MLB Picks: Kershaw & Dodgers Have Decisive Edge Over Nationals

Jason Lake

Saturday, July 18, 2015 11:21 AM GMT

Assuming there aren't any more power outages, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals will lock horns Saturday afternoon. Which team belongs in our baseball picks?

Jason's 2015 record as of July 17: 32-25, plus-7.41 units ML; 0-3, minus-3.30 units Total
 

A funny thing happened Friday night at Nationals Park – the power went out. Three times. And Beyoncé wasn't even there, as far as we know. The game between the Washington Nationals and the Los Angeles Dodgers was suspended in the sixth inning after the lights along the third-base line went out. This will throw a monkey wrench into Saturday's planned start at 4:05 p.m. Eastern; the two teams will finish up Friday's game starting at 2:05 p.m. ET, which will no doubt be a lot of fun for our MLB picks. Let's solider on.

 

Born Under a Bad Sign
At least both starting pitchers will have their normal routines equally disrupted. Clayton Kershaw (2.39 FIP) will be taking the mound for Los Angeles; he's pitching well, but the Dodgers are just 9-9 in his 18 starts for a loss of 8.89 units. Only Corey Kluber has lost more money this year against the baseball odds. Cy Who?

Again, don't blame Kershaw. He's not quite as insanely dominant as he was last year when he was named National League MVP, but c'mon. The Dodgers are 1-5 this year in one-run games with Kershaw on the hill. All six of those games were quality starts. This is from an L.A. team that ranks second in the majors in hitting at 17.5 WAR, and first in relief pitching at 3.7 WAR. It's more dumb luck than too much chalk.

 

Tommy Can You Hear Me
Washington will be sending Doug Fister (4.48 FIP) to the mound on Saturday. This has been a surprisingly poor season from the 6-foot-8 northpaw; the Nats are 4-7 in his 11 starts, dropping 3.93 units in the process. Fister's fastball has dipped below 86 mph, yet he's throwing it nearly 70 percent of the time, a career-high, while avoiding his slider and curveball. There was talk back in May that Fister might need Tommy John surgery. Hmmmm.

The Nats remain quite pedestrian at the plate, ranking No. 14 overall at 10.9 WAR – and that's with Bryce Harper (1.168 OPS) providing over half the team's hitting value at 5.7 WAR. The bigger problem on Saturday could be with the No. 7-ranked bullpen (2.3 WAR). Both teams will have to use up some relievers to finish Friday's game, and it looks like the Dodgers are in better position to handle this challenge, especially with Kershaw likely to go deeper into the late innings than Fister.

 

Fantasy Corner
We'll definitely be recommending some Dodger power for your fantasy needs in this one. Current L.A. batter have a combined .858 OPS against Fister, and if you're not too gun-shy about adding SS Jimmy Rollins (.604 OPS), he's 3-for-10 lifetime against Fister with a double and a home run. Rollins is 53% owned in Yahoo leagues as we go to press.

Free MLB Pick: Take the Dodgers –164 at MarathonBet