The Major League Baseball season officially kicks off in the land Down Under and as we peruse the MLB odds we try to determine which side is the right side in our MLB picks.
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LA Dodgers (1-0,
The Dodgers kicked their 2014 season off the right way when they got a predictably strong start from ace Clayton Kershaw that propelled Big Blue to a 3-1 opening day victory over the D-Backs in the land of Oz. Los Angeles was installed as big neutral site favorites due to the Cy Young pedigree of their starting pitcher and they did not disappoint their backers who laid -170 in MLB odds. And though nobody was surprised that Arizona was unable to muster much offense against the Dodger's stellar lefty what did open plenty of eyes was the offense mounted by reserve Scott Van Slyke. The second year outfielder got the start due to a paternity leave by Carl Crawford and the extended recovery of Matt Kemp from an ankle injury.
The Dodgers are looking to avoid the pitfall of last season when they staggered badly from the start and had to mount an historic second half which allowed them to cruise to an NL West title. But all those good vibrations went for naught as they bowed in the National League Championship Series to the eventual World Series runner-ups, the St. Louis Cardinals. But the team has added pitchers Dan Haren and Chris Perez in addition to Cuban infielder Alex Guerrero into the mix. LA and their big money payroll is slated to be among the teams to beat in the National League this season.
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The Diamondbacks got a relatively solid performance from starter Wade Miley who contained the Dodgers offense with the notable exception of Scott Van Slyke. Yet after Miley walked off the hill for good at the end of the fifth, the D-Backs bullpen held strong and yielded only two hits and no runs over the last four innings of play.
While there wasn't too much going on offensively for Arizona in their opening game, they had to be glad to see that their 26-year-old first baseman Paul Goldschmidt picked right up where he left off in his 2013 All-Star campaign. Goldschmidt had two of the Diamondbacks' five hits and was the only one to cross the plate when Mark Trumbo drove him in during the sixth inning. It was to be the lone run for Arizona but they hope to get their offense cookin' in this one as they give the ball to Trevor Cahill who got the win over the Brewers on Sunday in his last spring training game of the season.
Free MLB Pick:
I have but one guarantee in this game - I guarantee you're a complete jackass if you're coming in heavy on any of these early games. We still don't know what these teams are all about and the only barometer we have is how they fared last season and during spring training. While that is a decent yardstick, we need a ruler if we are to narrow our focus in our MLB picks.
Arizona pitcher Trevor Cahill (8-10, 3.99 in 2013) hyperextended his knee in the latter portion of spring training but bounced back with a decent performance against Milwaukee when he allowed two earned runs over five innings and added seven strikeouts. Meanwhile, Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu (14-8, 3.00 in 2013) has registered a nifty 2.20 ERA this spring with his most recent outing against Colorado on Sunday being another solid performance in which he surrendered only one earned run over 5 1/3 innings.
So who do ya love? We've got two top shelf pitchers and offenses that really couldn't get going in the opener. As I peruse SBR's MLB odds the game is a virtual pick'em as well it should be. I can't find any value on either side unless you're seduced into getting the Dodgers at about -110. No, I'm staying away because I could just as well flip a coin at this point in the season between these teams but I do like the Under. We've got two tough pitchers and two slumbering offenses. Works for me.MLB Pick: Play Under 8 (-115) at WillaimHill.com.