The Battle of Los Angeles resumes Friday night when the Dodgers host the Angels. The baseball odds are heavily on the Dodgers this time – but is the chalk worth it?
Jason's 2015 record as of July 30: 36-28, plus-8.18 units ML; 0-3, minus-3.30 units Total
It's been a crazy week of wheeling and dealing in Major League Baseball. And it's not over yet; by the time you read this, even more people will have changed places in advance of Friday's 4:00 p.m. Eastern non-waiver trade deadline. As always with your baseball picks at this time of year, keep an eye on the newswires before you open your wallet and/or purse.
Both Los Angeles-based teams fattened up before the deadline, and as luck would have it, they face each other Friday night (10:10 p.m. ET) when the Dodgers welcome the Angels to Chavez Ravine. The Dodgers are big –210 favorites on the MLB odds board, with reigning National League MVP Clayton Kershaw (2.12 FIP) due to take the hill against Hector Santiago (3.83 FIP) in a battle of southpaws. Is the risk worth the reward?
Maybe not. Kershaw has pitched brilliantly for the Dodgers (57-45, –9.95 units) this year, but this team has been carrying way too much chalk all season long. They're 11-9 in Kershaw's 20 starts for a loss of 6.89 units. The good news is that the Dodgers have won Kershaw's last three outings, during which Kershaw allowed zero runs in 26.0 innings of work – including one of our MLB picks against the Washington Nationals. The bad news: Kershaw was supposed to start on Wednesday, but was pushed back because of a “minor” hip injury.
Kershaw will get some added support from his new teammates. The Dodgers made a massive three-team, 13-player deal on Thursday that landed starting pitchers Mat Latos, Alex Wood and the injured Bronson Arroyo, along with relievers Jim Johnson and Luis Avilan. They also picked up 1B Michael Morse, but immediately designated him for assignment. Johnson (3.18 FIP) and Avilan (3.61 FIP) are the relevant players for Friday's game; they'll boost L.A.'s No. 6-ranked bullpen (3.2 WAR) for the playoffs after performing well with the Atlanta Braves.
This Is Your Left
The Angels (55-45, +4.71 units) made some moves of their own this week, picking up outfielders Shane Victorino (.617 OPS), David DeJesus (.687 OPS) and David Murphy (.775 OPS), as well as INF Conor Gillaspie (.673 OPS). These are depth moves for the most part, although Murphy and DeJesus do give the Halos a pair of left-handed bats, which they sorely needed. That won't help much against Kershaw, though.
Santiago has done well against Dodger bats in limited opportunities, holding them to a combined .542 OPS on 5-for-24 hitting. On the other hand, current Angels have managed a .761 OPS (!) versus Kershaw, and for whatever reason, catcher Chris Iannetta seems to have his number at 6-for-22 with a .839 OPS. That's a heck of a lot better than Iannetta's .665 OPS on the season. At least he's almost certainly available in your league, being just 2% owned in Yahoo fantasy baseball.
Free MLB Pick: Take the Angels +195 at 5Dimes