Dodgers vs. Giants MLB Picks: Expect Few Runs In NL West Tilt

Jay Pryce

Saturday, April 9, 2016 2:21 PM UTC

Saturday, Apr. 9, 2016 2:21 PM UTC

The Dodgers and Giants continue their rivalry with Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner dueling for the eighth time in their career. Need help with your MLB picks? We got you covered. 

Los Angeles Dodgers (3-2) - Clayton Kershaw (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
San Fran owned the Dodgers at AT&T Park last season, going 8-2 and holding them to 1.9 runs per game. Their Southern California rivals, in fact, scored two or fewer runs in eight of the 10 meetings.

The mastery has seemingly carried over to this year with the Giants taking the first two of a four-game series following a 3-2 win last night on an extra-inning walkoff homer by Brandon Crawford. New Dodgers manager Dave Roberts pulled starter Ross Stripling in the eighth inning of his MLB debut, despite carrying a no-hitter with five outs to go. He suffered the no-decision. Ouch.

Clayton Kershaw looked as sharp as ever in his first outing of the season in a 12-0 win over the Padres on Monday, striking out nine, allowing one hit and gifting one walk in seven frames. He and the staff held the Padres scoreless for 27 innings in the opening three-game series, sending San Diego to a new futility mark: it is the first team tin MLB history to go scoreless in three games to start the year.

This is the eighth matchup between Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner. The Giants are 5-2 in these meetings, gong off the underdog in all but one. San Francisco averages 2.9 runs to the Dodgers' 2.6.

The three-time Cy Young winner owns the current Giants lineup, holding them to a .182 batting average (62/340). Kershaw has allowed just 11 extra-base hits in 353 plate appearances, including three home runs, eight doubles, and zero triples.

Outfielder Angel Pagan, who's splitting leadoff duties with newcomer Denard Span this year, has hit the big lefty as well as anyone, finding base 17 times in 58 at-bats (.268). When the speedy switch-hitter crossed the plate for a run last season, the Giants were 31-13 (16-4 at home), scoring 6.4 runs per game.


San Francisco Giants (4-1) - Madison Bumgarner (1-0, 5.40)
“MadBum” had a pretty rough Opening Day. Recovering from the flu, he walked five and gave up three earned runs on five hits in five hard-fought innings. He's posted a 13-7 record and 2.45 ERA in 21 starts against the Dodgers in his career. Five of these outings occurred last season, where the club went 3-2.

The former World Series MVP and the Giants were at their best last season against stronger opponents, compiling a 9-3 record against foes with a 50 percent winning percentage or better. He and the pen allowed 2.5 runs on 7.2 hits as opposed to 3.6 on 8.2 against teams with a losing record; San Fran went 9-10 in these games.

Like Kershaw, Bumgarner baffles the Dodgers current lineup, yielding 69 hits in 328 at-bats (.210). He's particularly effective against L.A.'s starting left-handed hitters, including Adrian Gonzalez (6/42, .143), Chase Utley (2/12, .167), Corey Seager (0/3, .000), Joc Pederson (2/8, .250) and Carl Crawford (0/3, .000)

MLB odds Totals players take note: the UNDER is 32-14-3 when Bumgarner goes off a dog in his career, 8-1 at home. The play has returned nearly 30 percent profit to backers over the last six seasons.


Final Analysis
Despite the Giants success last season against L.A., its tough to fade Kershaw unless he shows some chinks in his armor. Not the case after his magnificent display in San Diego. He's stumbled in some high-leverage situations in his career—postseason anyone—and the Dodgers-Giants series is not your normal affair. But we'll stay away from picking the winner here. For what it's worth, the Dodgers are 4-1 and the UNDER 4-0-1 when Kershaw takes the hill in a day game in San Fran. The UNDER 6 looks to offer a little value as today's MLB picks with both pitcher dominating each opposing lineups.

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Free MLB Pick: Under 6 
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