The Dodgers are coming off a win over the Cubs Friday in which every member of the team contributed a hit except for Luis Cruz and starter Chad Billingsley. Billingsley, however, contributed by pitching a nearly flawless game, giving up just 1 run on 4 hits in 7 innings.
Pitching matchupMLB odds makers have installed the Dodgers as -280 favorites
with a 6.5 total. One reason for such high odds is the fact that L.A. will be starting Clayton Kershaw (8-6, 2.95) and he'll be facing winless starter Chris Volstad (0-7, 7.94). Although Volstad is a pitching disaster, anything can happen in a professional baseball game, and Kershaw has been far from perfect himself. I would stay away form the moneyline on both sides.
In his last 10 starts, Volstad has been consistent in a manner of speaking
; he hasn't given up more than 6 runs but hasn't given up fewer than 3 runs either. It's going to take a strong performance from the inferior Cubbies to outscore Los Angeles and crack the Kershaw code.
Clayton Kershaw has been somewhat inconsistent himself, however. In his last 10 starts, he's pitched 7 "quality starts," but got shelled by the St.Louis Cardinals just 2 starts ago. In his last start, Kershaw pitched a complete game 5-hitter against the Dodgers biggest foes, the San Francisco Giants
Obviously, the Dodgers have a major pitching edge, but the odds aren't desirable.Pitching around Kemp
Having Hanley Ramirez hitting behind Matt Kemp changes the entire dynamic of this team. Although Andre Either fit that role well, teams are no longer able to avoid throwing to Kemp with the new additions to the team.
Victorino is a born leadoff hitter who is dangerous on the basepaths. Shane has had a rough time with the Dodgers so far, going just 1 for 8, but his past production and 25 stolen bases speak for themselves. He's a player who gets the big hit.
Ramirez, on the other hand, was once known as one of the best leadoff hitters in the National League. He now looks to regain the touch. Thus far, he's hitting a respectable .257 with 1 HR and 10 RBI in 9 games for Los Angeles.
These two players will be key during the playoff drive and against teams that they should beat such as the Cubs.LeHair and Soriano
The Cubs have some formidable hitters on their squad as well, but Starlin Castro is a career 0 for 10 hitter against Clayton Kershaw while Anthony Rizzo is just 3 for 15 against the Dodgers for his career.
The Cubs will be looking for support from slugger Alfonso Soriano, who's a lifetime 3 for 8 with 2 HR and 2 RBI and Brian LeHair who's a career .385 in 4 games against Los Angeles.Outcome of the game
The Dodgers are the obvious selection here coming off of yesterday's convincing victory. However, the odds are very high and Clayton Kershaw has proven to be hittable. Take Los Angeles and the run line
. The Cubs are an awful 16-37 on the road and this is poor spot for them.Pick
: L.A Dodgers -1.5 -125