Act two of baseballs Win-Or-Go-Home Wild Card round takes place Wednesday
night in Pittsburgh as the 88-74 Pirates and Edinson Volquez host Madison
Bumgarner and the 88-74 San Francisco Giants. The Pirates played much
better at home (51-30 – tied for best home record in the NL) than they did
on the road (37-44 – worst among playoff qualifying teams) and the scene at
PNC Park tonight will be just as frenzied as what took place last night at
Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. After the Royals improbable comeback win
in extra innings, this Wild Card knockout game will be one where the home
team will probably get a little more of the betting action than a regular
season match-up normally would. The crowd at KC seemed to will their team to
it’s 12 inning 9-8 come from behind victory and the lead-up to this NL playoff
game will focus a lot on the venue as being the Pirates big advantage.
Bettors love a good story and after last nights happy ending it will be tough to keep
them away from backing Pittsburgh tonight.
In his last 10 starts this season, the Pirates Volquez was 5-0 with a
1.36 ERA with only three home runs allowed in 66 innings pitched.
Current form is a big reason he was chosen to pitch this elimination
game. His ERA in Sept was 1.08 as he allowed opposing hitters a .182
batting average with 31Ks in 33.1 IP.
For the Giants, Madison Bumgarner gets the call and for a game on the road
in a hostile setting he is as good as any in the NL to get the job done.
In 18 road starts he went 11-4 with a 2.22 ERA as opposed to his 7-6 home
record with a 4.03 ERA. Splits like those are hard to figure and a lot of
the disparity must be chalked up to variance. Bum has historically been
a run lower at home vs on the road so this seasons significant split
should not be given an inordinate amount of weight in the handicap.
Another statistical spike on Bumgarner is his work at the plate this year.
With a .258 avg and 4 HRs in 66 ABs (best among MLB pitchers) Madisons 1 HR
per 16.5 ABs rank him in the top 10 vs all hitters this season above the likes
of Miguel Cabrera, Adam Dunn and Andrew McCutcheon. Prior to 2014 he had
2 HRs in 224 career ABs and hit .138. That’s a big jump in a small sample but
significant enough to upgrade Bum some as a hitter. However, assuming anything
other the a drop off in those 2014 numbers would be a big mistake. He is
decidedly better then the opposing Volquez at the plate though. Edinson
was 2 for 53 for a microscopic .037 BA in 2014 managing just two singles
all season. Even the pre-2014 Bumgarner is many times the hitter Volquez
is. Bookmaker/CRIS offers live betting on whether the next batter will get
a hit or not. Given Volquezs futility at the plate, a fair line would be
somewhere in the neighborhood of -2500 NO vs +1500 YES that he gets a hit.
That’s a real iffy bridge jumper bet. A better one would be to fade the
overachieving Bumgarner on his trips to the plate. A line based on his
2014 production would be approx -330 NO vs +250 YES and that would be
much more tempting unless one believes Bum has suddenly become a number
four hitter with 40HR power.
The line is SF -110/Pitt EV with a total of 6.5. The total has been bet
up the last 24 hours and an expected flow of Pirates money leading up
to game time would not be a surprise.
First pitch is scheduled for 5:05pm PT.