The defending NL West champion Arizona Diamondbacks
haven't been much of a factor this season, but they've recently pulled into contention. Arizona gets a chance to close the gap this week in a
three-game series with the division-leading Dodgers starting Monday night.
Arizona has taken the first two games of this series, winning 7-2 Monday and 8-2 Tuesday, behind a quality outing from Wade Miley and homers from Paul Goldschmidt (again) and Miguel Montero.
The Diamondbacks won as +110 underdogs Monday, and as +100 dogs Tuesday. So they're up $210 for this series so far, as they shoot for the sweep Wednesday afternoon.
LA, at 56-49, now trails San Francisco by one game in the NL West, while Arizona, winners of nine of its last 12 and at 53-51, lurks just 3.5 games back of the Giants.
After picking up Hanley Ramirez in a trade with Miami last week the Dodgers waded back into the market Tuesday and picked up OF Shane Victorino from the Phillies and reliever Brandon League from Seattle, basically for prospects.
Over on the other lineup card Arizona has caught immediate production out of newly acquired 3B Chris Johnson, who hit a grand slam in his first game with his new team Monday night, then went 3-for-4 Tuesday with a couple RBI.
Wednesday's Pitching Matchup
A pair of rookies will go in a big spot Wednesday (3:10 pm Eastern) as Stephen Fife (0-1, 1.46) starts for the Dodgers against triple-A call-up Patrick Corbin (2-4, 4.15) for the D'Backs.
Fife, in his two career ML starts, both within the last two weeks, has allowed two ER on 10 hits through 12 1/3 innings, although he has walked six. Last Friday in a big game at AT&T Park against the Giants he gave up one run on six hits through 6 1/3 innings of a game the Dodgers eventually won 5-3 on a 10th-inning homer from Ramirez.
At Albuquerque earlier this season Fife, a third-round pick by Boston four years ago, put up a 4.31 ERA, allowing 118 hits in 104 innings in the offensive-minded Pacific Coast League, with 36 walks and 78 strikeouts.
Corbin, a lefty who was taken in the second round by the Angels three years ago, started five games for the D'Backs earlier this season, and has also spent recent time at Reno (also of the PCL), where he posted a 3.44 ERA, allowing 57 hits in 52 innings, walking 15 and striking out 55.
Over his last five appearances with Arizona, from June 28-July 13, Corbin gave up two ER in 11 2/3 innings.
Corbin has started once this season against the Dodgers, back in May, allowing two runs on seven hits through 5 1/3 innings of a 6-1 Arizona defeat.
Wednesday's Betting Odds
Arizona is favored for Wednesday's game at every online baseball betting shop we sampled Wednesday morning, by about -110, while we found LA at +104 at Pinnacle. And the total is listed at 7.5 or eight, depending on where you're shopping.
The Diamondbacks can also be played at as much as +150 on the run line at some baseball betting outlets.
Early betting on Wednesday's game has seen 70 percent of play on the side come in on the Dodgers, while about 55 percent of play on the total has come in on the 'over.'
Free MLB Pick for Wednesday
We don't usually like to go against a home team trying to avoid a sweep, but we'll go with the hot outfit here and take the Snakes.
The Diamondbacks won as +110 underdogs Monday, and the game
played OVER its total of 7.5 when L.A. got a meaningless run in the bottom of
So with an Arizona victory, and losses by Los Angeles and
San Francisco, the Dodgers and Giants are still tied for first in the NL West,
while the D'Backs are now just 3.5 games behind those two.
It'll be a battle of lefties Tuesday night (10:10 pm
Eastern) as former Diamondback Chris Capuano (10-6, 3.13) goes for L.A. against
Wade Miley (11-6, 3.11) for the D'Backs.
Cappy is coming off his worst start of this season, last
Thursday vs. the Cardinals, in which he gave up six ER on 11 hits in less than
five innings of a 7-4 Dodgers defeat. But, on the season, Capuano is 13-for-21 on
quality starts, and six for his last eight.
Capuano has started twice already vs. Arizona this season,
winning once by holding them to one run through six innings, but losing by
getting clipped for five runs on nine hits in five innings.
