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.

Clayton KershawThe 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.

The Money Trap

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 earnings.

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.

Blow it up

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.

Point 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 Ravine.

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.

Marlins Surprising Again

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.