It was vintage Clayton Kershaw on Tuesday, and now the Los Angeles Dodgers are set up to broom the Atlanta Braves out of town in their MLB odds series finale.
Braves vs. Dodgers Game 3
By: Willie Bee
One game does not a season make. But in the case of Clayton Kershaw, Tuesday's string of zeroes in Los Angeles 8-0 win against the Atlanta Braves might have turned things around for the Dodgers ace.
The victory helped LA maintain its 2-game lead in the NL West over the San Francisco Giants, and puts the Dodgers on the verge of their first 3-game sweep since a broom job vs. Arizona to begin the month of May. Los Angeles will once again be prohibitive favorites over the Braves for Wednesday's 10:10 PM (ET) on the West Coast. Wagerweb offering the Dodgers at -220 this morning, that moneyline higher at several outlets charted by SBR's live MLB odds.
The initial mound duel pits Atlanta's Alex Wood opposite LA's Zack Greinke, and a 6½ run total is taxed at little higher on the 'over' at some sports books.
Dodgers 3-1 Behind Greinke In May
After winning his season debut in Miami on April 7, the Braves lost Wood's next six assignments before the lefty broke that string with a victory at Miami 11 days ago. This will be his sixth road start of the campaign, the former Georgia Bulldogs star 2-0 with a 2.61 ERA away from Atlanta compared to 0-2 and 6.19 at Turner Field.
Wood has been a tough nut to crack for LA hitters, two relief outings and a start the past two seasons resulting in a sub-1.00 ERA while limiting the Dodgers batting order to a .200 batting average. All three of those outings came in Los Angeles.
Greinke has been the ace of Don Mattingly's staff, Los Angeles 7-2 in his nine trips to the mound to leave baseball bettors up 3.6 units. The 31-year-old has surrendered just three earnies in the last four starts covering more than 28 innings and leads all NL starting pitchers with a 0.87 WHIP. All 10 earned runs Greinke has allowed this season came at home, and he'll be facing a couple of longtime nemeses in Jonny Gomes (.300, 2 HR) and AJ Pierzynski (.404, 3 HR).
Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
Paul Nauert is in line to call balls and strikes for the series finale, the 480th plate assignment of his major league umpiring career. The Kentucky native is 2-4 O/U this year, his last two games under the mask never making it to the totals, four of his last five appearances at Dodger Stadium also falling short of the MLB odds,
There should still be about an hour of sun visible when the contest gets underway at Chavez Ravine, clear skies hanging around for the entire game with temps in the low-to-mid 60s and just a hint of a WSW breeze (out to right). I'm coming right back with a run line play on the Dodgers (-1½, +110) for my free MLB pick.
MLB Pick: Dodgers -1.5 (+110) at WagerWeb
Braves vs. Dodgers Game 2
By: Willie Bee
It may have been for just one inning, but the bats belonging to Los Angeles did awaken to help slug the Dodgers past the Atlanta Braves in the opener of their 3-game MLB odds series.
Los Angeles broke open a 2-2 ballgame with three dingers in the eighth to send the Dodgers to a 6-3 victory, Alex Guerrero's 2-run pinch-hit blast the key blow. It was the most runs the Dodgers have scored since May 15, and the three homers gave them 60 for the season, nine more than the next NL team.
Game 2 of the series finds Julio Teheran on the mound for the Braves opposite LA's Clayton Kershaw, and ESPN will carry the game following coverage of the Nationals and Cubs in Chicago, Kershaw's first pitch expected at 10:10 PM (ET). The Dodgers are pronounced favorites on the baseball betting card, GT Bets listing them at -250 along with a 6 run total, the lowest mark on the board today.
Teheran Struggling Away From Home
It has been night and day for Teheran this season as far as his home-road splits. The young Colombian sports a sparkling 1.82 ERA in Atlanta, the Braves winning three of those four starts, and a 5.88 ERA away from home though his squad has managed to win three of the five. Teheran has been helped along by his offense, Atlanta averaging almost 5¼ runs in his assignments.
This will be just his third ever start against the Dodgers, the Braves dropping both of his previous outings which came last year. Teheran lost a tough one in LA at the end of July, going the distance in a 2-1 decision.
Kershaw continues to struggle, opposing hitters batting .251 against the southpaw and the Dodgers dropping five of his first nine starts on the 2015 baseball betting schedule. The latest came last Thursday in the finale of LA's series in San Francisco, Kershaw hitting the showers in the eighth having allowed all four Giants runs in a 4-0 setback. He tossed a complete-game gem against the Braves in LA last July, and the Dodgers are 5-2 when Kershaw faces Atlanta, including a couple of 2013 NLDS appearances.
Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
With more MLB experience than the rest of his crew combined, chief Dana DeMuth should be our umpire under the mask this evening. The Ohio native has made a lot of friends among 'over' bettors, seven of his eight plate assignments topping the totals, including the last six in a row. All five of his games with 7½-run totals or less hurdled the scoreboard tallies.
There are going to be plenty of clouds this evening in the 90012, but no rain is in the forecast and only a light WSW breeze (out to right) with a game-time temp in the mid-60s. I'm expecting a good performance from Kershaw and for his lineup to give him plenty of support with a free MLB pick on LA on the run line (-1½, -110).
MLB Picks: LA on the run line -1½, +100 at BookMaker
Season: 29-30-2 (-1.05)
Braves vs. Dodgers Series Opener
By: Willie Bee
The Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers both rank in the top half of the National League in scoring, but their batters have been anything but consistent and each has been in a bit of a rut heading into their 3-game set this week out in Tinseltown.
Game 1 of the MLB odds series will be a late afternoon affair in LA (8:10 PM ET), meaning the lineups are also burdened with shadow-creep at Chavez Ravine. Add to that it's the first time either starting pitcher has faced the opposing teams, and it's easy to imagine a low-scoring affair. No Dodgers hitter has ever faced Atlanta starter Williams Perez, appearing in just his fourth big league game and second MLB start. Los Angeles sends Brett Anderson to the mound, only a few Braves having seen him in his days with Oakland, and the Dodgers are pronounced -190 favorites on the baseball betting card, the 'under' priced a little higher for a 7½ run total.
The rivalry began in 1890 when the franchises were located in Boston and Brooklyn, the Dodgers with a 1,173-1,022 lead in regular season matchups, and there have been a couple of postseason meetings (1996, 2013), the Braves winning four of those seven tilts. The Braves also hold a slim 53-49 edge this century.
The Dodgers owned the Braves a year ago, winning six of seven. They swept the 3-game series in Los Angeles, two of those staying 'under' the total, seven of the last 11 finals at Dodger Stadium never breaching the scoreboard barrier.
Braves On 7-2 Run To Get Back Over .500
A 4.16 scoring average puts Atlanta (22-21, +3.5 units) sixth in the Senior Circuit, but with the exception of a 10-run explosion last Thursday vs. Matt Garza and the Brewers, runs have been hard to come by the past few weeks. Since May 8, the Braves are plating over half a run per game less than their season average, including that 10-spot, and they only broke the dish five times in the three subsequent games over the weekend against Milwaukee.
Atlanta did win three of the four, however, and are 7-2 since sinking a season-worst four games below .500 a little more than a week ago. The pitching staff surrendered two runs or fewer in five of those games, and one batter that is keeping it going is Nick Markakis who brings a 5-game hitting streak into the series (7-18).
Perez had a disastrous major league debut earlier this month, only getting one out and being charged with four runs at Washington, the Braves still in the game down 4-2 when he came in. An amateur free agent signing in 2009, Perez had been solid in five Triple-A starts before the call-up, and has since allowed just one run in seven full innings, including Wednesday's start vs. a solid Tampa Bay club to help the Braves to a 2-1 dubya in Atlanta.
Dodgers' NL West Lead Shrinks To 2
Los Angeles (26-17, +1.55 units) checked into last week's series in San Francisco as the highest-scoring team in the NL, and promptly got swept without scoring a single run. The Dodgers rebounded to win the first two games on this homestand against San Diego, but they were spanked by the Padres on Sunday, 11-3, and blanked the first six innings of the series finale. They've subtracted more than half-a run per game off their previous clip in the last week, but still rank third in the league (4.49 rpg).
Anderson suffered the loss in one of those matchups with the Giants last week, though he pitched well and has a sub-2.00 ERA in four May assignments. Despite Anderson being a southpaw, left-handed hitting AJ Pierzynski has three hits and a walk in nine plate assignments, and the switch-hitting Alberto Callaspo is 4-for-11.
Sunny and 70º is what the weatherman is promising for the start of today's battle, a light SW breeze perhaps giving balls headed out to right a little extra push. I'm a sucker for trends, and will play the 'under' 7½ (-115) for my free MLB pick.
MLB Picks: 'Under' 7½ (+105) at Bet365
Season: 29-30-2 (-1.05)