The Milwaukee Brewers (27-24) welcomed the San Francisco Giants (25-25) to Wisconsin on Thursday for the first of four games. San Francisco clearly felt welcomed, taking the series opener 5-0. They felt even more welcomes in the second game as the Giants romped 15-1. Both clubs have their eyes on the playoffs and work to do to get there. Their respective journeys will continue at 4:10 p.m. EDT, with American Family Field welcoming fans for the game. Let's see what's in store for this one.
Taking Giant Steps ForwardBetween May 15 and May 26, San Francisco went 9-2, which put them one game over .500 at 26-25. Now they need to stay over the hump and sustain it, as the NL West is still open for them to take from the rival Dodgers. If they pitch as well as they did over those 11 games, they may pose a real threat. As a team, they allowed 30 runs over that stretch, with a 2.53 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. Their bullpen, one of MLB's worst, buckled down a bit. With Logan Webb starting this one, the Giants' relievers may not even touch the mound. Webb has a 2.91 ERA this season thanks to a K/BB that's fourth in the NL. He's only allowed four runs and one long ball through 27.2 innings in May. If Webb consistently got run support, his record would be much better than the 3-5 it is now.
Car insurance 🚗 pic.twitter.com/or5kIJOUIn— SFGiants (@SFGiants) May 26, 2023
Barring two games, the two losses, San Francisco's offense has been reliable for at least four runs per game during that 11-game stretch also. They're only 20th in runs per game this season, and 25th this month, but their bats appear to be waking up. Consistent offensive production will always be an issue with how the Giants lineup is configured though. They hit a lot of homers, ranking sixth in that department, but are also 29th in strikeout rate. Some days will be ugly, and others will be a dream.
The NL Central's First-Place CurseMilwaukee has spent plenty of time atop the NL Central, but it seems as if they begin losing every time they can create distance. The Pirates have remained on their heels as a result, along with the rest of the division creeping into striking distance. Scoring has been an issue for the Brew Crew too, as only three teams are putting up fewer runs per game in May than Milwaukee. They've fallen to 24th for the season at 4.1 per contest, pending Friday night's results. Like the Giants, the Brewers hit home runs (11th), but their strikeout rate is alarming (27th). Milwaukee is better at stealing bases than San Fran, but worse at getting on base.
Pitching has done Milwaukee's heavy lifting this month, and there are few pitchers that MLB GMs would take over Corbin Burnes, the starter in this game. His last outing was rough, but Burnes' three home starts before that saw him toss 17.0 innings and allow four runs (three earned). His walk rate, strikeout rate, and chase rate have all dipped drastically this season, but his track record suggests that he'll figure it out. Even now, he's still an above-average MLB pitcher.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
This game should be tight, with two fantastic starting pitchers on the mound. It could truly go either way. However, the San Francisco Giants are playing much better right now, so I'm going to stick with the hot hand. The Giants' offense has been more reliable lately, although that's a low bar to clear, and their bullpen seems stable right now. In a pitcher's duel, San Francisco sneaks away with a win.
Full-Game Total Pick
Logan Webb has been dealing this season for the Giants, especially in May. He's also displayed excellent command, which could give a high-strikeout Milwaukee lineup fits. San Francisco's lineup also strikes out a ton, and Corbin Burnes has been one of the game's top strikeout artists throughout his career. Both Milwaukee and San Francisco have been among the worst offenses in the majors in May, and that should continue against two tough pitchers. Runs will be scarce on Saturday.