The LA Dodgers travel to St. Louis to begin a three game set against the Cardinals. Find out who the odds makers are favoring and where we have decided to place our MLB picks.
Who says the baseball playoffs
don't start until October?
A pair of National League playoff
contenders square off to begin the week in an all-important series, and if you
keep your dial on SBRforum.com, you can catch previews and picks for all four
games. Feel free to follow or fade, or
do both the next four days.
Anytime the Los Angeles Dodgers and
St. Louis Cardinals get together, it's good baseball. Their second of three series this season is
certainly no exception, and if you want to guarantee that SBR brings me back
for their 4-game set in mid-September out in LA, I'm told we need 10 facebook
'shares' along with 10 "you suck" messages in the comments section
below this week to make that happen.
The next four days in St. Louis should take on
a bit of a postseason atmosphere as the Dodgers arrive with both clubs trying
to hunt down division leaders, as well as stay close in the chase for the two
NL wild cards. The Redbirds are third in
the NL Central five games behind front-running Cincinnati,
and 4.5 behind Pittsburgh
at the top of the current wild card ranks. Los Angeles is just 1.5 back of San Francisco in the NL
West and a mere half-game south of the Pirates for the wild card lead.
Monday's series opener has seen
movement on the MLB odds away from the favored Cardinals. St.
Louis started out around -140 chalk, but the moneyline
has dipped to -130 and even a few pennies lower. The total remains where it opened at 9 runs,
but pricing has shifted from favoring the UNDER to leaning OVER (-120).
Now before we get to the pitching
matchup for Game 1, one facet of this head-to-head battle I'd like to discuss
is how the Dodgers and Cards have run in streaks against each other over the
seasons. Los Angeles
swept three from St. Louis
at Chavez Ravine in mid-May to run the current string of dubyas in this series
to seven. The Cardinals had a 7-game
streak in their favor before that, and were 15-3 at home until the Dodgers
swept them at Busch in Aug. 2011.
Los Angeles will try and extend its current
streak against the Cards to eight behind Monday's starter Chad Billingsley; St.
Louis counters with rookie Joe Kelly, and neither hurler has posted a win on
their personal ledgers since mid-to-late June.
Billingsley is coming off the DL for
elbow inflammation to make his first start since before the break. Each of his five games prior to being shut
down went into the loss column, and the Cards have given him trouble in the
past. He worked six innings against them
in LA back in May, allowing five runs (3 earned) along with four walks. Billingsley didn't factor in the decision,
avoiding the loss thanks to a 3-run pinch-hit homer by Scott Van Slyke after he
Kelly has been pitching pretty well
his last four starts, each a quality effort and his ERA at 2.25 in that
span. Yet the Redbirds are just 1-3 due
to some shoddy fielding (3 unearned runs in the four games) and the offense
unable to come up with a key hit or two to turn the results around. Monday will be the first time Dodgers hitters
have faced Kelly.
Both teams are coming off weekend
sweeps; the Cardinals acting as rude hosts to the hapless Chicago Cubs while
the Dodgers were brooming the Mets in New
biggest difference in the two series was how the bullpens were worked for each
club. The Cubs scored just one time against
St. Louis pitching, and Mike Matheny's relief corps remains fresh with all
hands on deck for Game 1.
Don Mattingly's bullpen was worked
hard in New York,
however, and LA could be without both Javy Guerra and Josh Lindblom after
extended outings on Sunday. Guerra
appeared in three of the Dodgers' previous four games while Lindblom worked
four of the last five.
The bullpen factor is the primary
reason I'm going to make my play on the home team Monday. St.
Louis -130 will be my baseball pick for the night.
pick: Cardinals -130