-30 record and are without their best player OF Mike Trout due to an injury. Additionally, they might be without Shohei Ohtani in their lineup as he is primarily a DH.
Even though about a third of the season has been played, the best way to evaluate if a team has played well is in their run differential. The Angels have a -43 run differential which is the 5th worst in baseball. On average they lose each game by .8 runs. Even though they have a 24-30 record, their Pythagorean expected record is 22-32.
Opposing the Houston Astros are the Los Angeles Dodgers who are in second place in the NL West. The Dodgers like the Astros are the best team in their division even though they do not have the best record.
The Giants are a different story, because their lineup averages 4.83 runs per game they have a great run differential. Currently, San Francisco has a +69 run differential which is the third best in the league. On average, the Giants win each game by 1.28 runs. That is why it should be no surprise that they are heavy favorites for Tuesday night’s game.
Both teams are relying on starting pitchers tonight who have been surprises this season. For the Angels they are relying on Andrew Heaney who has been a disappointment, and for the Giants, they are relying on Alex Wood who has been a pleasant surprise.
Andrew Heaney is a hard pitcher to analyze this season. Heaney has a 2-3 record with a 5.24 ERA. However, Heaney also has a 3.76 xFIP, and a strikeout rate of 11.08 strikeouts per nine innings. He certainly is giving up many runs but based on more advanced metrics he should be allowing only a modest amount of runs per game.
Even though Heaney has been unlucky this season, he should have a tough time against San Francisco’s lineup. Former NL MVP C Buster Posey for example is having a strong season even though it looked like he was at the tail end of his career. Other Giants who are doing better than expected are 3B Evan Longoria, and SS Brandon Crawford.
Opposing Heaney is Alex Wood for the Giants. After lackluster 2020 and 2019 seasons, Wood is having the best year of his career. Currently Wood has a 5-2 record with a 2.44 ERA. Even when you look at his “nerd stats” he is having a good season as he has a 0.7 WAR, and a 2.92 xFIP. He should regress over the course of the season, but the Giants deserve to be favored with him on the mound.
San Francisco is appropriately a -150 favorite, and as a result, neither team is worth betting on. However, with such a low run total, there is some value with the over.
The Angels lineup is hurt by the absence of Mike Trout and potentially the absence of Shoehi Ohtani. However, they still should score about four runs on a typical night. When you combine this with San Francisco’s lineup at least seven runs should be scored and maybe more. Most books have the total set at seven runs, but there is more value in getting the extra half run at DraftKings at -124.
MLB Pick: Over 6.5 Runs (-124) at DraftKings