Wednesday's Game Three
By: Willie Bee
All of the ingredients are there for a classic confrontation Wednesday evening in Los Angeles where the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants wrap up their third series of the 2013 MLB betting campaign.
The Dodgers have the brooms standing by as they take aim at a sweep of the Giants and their fifth consecutive win behind ace Clayton Kershaw. Los Angeles went out as -180 chalk, and we'll peg -175 for a morning consensus on the MLB odds board. Tim Lincecum is San Francisco's first line of defense to avoid the sweep, and the 6.5 run total is evenly priced high and low.
San Francisco's rally came up just a few inches short as Matt Kemp made a running grab of Marco Scutaro's drive to center for the final out with the tying run on second. Kemp was activated from the DL just before the contest that went to the Dodgers by a 6-5 count. Los Angeles took a 3-run lead into the top of the ninth, but Brandon League was once again ineffective closing out the victory, and manager Don Mattingly had to call on rookie Paco Rodriguez to finish things off for his first career save.
Lincecum's career numbers vs. the Dodgers are outstanding, including the last season-&-a-half when the little righty has struggled overall. After tossing five innings and allowing just two unearned runs at Dodger Stadium in April, San Francisco has won four of Lincecum's last five starts in this series (2.17 ERA), two of the three in LA (2.87).
He has been throwing pretty well this month, five walks in Atlanta 10 days ago the only bad mark, but the Giants have still found ways to lose his last three assignments.
Kershaw has been to the Giants what Detroit's Frank Lary was to the New York Yankees back in the day, only from the port side. Lary was known as 'Yankee Killer' when he first came up to the majors in the 1950s, and Kershaw has definitely been a Giants killer during his career. He has already built up 134 innings vs. San Fran with a sparkling 1.28 ERA, and his performance against the Giants on Opening Day was legendary.
It figures to be a few degrees warmer and a little more humid tonight in Los Angeles, but weather shouldn't be a factor otherwise.
Vic Carapazza is up next in the umpire crew to work the dish and brings a level 6-6-3 O/U/P mark into Wednesday's finale. A more interesting stat is visitors going 10-5 in his plate assignments (home favorites 4-6). The Dodgers, however, are 3-0 when Carapazza works the plate in LA.
The Dodgers are playing as well as they have all season, and I'm going to wipe out some of that chalk with a run-line play on LA to get the sweep.
My pick: Dodgers -1.5 (+130) at Bet365
Tuesday's Game Two
By: Willie Bee
A 5-game win streak vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers ended Monday night for the San Francisco Giants, and if the defending World Series champions can't get up off the mat with a victory on Tuesday, they'll fall below .500 for the first time since Opening Day.
It won't be easy to avoid another defeat as the Giants are being forced to dip into the minors for a starting pitcher in Game 2. San Francisco is sending Mike Kickham to the hill at Chavez Ravine where Stephen Fife gets the call for the Dodgers. That shift in the San Fran rotation delayed the MLB odds overnight, and the morning release had the Dodgers laying $1.35 with a 7.5 run total.
Hyun-Jin Ryu and Madison Bumgarner hooked up in a fine pitching duel Monday before LA broke open a 1-1 game with a pair of runs in the eighth. Bumgarner's own fielding gaffe aided the Dodgers' late uprising, and LA phenom Yasiel Puig continued his torrid start with two ribbies and three hits to raise his average to .442 in his first 20 games.
Chad Gaudin was SF's original Tuesday starter, but was placed on the DL Monday due to a bruised right forearm courtesy of a Derek Dietrich line drive last Thursday. Kickham made his major league debut about a month ago in the Giants' 6-3 loss at Oakland, needing 65 pitches to get one out into the third and having already walked four with four runs scoring. A 6th-round pick in 2010 out of Missouri State, the lefty has made 14 starts at Triple-A Fresno with a 4.81 ERA, the 33 walks in less than 79 innings a concern. He was rated No. 12 on San Fran's prospect list entering 2013.
