Is it too early in this MLB season to call a series
“big” or “key” or “important?” What the hell, we'll do it anyway, as we refer
to the Los Angeles Dodgers' trip North for three games with the surging San Francisco Giants
starting Monday night.
By: Ron Patrick
We knew Matt Kemp's absence would have an affect on the
Dodgers' ability to score runs. But lately it's been getting ridiculous.
L.A. has gotten shut-out the first two games of its series in
San Francisco, and has seen a divisional lead that was once eight games shrink
to just one.
Monday night the Dodgers got blanked by Barry Zito and two
relievers 8-0. Tuesday night LA got goose-egged by Ryan Vogelsong and two other
relievers in a 2-0 Giants victory.
So, Los Angeles has scored a total of 13 runs in losing seven
of its last eight games.
San Fran won as a -115 favorite Monday night and as +105
home dogs Tuesday.
Also, while Monday's game sneaked OVER its total of 7.5,
Tuesday's bout stayed UNDER its total of six.
The Dodgers will send Chad Billingsley (4-6, 4.15) to the
mound in hopes of staving off the sweep Wednesday (3:45 pm Eastern) against the
struggling Tim Lincecum (2-8, 6.07) for the Giants.
Billingsley, by our strict standards, has just six quality
starts this year out of 15 tries, and only two out of his last 10. In his
latest outing Billingsley gave up six earned runs on 10 hits in five innings
vs. the Angels, and just before that he allowed four ER on eight hits in six
innings vs. the White Sox.
Billingsley hasn't been too great vs. the Giants lately,
either. In one start this year and four last year vs. San Francisco, Billingsley
has been tagged for 17 ER on 34 hits in 26 1/3 innings. The Dodgers lost three
of those five games.
Lincecum, meanwhile, has just two quality starts this year
out of 15 tries. His most recent outing was actually one of his better
performances of this season, and he still gave up three ER on three hits and
four walks in six innings vs. the A's. Over his last four starts Lincecum has
allowed 17 ER in 22 2/3 innings.
Over the last season and a half Lincecum hasn't been too bad
vs. L.A., giving up 11 ER on 38 hits in 39 1/3 innings. But because of some
terrible run support the Giants have lost five of Lincecum's last six starts
vs. the Dodgers.
As of a Wednesday morning perusal of the baseball betting
odds pages, the best price we found on San Francisco for Wednesday's game was
the -126 at Matchbook, while the best line available on LA was the +124 at
The Giants can also be played on the run line at +175 at
Finally, most online baseball betting outlets are pegging
Wednesday's game with an OVER/UNDER of six. But for those who like the OVER Bookmaker is listing the total at 5.5.
The OVERS/UNDERS are a combined 22-6 in games started by
Billingsley and Lincecum this season.
MLB Free Pick for
We missed on the Dodgers Monday night, but hit on the Giants
Tuesday. For Wednesday we're thinking that if Lincecum is going to get his act
together this season, maybe a start vs. LA will help. So we'll go with San
Francisco for our free pick on Wednesday.
By: Ron Patrick
This series is the story of a team that jumped out to a big
lead in its division, but is now coming back to the field. How will the Dodgers
fare, both on the field and on the MLB betting lines?
The Giants jumped all over Dodgers starter Nathan Eovaldi
Monday night, scoring four times in the first and three times in the second on
their way to an 8-0 whitewash. San Fran won as a -115 favorite Monday, and the
game went 'over' its total of eight when the Giants tallied one last run in the
bottom of the fifth inning.
So LA's lead in the NL West is now down to two games over
The Dodgers will look to Clayton Kershaw (5-3, 2.73) to get
this series to even Tuesday, while Ryan Vogelsong (6-3, 2.41) will go for the
Reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Kershaw is 10-for-15 in
quality starts this season, and the Dodgers have won 10 of his 15 starts. His
last time out Kershaw held Oakland to one run on three hits in eight innings,
and over his last three starts he's allowed eight earned runs in 21 innings.
Kershaw has been a pain in the ass to the Giants lately.
