MLB Picks Dodgers vs. Giants with Kershaw & Bumgarner Pitching

Mark Lathrop

Wednesday, April 22, 2015 11:32 AM UTC

Wednesday, Apr. 22, 2015 11:32 AM UTC

People interested in MLB picks are treated to a superb pitching matchup on Wednesday night in San Francisco, with Clayton Kershaw's Dodgers vising Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants.

The Los Angeles Dodgers visit the San Francisco Giants in the second game of their three game series Wednesday night, in a series featuring the aces of each squad: Clayton Kershaw for the Dodgers and Madison Bumgarner for the Giants. The early MLB betting odds lines have the visiting Dodgers favored at -123 on the money line with the O/U set at a low 6 runs. The weather at game time will be 60F and sunny, so no adjustments needed for the thermometer in this one.

Clayton Kershaw takes the mound for the Dodgers, coming off of a 7-3 winning decision at home versus Colorado that saw him strike out 12 batters. In the first three games of the season Kershaw is running a 26/6 K/BB rate, so his stuff is still there even though he only has one win in three starts. Kershaw’s FIP indicates that he has been a bit unlucky; his FIP sitting at 3.46 while his ERA registers at 4.42. His velocity has actually increased over last year’s average, so I don’t think it is a stretch to say that a regression to ‘average’ is due for Kershaw. Of course, average for Kershaw has been lights out since 2009.

The last time I saw Bumgarner pitch in person was Game 5 of last year’s NLCS, where the Giants earned a ticket to the World Series on a walk off home run. Bumgarner was electric in that game and the crowd was as well. But he’s been more pedestrian to start the season, posting a 1-1 record over three starts with a 5.29 ERA and 11/2 K/BB rate. The one thing I noticed when looking at advanced statistics over his first three starts is that he has abandoned his changeup. Over his career, Bumgarner has thrown his changeup 7.8% of the time; however, in his first three starts this year he has only thrown the pitch 1.9% of the time. Now, with such a small sample size we could be taking things a little too far, but it’s something to monitor as the year goes on. Bumgarner has also experienced some bad luck with an ERA at 5.29 and an FIP sitting at 4.14. So, just like Kershaw, he’s due for some regression to ‘average’.

Looking further into the batted against records for these pitchers I haven’t found much to indicate that one will have an advantage over the other’s lineup tonight. It’s actually one of those situations that makes you think, ‘something has to give’. Now, either both pitchers return to their former selves over the course of one game, or one and/or both struggle like they have been to start the season. I think you know where I’m going with this…


MLB Betting Verdict
Take advantage of the low O/U number and take Over 6 runs for your MLB picks on Wednesday night. Bumgarner actually had an ERA north of 4 at home last year, so I’d say his odds of coming back to form tomorrow against the formidable Dodger lineup is relatively low. Kershaw looks to be the victim of some bad luck, especially with 26 K’s over three games. But, as long as it is not a shutout whirled by Kershaw and the rest of the Dodger pitching staff, I think 6 is a reasonable amount of runs to exceed in this game.

The MLB Pick: Over  6 runs at BookMaker

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