Fife also struggled in his 2013 debut back in April when he made a spot start at the O's (4.2 IP, 4 ER), but has pitched well since rejoining the rotation on June 3. The 3rd-round pick by Boston in 2008 has a sparkling 2.35 ERA in four assignments this month, but due to poor run support or a leaky bullpen, the Dodgers are 1-3 in those efforts.
He faced the Giants once last season and pitched well in a no-decision at AT&T Park. Fife worked into the seventh of that contest, allowing just one run in LA's eventual 5-3 victory that took an extra frame to complete.
Gary Cederstrom is in line to call balls and strikes tonight; his last four plate assignments have gone OVER to give him a 7-4 O/U record on the season. Partly cloudy with temps in the low-70s are expected for the first pitch, a light WSW breeze blowing out to right.
Los Angeles might activate Matt Kemp for this game, and that could give the Dodgers just enough of a lift to make it two in a row over the Giants. I'll play the home chalk.My pick: Dodgers -135
Monday's Series Opener
By: Willie Bee
Doc Rivers might be the talk of Tinseltown right now, but by seven o'clock tonight, his moment in the LA sun will officially start to set.
Back by popular demand, one of the best rivalries in baseball helps kick off a slow week on the MLB betting schedule as the Los Angeles Dodgers host the San Francisco Giants for three games beginning Monday. It's part of a weeklong spotlight SBR is shining on the Dodgers, who despite being a baseball team, have more NBA drawing power in their front office than the Clippers will ever have on court.
Game 1 of the series matches a pair of southpaws as Madison Bumgarner takes his turn for the Giants opposite Hyun-Jin Ryu of the Dodgers. Los Angeles opened as a slight favorite with some outlets listing the game as a pick on their MLB odds board. A 6.5 run total is what scoreboard bettors are faced with.
Bumgarner, Ryu Meet For 2nd Time In 2013
Bumgarner got off to a fantastic start to the season before suffering through a rough month of May that spilled over to his first start of June. But he appears to have righted the ship with three consecutive wins and ranks in the top 20 of the National League in ERA along with top 10 slots in WHIP and strikeouts.
The lanky port-sider figures to continue his recent turnaround, if history is any indication. Bumgarner has been extremely tough on the Dodgers in LA with a 4-1 record and 1.58 ERA in five career starts and one relief appearance on this diamond.
One of Bumgarner's wins at Dodger Stadium was just a couple of months ago when he faced Ryu on April 2. Bumgarner worked the first eight innings of a 3-0 San Francisco victory in what was Ryu's MLB debut.
That was one of two starts vs. the Giants for Ryu, and the other was also a losing effort in San Francisco about a month later. The beefy South Korean has seen his last two outings go into the loss column for LA, but has definitely enjoyed pitching at Chavez Ravine so far. Ryu has helped the Dodgers to five victories in his seven home assignments, posting a 1.88 ERA and limiting batters to a .229 average from this bump.
Giants Seek 6th-Straight Win vs. Dodgers
San Francisco has the upper hand on the 2013 season series between the clubs after winning the last five meetings. The Giants' only loss to LA came Opening Day when Clayton Kershaw threw a 4-hit shutout and homered in a 4-0 decision.
Despite San Francisco's big advantage so far this year, you won't find a more evenly-matched pair of division foes in the 21st century. The clubs have split the 120 games played since the start of the 2000 campaign, and even take it a step further with both teams 60-60 in their home parks during that span.
Two of the three played in Los Angeles earlier this season stayed UNDER the total, and five of the last six on this diamond failed to reach the scoreboard tally.
It doesn't appear that weather is going to be a factor for Monday's series opener, the rest of this series or later this week when the Phillies come to Los Angeles. A few clouds, temps in the upper-60s and a light WSW breeze (out to left-center) are expected for the start of tonight's game.
The Giants are in a bit of a funk having dropped three of their last four and sitting 9-12 for the month of June. Still, I like Bumgarner in this park and, for my sports picks, will play San Fran to begin its 10-game road trip with a dubya.
Game 1 pick: Giants +103 at Bet365