Over six starts last year and one this year vs. San Fran he's given up just
seven ER on 34 hits covering 50 innings. The Dodgers won five of those seven
Vogelsong, meanwhile, is a super 11-for-13 in quality
starts, and San Francisco is 9-4 when he's started. In his latest outing he
held the Angels to three runs in seven innings last Wednesday. And he's been a
horse, going at least seven innings in nine of his last 10 starts.
In one start this year and three last year vs. the Dodgers
Vogelsong gave up a total of eight ER on 33 hits through 27 innings. The Giants
won three of those games.
Most online sportsbooks are listing LA and Kershaw as -120
road favorites for Tuesday's game, with an 'over/under' of six.
Free MLB Pick for
We were “just a bit outside” on Monday's game, backing LA
because we liked Eovaldi. Those four first-inning runs by the Giants felt like
a kick in the stomach. As for Tuesday we're tempted by the great numbers
Kershaw has put up against San Francisco, but instead we'll go with the home
dog and take the Giants.
By: Ron Patrick
Los Angeles just dropped two of three games in Anaheim over
the weekend, and that was after getting swept three games in Oakland. So, the
Dodgers have lost five of their last six games.
The Giants, meanwhile, just took a series in Oakland, but
they're probably kicking themselves for missing out on the sweep, after blowing
Sunday's game on a game-winning three-run homer by A's rookie Derek Norris in
the bottom of the ninth.
So, LA's lead in the NL West, which got as high as eight
games back in May, is now down to three games over San Fran. Which puts the
Giants a sweep away from a first-place tie.
Overall, the Dodgers have performed admirably without MVP
candidate Matt Kemp, who was only hitting .355 with 12 homers when he went back
on the DL May 31. During his first stint on the DL this season, LA went 9-5, and
it went 10-8 in the first 18 games of Kemp's second stint on the injured list.
But, you had to figure his absence would eventually be felt, and that would
appear to be the case now, as the Dodgers have scored a total of 13 runs over
their last six games.
Throw in the sore shoulder that's kept Ted Lilly out of the
rotation the last month, and it's little wonder LA is struggling.
Los Angeles will send Nathan Eovaldi (0-3, 2.35) to the hill
Monday night against Barry Zito (5-5, 4.35) for San Francisco. Clayton Kershaw
(5-3, 2.73) will go for LA Tuesday against Ryan Vogelsong (6-3, 2.41). Finally,
Chad Billingsley (4-6, 4.15) will start Wednesday's series finale for the
Dodgers vs. Tim Lincecum (2-8, 6.07) for SF.
Eovaldi has nary a victory to his credit this season, but
that's not his fault. The 22-year-old is three-for-five on quality starts this
year, has allowed eight ER on 28 hits in 31 innings, and given up just two
homers. But the Dodgers have lost all five of his starts this year, by scores
of 2-1, 3-2, 1-0, 2-1 and 4-1.
Meanwhile Zito is just five-for-14 on quality starts this
season, and 0-for-3 over his last three outings, including a bombing at the
hands of the Angels last Tuesday. After beating the Cubs June 3 Zito's ERA sat
at 2.98; since then he's been tagged for 17 earned runs on 23 hits in just 14
On the season Zito has given up 78 hits in 81 innings, but
his 45/36 K/BB ratio does nothing to inspire.
Zito has started once vs. the Dodgers this year, back in
early May, giving up three ER on eight hits in six innings of a 9-1 Giants
As of late Monday morning most online sportsbooks are
listing Zito and the Giants as about -110 favorites for Monday night's game,
with an 'over/under' of 7.5.
Looking a little more long-term Bovada.lv is lining San
Francisco at -130 to win this series, with the Dodgers “getting” +100 as the
These rivals have met once earlier this season, back in
early May, when LA took two of three games from San Fran at Dodger Stadium. Vogelsong
beat Kershaw in the middle game of that series 2-1, while Billingsley beat
Lincecum 6-2 in the rubber match.
Free MLB Pick for
The Dodgers are
having their problems, while the Giants are licking their chops at the chance
to bite into that divisional lead. But we like what Eovaldi has been doing on
the mound, while we're leery of Zito. So, in a bit of a contrarian play, we'll back Los Angeles Monday night