Pitching has been the dominant theme for the Marlins and Dodgers this weekend and with LA ace Clayton Kershaw facing unbeaten Ricky Nolasco in today’s finale, there’s a good chance for another low scoring affair.
The Dodgers took the series opener on Friday 3-2
with the Fish bouncing back last night for a 6-1 victory. This afternoon’s
rubber match is as good as it gets from a pitching standpoint.
Kershaw (5-3, 2.96) is among the National League
leaders in strikeouts with 77. Nolasco (4-0, 3.04) has six no decisions He’s
been perfect on the road going 3-0 with a 3.49 ERA but is 0-1 with a 5.65 ERA
against the Dodgers.
Kershaw, who is 3-1 at Dodger Stadium this year
opened on the MLB odds boards as a -135 favorite with the total at 6.5. At 23-30 overall and 12-14 at
home, the Dodgers are one of the best fade teams in baseball ranking just ahead
of the Rockies, Twins and Astros in earnings.
Don Mattingly’s team is -977 on
the money line including -574 at home. Their run line record of 21-32 has
resulted in a loss -1433. Add it up and you’ve got losses of -2598 units and
with 109 games remaining they’ve got a chance for some serious negative
The Los Angeles Dodgers problems are many. Major League Baseball
is on the verge of taking over the Dodgers any day. Owner Frank McCourt
continues to beg, borrow and steal to meet payroll. There’s the long running McCourt
divorce trial and oh by the way his team isn’t very good.
Outside of Kershaw, Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp, the
Dodgers are either too old, too young or in most cases way overpaid. They’ve
got some promising young players on the big league roster like Jerry Sands,
Rubby De La Rosa, Kenley Jansen and Javy Guerra.
They’ve also got some over-the-hill
veterans who need to go like Rafael Furcal and Casey Blake. Outside of Kershaw
and Chad Billingsley any of the Dodger pitchers, Jonathan Broxton included are
trade bait, the point I’m trying to make is that if the Dodgers are going to
lose 90 games, which they will, why not lose with home-grown products. If
you’ve got a minor league operation like McCourt does why not play the minor
leaguers and try to build a new foundation for the future.
of no return
I saved the worst for last. Dodger Stadium. It
doesn’t matter if the police chief tells you there are 50,000 or 100,000
officers on duty at the ballpark it still won’t matter. The beating of Giants
fan Bryan Stow on opening day planted an image in the hearts and minds of
Southern California baseball fans, a visual that’s hard to shake. They’ve come
to the realization that Dodger Stadium is nothing more than glorified gang
hangout and no amount of public
relations generated security spin will change it. Perception is reality and the
perception is that you take your life in your hands when you enter Chavez
If all of this seems to be off topic for a baseball
preview it really isn’t. In most organizations the players are oblivious to
what’s going on off the field. But that’s not the case in LA. As the losses
mount and the attendance drops, then the concession stand isn’t the only place
you’ll find Dodger Dogs.
With last night’s win,
the Florida Marlins are now 30-20 but more importantly are second in MLB in wagering
value. They’ve earned a combined +1473 on the ML and RL second only to the
Cleveland Indians. Florida has done its best work on the road this season going
16-8 compared to a 14-12 home mark. They’re 6-2 in their last eight games
overall including a sweep of the Giants in San Francisco.