The Milwaukee Brewers begin the second half of the Major League season with a home series against the San Francisco Giants starting Friday night. The Brewers currently sit a half-game behind the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central, while the Giants are in last place in the National League West, 17.5 games behind the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers.
This game will feature a pitching battle of Andersons — San Francisco’s Shaun Anderson and Milwaukee’s Chase Anderson. Besides having the same last name, both players are right-handed and feature nearly identical stats for the season, with the Giants’ Anderson currently 3-2 with a 4.23 ERA, having given up 61 hits, while the Brewers’ Anderson is 4-2 with a 4.32 ERA, having given up 64 hits.
The moneyline for this contest has the San Francisco Giants +165 and the Milwaukee Brewers -180. The over/under for the game has been set at 9.5.
Shaun Anderson will make his 11th start of the season in Friday’s game, and he’d like to make it his first of the season in which he didn’t give up at least two earned runs. The rookie hasn’t been overpowering in his first Major League season, striking out 32 in 55 1/3 innings of work. While he likely doesn’t have to think about being traded, San Francisco relievers may be auditioning for possible deals from now until the end of July, as the Giants will likely be looking to build for the future.
San Francisco won six of its last seven games before the All-Star break, mainly because the team’s offense woke up, averaging 6.1 runs over that span. Veteran Evan Longoria — potentially a trade option — has heated up, hitting five of his team-high 12 home runs over the last six games. Kevin Pillar is tied with Longoria for the team lead with 12 home runs, and he also leads the Giants with a .256 batting average and 47 RBI.
Milwaukee is in a season-long fight with the Cubs for National League Central supremacy, but they’re not alone. The entire division is all within 4.5 games of first place, so a few losses in a row could result in a drastic drop in the standings. Chase Anderson will make his 13th start and 18th appearance of the season trying to prevent that drop. Anderson has won just once since the end of May, going 1-2 over that span of seven starts.
The Brewers dropped five of six prior to the All-Star break, so they need to hit the reset button as they start the second half. The man who leads the Brewers’ offense, Christian Yelich, needs to try to get his power stroke back, as he has just two of his 31 home runs since June 21, a span of 13 games. Yelich leads Milwaukee in home runs, batting average (.329), RBI (67), hits (100) and runs scored (66), and when he gets hot, it usually becomes contagious throughout the Brewers’ lineup.
Milwaukee Wins Opener
There will be a sense of urgency from the Brewers coming into this series. They didn’t finish the first half strong, and they know they need to get wins any time they play a last-place team if they’re going to stay in the NL Central race. San Francisco, unfortunately, is going to be a little distracted with potential trades over the next few weeks. I’m taking Milwaukee -180 to get the win Friday.