By: Willie Bee
Zack Greinke saw his scoreless inning string come to a quick end Wednesday night, but the Los Angeles Dodgers righthander was still no match for the Miami Marlins.
Los Angeles now takes aim at its 75th win and sixth consecutive series triumph on Thursday behind ace Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers went out as -240 favorites on the overnight MLB odds, and the moneyline remains in that general vicinity following early trading. Henderson Alvarez opposes Kershaw with a 6 run total priced 20¢ or more to the OVER.
Greinke served up a 1st-inning homer to Giancarlo Stanton in Game 3, then stonewalled the Marlins the next seven innings in LA's 4-1 victory. Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier provided the bulk of the offense for the Dodgers with two hits each. Los Angeles hasn't lost a series since mid-June in Pittsburgh, winning 13 of their next 17 with four sets ending in a draw.
Kershaw is coming off consecutive victories, the most recent last Saturday in Philadelphia where the lefty tossed the first eight innings of LA's five-zip win. He has not allowed more than two runs in any of his six starts since the all-star break, four of those contests ending in the win column for the Dodgers.
The Marlins missed facing Kershaw on their trip to Los Angeles earlier this year, and they haven't had much luck against him in the past. Six career starts against the Fish have yielded four wins for the Dodgers, including an assignment at Marlins Park in Aug. 2012, with Kershaw forging a 2.38 ERA in nearly 42 innings.
Alvarez is taking on the Dodgers for the first time in his career, and searching for his first victory since July 31 vs. the Mets. The Venezuelan has kept the Marlins in the game the last three times out, but all ended in defeat for Miami. A notorious ground ball pitcher, Alvarez has served up just one home run in his 58 innings since joining the rotation in early-July.
Jim Reynolds should complete a circuit in umpire rotation on Thursday, and has shown no strong trends either way as far as totals betting goes with a 14-12 O/U record. However, seven of his last eight plate assignments at Busch have gone OVER. With the thermometer possibly reaching 90º and a 40% chance of rain for the matinee start (12:40 PM ET), the roof at Marlins Park will be shut.
Six is a tiny total even for a game involving Kershaw, but I'm still going to go UNDER for my free pick in Thursday's match.
Wednesday's Game Three
By: Willie Bee
Even when Los Angeles Dodgers rookie outfielder Yasiel Puig is bad, he's good.
Puig was fined for showing up late to the ballpark Tuesday, then came off the bench late to hit the game-winning homer for the Dodgers in their 6-4 win over the Miami Marlins. The victory helped snap a mini 2-game losing streak for LA and even up the 4-game set that continues Wednesday night with Game 3.
Los Angeles is the heavy -170 favorite behind Zack Greinke; former Dodger Nate Eovaldi gets the starting nod for the Marlins with the MLB odds listing a 7 run total that is taxed a little higher on the UNDER.
Greinke heads into Wednesday's start working on a string of shutout baseball that started in LA against the Rays on Aug. 10. He went an out into the seventh of that 5-0 win, and continued the run last Friday in Philadelphia by tossing 7.1 scoreless frames in a four-zip triumph vs. the Phils. The Dodgers have won 10 of his last 11 starts with Greinke pitching to a 2.25 ERA in the span.
He was still on the DL when the Marlins came to Los Angeles in May, and will be pitching for the first time in their new stadium. While with the Royals and Brewers, he faced the Fish for four starts, all victories for his squads despite a 5.25 ERA.
Nate Eovaldi is coming off a horrible assignment vs. the Giants that resembled him throwing batting practice. San Francisco raked 12 hits and scored 11 times (9 earned) before chasing him four batters into the fourth inning in Miami last Friday. The Houston native is facing his former teammates for the second time, the other last August after being dealt from LA, and he also pitched just three innings in that game while surrendering six runs.
James Hoye (11-14-1 O/U/P) should be calling the balls and strikes on Wednesday, his first appearance at Marlins Park this season. Hoye had the plate twice in Miami last year, each time a Marlins victory with one UNDER and a push. Home underdogs are 2-3 in his dish assignments for 2013.
Check out our Wednesday Morning MLB Odds & Betting Lines Report.
We assume Puig will be on time tonight and in the starting lineup for the Dodgers. Who knows, maybe the talk LA manager Don Mattingly had with the youngster on Tuesday will pay off and Puig is even more focused than before, a scary thought considering how well he's played up to now. We know that Greinke is dialed in, and that's the main reason I'm going to off the Dodgers on the run line for my free sports pick tonight.
My MLB Pick: Dodgers -1.5 (-110)
Tuesday's Game Two
By: Willie Bee
Stuck in their first 2-game losing skid in more than two months, the Los Angeles Dodgers turn to veteran lefty Chris Capuano on Tuesday to level their series in Miami against the Marlins. Rookie righthander Jacob Turner, part of the return the Fish received from the Tigers in the trade that sent Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to Motown, will be looking to help the Marlins to just their second 3-game win streak of the second half.
The Dodgers are favorites in the -140 to -150 range on the morning MLB odds, and a 7.5 run total priced evenly high/low also awaits baseball bettors.
We failed to cash with the Dodgers last night, but should we place our faith in them once again? Perhaps a play on the total would be the safest place to look. Which of these options looks best for our MLB picks tonight?
