Opening Day MLB Pick: Game Predictions For Giants vs. Dodgers

Author: Mansi


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The MLB is finally starting, albeit behind closed doors. It is clear to anyone how things have changed, especially while seeing players, coaches, and other staff wearing masks and taking extra precautions to stay a safe distance from each other. But this is in line with how the season itself has been shortened due to the pandemic. The stadiums are truly going to be empty, something that fans and players have never seen before. The sheer energy that comes from playing in the front of thousands of people is completely lost. 

But more than these seasonal changes, Madison Bumgarner’s absence is going to be the real shocker. He will not be taking the mound for the SF Giants this time around when they play their long-time rivals, the Dodgers. He’s moved to Arizona now, because of his free-agent status that let him sign on to play for the Diamondbacks.

Kershaw is in form for Opening Day.

The Dodgers won’t see any change in their line up - Clayton Kershaw is all set to play the hill for them this Opening Day, the ninth straight time during his career. He will go up against Johnny Cueto from the SF Giants, for whom this is the first opening day with the team and his first since the 2015 season with the Kansas City Royals. 

Everything points to the Dodgers this game. They are strong favorites for this game and for the whole season ahead of us. They’re right beside the Yankees in terms of odds to win the World Series this season. They are also expected to easily claim their 25th NL Pennant and to win the NL West for the eighth straight year. 

This is Kershaw’s 48th start against the Giants, and last year he didn’t fare too well against them. He was beaten by the Giants two out of three times last year. But his gameplay at home has been consistent - he went 10-2 in 16 games with an ERA of 2.89. But another thing to keep in mind is that he will be playing against several new players of the Giants for the first time. 

But the LA team as a whole has a roster that is deep enough to account for anything and everything. Some key players who will miss this season include David Price, who chose not to play this season. Kenley Jansen, who plays closer, will also be absent after he tested positive for the coronavirus recently. 

The SF Team has been Revamped.

Bumgarner is out of the team, and playing with Arizona this season. Bruce Bochy is also going to be missed after his loyalty for 13 whole seasons as a manager. His replacement has been Gabe Kapler, who was with the Philadelphia Phillies for the past two seasons. The team will look more different than ever not because it was completely rebuilt, but because the young players will be brought in to play. This is what puts them at the near bottom of the odds to win the NL West. 

Cueto couldn’t play for almost the whole of 2019’s season because he was recovering from surgery. He played four starts before the season ended, and his performance was average at best. One of his worst games last season was against the Dodgers - he only lasted for two innings, and got three homers. Johnny Beisbol has been more consistent and dependable, winning four of his last five starts with a 1.37 ERA. Buster Posey will not be there to help Cueto this time around, as he chose not to play this season.  

Which team to pick?

These two teams are rivals for a reason - they’ve met over 2,500 times in the history of regular seasons. The Dodgers will be looking to win for a fourth time straight in their season matchup. LA has a fairly decent win record of 12-19, but five of those were due to shutouts. The Dodgers are far ahead in the wins department overall, outpacing San Francisco 4.9-2.4.

This time, placing your bets also has to factor in the designated hitter that every team is going to use during the NL games. It might be a new thing we have to get used to, as it might be used even after the 2020 season. I think the best pick to make for this game, however, is to a run-line play on the Dodgers. They’ve done it very often in the recent past and Cueto’s weaknesses will be the downfall of the Giants.

 


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