The Chicago Cubs have outplayed the Los Angeles Dodgers this year, but the baseball odds are firmly in L.A.'s corner for tonight's matchup at Chavez Ravine.
Jason's 2015 record as of August 27: 36-29, plus-7.18 units ML; 0-3, minus-3.30 units Total
I remember it as if it were yesterday. We were looking at the World Series chances for the top National League contenders, and the team in pole position was the Los Angeles Dodgers at 14.8 percent. The Chicago Cubs were in fourth place at 6.2 percent, even though Chicago had the better record. What is this, the 2000 election?
Actually, the gap between the two teams has increased since that award-eschewing article. Going into Thursday's action, Baseball Prospectus had the Dodgers bumped up to 14.9 percent to win the World Series, while the Cubs were downgraded to 5.7 percent. And that was before Los Angeles won and Chicago lost on Thursday. The gap could widen even further after Friday's contest (10:10 p.m. ET); the MLB odds at press time have the Dodgers favored at around –200.
The Cubs (73-53, +9.80 units) might not have any value for our World Series MLB picks, but they've done far better than the Dodgers (70-56, –12.73 units) during the regular season. It's a balanced attack, too; according to the WAR stats at Fangraphs, Chicago ranks seventh in the majors in hitting, fourth in overall pitching and sixth in the bullpen.
Alas, the Dodgers are a step above. They're fourth in hitting, third in overall pitching and eighth in the bullpen. They're also well ahead of the Cubs in run differential at +59 to Chicago's +33. And on Friday, the Dodgers have a favorable pitching matchup with reigning National League MVP Clayton Kershaw (2.12 FIP) taking the mound versus Jason Hammel (3.64 FIP).
Wasted Days and Wasted Nights
Uh-oh... did somebody say “Clayton Kershaw”? Despite his outstanding performance this year, the Dodgers have managed to drop 10.26 units in his 25 starts on a team record of 13-12. Only two other starting pitchers have lost more money this year: Oakland's Jesse Chavez (7-16, –10.47 units) and Cleveland's Corey Kluber (9-18, –15.14 units). Los Angeles honked both of Kershaw's last two starts, even though he gave up just one earned run in each game. Hammel, by comparison, has been only a minor drain on Chicago's finances at –3.22 units on a team record of 12-12. And the Cubs have won four of his last five starts.
If you haven't abandoned your fantasy team yet, this might be a good time to go and grab yourself a Dodgers hitter. No, they're not all taken: Check out 2B/SS/OF Enrique Hernandez, who's only owned in 5% of Yahoo leagues as we go to press. Hernandez is on a tear right now, with a .917 OPS over the past two weeks, and he's qualified at three positions. No wonder the Dodgers are on top of our NL power rankings with players like this coming out of the woodwork. But we're still going to have to take our chances with Hammel tonight.
Free MLB Pick: Take the Cubs +193 at The Greek