NL West rivals collide in a series with huge Wild Card implications as the Arizona Diamondbacks (56-50) head west to kick off a three-game set against the San Francisco Giants (58-48). First pitch from Oracle Park is scheduled for 9:45 p.m. ET. Righty Ryne Nelson (6-5, 4.97 ERA) gets the ball for Arizona, while San Fran turns to Jakob Junis (3-3, 4.79).
The wind has come out of the D-backs’ sails after their dream first half. Arizona has dropped eight of 10 to fall out of a playoff spot, though they did just acquire Mariners closer Paul Sewald in a trade on Monday evening. Their road trip will continue this weekend with three games against the Minnesota Twins.
San Francisco had been scuffling themselves before pulling out two close wins against the Boston Red Sox over the weekend. The Giants now sit alone in the first NL Wild Card spot, a game clear of the Miami Marlins and Milwaukee Brewers. They’ll head across the bay for two games against the rival Oakland A’s this weekend.
The Giants enter as -145 favorites on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, with Arizona at +114. The run total is set at 8.5.
Diamondbacks-Giants picks: Monday, July 31
Out: SP Tommy Henry (elbow), 3B Evan Longoria (back), C Gabriel Moreno (shoulder), Zach Davies (back), RP Mark Melancon (shoulder)
Day to day: OF Mike Yastrzemski (hamstring), SP Anthony DeSclafani (flexor tendon), INF Thairo Estrada (wrist), RP John Brebbia (lat), OF Mitch Haniger (forearm), OF Luis Gonzalez (back)
Ryne Nelson vs. Jakob Junis
Nelson had been pitching well in the month of July, but he got hit hard his last time out, giving up five runs on eight hits in six innings against the St. Louis Cardinals. The righty has allowed three runs or fewer in seven of his last 10 outings, but when he gets hit, he can cough up a crooked number in a hurry — largely thanks to a fastball-heavy approach that doesn’t leave a ton of margin for error.
With the Giants wanting to give Alex Cobb an extra day’s rest, Junis will fill in to make his 28th appearance and first start of the year on Monday night. The righty has struggled mightily since the start of June, with a 5.74 ERA in 12 appearances, and given that he hasn’t thrown more than 62 pitches in that span this figures to be a bullpen game for San Francisco.
Despite their two wins, the Giants’ offense remained stuck in a rut over the weekend; none of their three games against Boston cleared this total. Nelson is good enough to have success against this depleted San Francisco lineup — both LaMonte Wade Jr. and Mike Yastrzemski have missed time with nagging injuries of late — while the Giants bullpen has done a surprisingly good job in these sorts of all-hands-on-deck situations this season. I’ll back the under.
Pick: Under 8.5
Arizona has the better pitcher on the mound in this spot, and while they’ve also struggled at the plate of late — they scored just six runs across three games this past weekend — Corbin Carroll and Co. should be able to provide Nelson with just enough run support. This should be far closer to a coin flip than the odds suggest, and I’ll take the D-backs as road ‘dogs.
Pick: D-backs +114