Miley, meanwhile, is also coming off a not so impressive
outing, in which he gave up three ER on nine hits in less than six innings of a
3-1 loss to the Mets last Thursday. For the season he's 9-for-17 on quality
starts, but only one for his last five. Over his three starts since the
All-Star break Miley has allowed seven ER on 21 hits in 18 innings.
Miley has already started twice against the Dodgers this
season, giving up five ER on 16 hits in 13 1/3 innings. Arizona split those two
LA is 13-8 in Capuano's starts this season, while the
Diamondbacks are 11-6 in Miley's starts.
Odds and Trends
As of Tuesday morning, Los Angeles was getting MLB odds of -111 at
Heritage, while the D'Backs were getting +107 at Matchbook. Also, some
sportsbooks have the total listed at seven for this game, others at 7.5.
Free MLB Pick
Arizona beat us
Monday night, as they continued their chase of first place. So we'll turn
things around and go with the D'Backs for Tuesday night's game
Both Teams Playing
Arizona just split four games at home with the Mets, losing
Sunday 5-1 to R.A. Dickey, to finish up a 7-3 homestand. The D'Backs are also
12-8 this month of July.
L.A., meanwhile, just swept three games in San Francisco over
the weekend, getting a shut-out from Clayton Kershaw to win Sunday and complete
a 7-3 road trip.
So Los Angeles, at 56-47, has pulled into a first-place tie
with the Giants atop the NL West, while Arizona, at 51-51, sits 4.5 games back, heading into Monday's play.
Arizona is actually closer in its division race than it is
in the NL Wild-Card race, where it sits 6.5 games behind Atlanta in the battle
for that second WC slot.
L.A., Now With 100
Percent More Hanley
Not only are the Dodgers enjoying life with both Matt Kemp
and Andre Ethier back in the lineup, they also picked up Hanley Ramirez in a
trade with Miami last week. So far, Ramirez is 7-for-21 from the plate, with a
double, a triple and a homer, seven RBI, and a stolen base in his first five
games with his new team.
Monday's Arm Race
The Dodgers will throw Aaron Harang (7-5, 3.39) Monday night
vs. Trevor Cahill (8-9, 3.86) for the D'Backs.
These two pitchers have already squared off once this
season, back on May 22 in a game won by Los Angeles 8-7. But Arizona led that
game 6-1 through six innings.
Harang is 9-for-20 on quality starts this year, and three
for his last four. Most recently, Harang held St. Louis to two runs on two hits
over 7 1/3 innings last Wednesday and, over his last four starts, he's allowed
seven ER on 13 hits in 26 1/3 innings.
However, in that game back in May, Harang's only start this
year vs. Arizona, he got clipped for five run on nine hits in less than five
Cahill, meanwhile, is 10-for-20 on quality starts this year,
but 0 for his last three. In his last start Cahill gave up four runs on eight
hits over 6 2/3 innings vs. the Rockies last Wednesday, and over this last
three starts he's allowed 10 ER on 21 hits through 17 1/3 innings.
In two starts this year vs. L.A., Cahill has allowed four ER on
12 hits through 13 innings.
Arizona is 10-10 in Cahill's starts this season, while the
Dodgers are 10-10 in Harang's starts.
Monday's Betting Odds
As of Monday AM, the Dodgers could be found at MLB odds of -131 for
Monday's game at 5Dimes, while the D'Backs could be gotten at +127 at
Most online sportsbooks are also listing the total on Monday's
game at 7.5.
Finally, over at Bovada, Los Angeles is listed as a -150
favorite to win this series, with Arizona getting +120 as the underdog.
Early betting on Monday's game has seen about 70 percent of
action on the side come in on LA, while play on the total has split just about
right down the middle.
Arizona leads the season series with LA five games to four,
with the totals going 3-5-1.
MLB Free Pick
Even when the D'Backs
were struggling earlier this year, we thought they might be able to crawl back
into the NL West race. They just needed to get a little healthier, and they've
made progress on both fronts. But, L.A. made a nice pick-up with Ramirez, and he's
already paying dividends. So we'll go with the Dodgers for Monday's game.