Jose Fernandez was definitely up to the task in Monday's opener, throwing six strong frames and striking out eight would-be LA hitters. Giancarlo Stanton's solo shot ignited a 3-run eighth for the Marlins in the 6-2 victory.
Capuano's last two assignments have been ugly (9.1 IP combined, 20 Hits, 9 ER), but LA still managed to win them and the Dodgers are on a 6-game win streak with the lefty on the hill. He managed to pick up his first win of the season against the Marlins on May 12, pitching into the seventh and making just one mistake, a Justin Ruggiano solo shot. Tuesday will be Capuano's second assignment at Marlins Park, and the first was a dandy last August when he worked eight shutout, 2-hit innings with 10 strikeouts.
The Marlins snapped a 5-game skid with Turner on the bump last Wednesday in Kansas City, though he didn't stick around to figure into the decision. Six walks in five innings accelerated his pitch count, but it was a far better result than the previous start in Atlanta when he served up three meatballs while surrendering five runs.
Miami has dropped Turner's last two starts at home after winning his first four times out in front of the home fans. The 1st-round pick by Detroit in 2009 is sporting a 2.34 ERA in six home outings and has yet to surrender a homer at Marlins Park (42.1 IP).
One of the many part-time umps to fill in while regulars take their in-season vacations, Quinn Wolcott had been toiling in the Pacific Coast League the past few seasons before making his MLB debut earlier this year. He's still wet behind the ears at just 26 years old, and Tuesday should be his 10th plate assignment in the bigs. Five of the previous nine have gone OVER, and only twice in those games did the home team win.
We didn't think the Dodgers would lose two straight, and it certainly doesn't seem likely they will drop three consecutive games. But instead of riding the chalk line again, my free sports pick will be on the OVER.
My pick: Dodgers-Marlins Over 7.5 (-110) at Bet365
Monday's Series Opener
By: Willie Bee
A 10-game win streak came to a halt Sunday for the Los Angeles Dodgers in a 3-2 setback at Philadelphia. But hey, it took a couple of 9th-inning errors by shortstop Hanley Ramirez for the Phillies to pull it off, and the Dodgers remain the hottest team going in the big leagues with a 42-9 mark since bottoming out at 30-42 on June 21st.
While the Dodgers weren't able to pull off the sweep in Philly, the Miami Marlins had just enough on Sunday to avoid the Giants' brooms to begin this 10-game home stand. Having been officially out of the playoff hunt since last November, it was only the fourth win in the last 14 games for the Marlins.
It certainly sets up a bit of a David vs. Goliath clash in the Sunshine State as LA comes in for just its second series at the new Marlins Park. That disparity in the two clubs should be especially evident in the odds for the final two games when the Dodgers are scheduled to pitch Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw. But first, we get to see two of the best rookie pitchers in the majors to begin the series on Monday.
Hyun-Jin Ryu will lead things off for Los Angeles, and the MLB odds opened with the Dodgers light $1.20 chalk, a price that has been pushed up to around $1.30 following overnight wagering. The Marlins counter with Jose Fernandez, who would get my vote for NL Rookie of the Year today, and the total is 6.5 runs with a few flat-6's also on the board.
Ryu Unbeaten During Dodgers' Torrid Run
Los Angeles's 42-9 run since June 21st includes a perfect 9-0 record in Ryu's starting assignments. He hasn't lost since the Yankees beat him in New York on June 19th, and has earned the dubya himself each of his last five trips to the mound.
Five of his assignments during this 9-0 stretch for the Dodgers have come on the road, though the lefty has definitely enjoyed pitching at home (1.78 ERA, 11 starts) more than away from Chavez Ravine (4.09 ERA, 12 starts). Two early games at Baltimore and San Francisco, his first trips into those stadiums, are responsible for most of that road ERA. Ryu was money against the Marlins in LA back in May, helping the Dodgers to a 7-1 win as -200 favorites.
Fernandez has been almost as successful as Ryu the past eight weeks or so, with the Marlins 7-2 in his last nine starts while the youngster pitched to a 1.65 ERA. The Fish have also won his last seven assignments in Miami where Fernandez owns a miniscule 1.39 ERA in 11 starts.
Miami's only win in LA earlier this year came with the right-hander on the hill. Fernandez allowed the Dodgers three first inning runs, then posted zeroes the next five innings while the Marlins fought back for the victory. That was before Yasiel Puig was in the lineup for Los Angeles, and it should be an interesting confrontation when the two Cubans square off in the series opener.
Dodgers Seek 5th-Straight Series Win Over Marlins
The Dodgers have won the last four series vs. the Marlins, taking two of three each time. This will be the first 4-game set between the clubs since 2008, the last 4-gamer in Miami coming a season earlier. Los Angeles is 42-38 all-time vs. the Marlins in Florida, and the three games on this diamond a year ago were divvied up 1-1-1 O/U/P on the totals.
We suspect the roof will be shut at Loria Land for all four games this week, with the thermometer one reason and a 30%-40% chance of rain each day the other.
As much as I like Fernandez, one stat sticks out to me most and that is the Dodgers haven't lost consecutive games since June 20-21. I'm going with the chalk on Monday when I make my free sports pick on LA.
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