By: Willie Bee
It cost the Los Angeles Dodgers about $150 million to reel in last winter's top free agent pitcher, and Friday night they'll expect Zack Greinke to start paying off on that investment with a winning effort against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Greinke will make his official Dodgers debut in front of the home fans in a 10:10 PM (ET) first pitch. Jonathan Sanchez is on tap for the visiting Pirates who, like the Dodgers, are off to a 1-2 start. Unlike the Dodgers, Pittsburgh is not expected to contend for the playoffs this season, and the Bucs certainly aren't expected to win this series opener with LA going out as $2.00 chalk on the opening odds released Thursday afternoon. 5Dimes set their baseball odds lines Friday morning at -190 LA, +180 Pittsburgh.
Friday's game total started off at a unanimous 7 at shops listed on SBR's live odds, and leaned a bit to the OVER at most locales on the morning lines
Greinke Likely To Be On Pitch Count in First Start
We've seen a few starting pitchers work deep into games already this week, including LA's Clayton Kershaw who went the distance Monday with a 4-zip shutout. That shouldn't be the case Friday night with Greinke, unless he can get 27 outs on just 75-80 pitches.
The righthander is with his fourth team in as many seasons, and there's no doubt he'll want to get comfortable in his new surroundings after inking a fat contract this offseason. His debut comes under a little extra pressure for the team overall; the Dodgers can't afford to lose a second-straight home series to start a landslide in the media.
Greinke missed a portion of spring with a cranky elbow, but he finished camp on a high note with a good go against the potent Angels last weekend in the preseason Freeway Series. Facing mostly Halos regulars, Greinke got in five innings with five whiffs and only one run crossing on three hits and a walk.
Just how much support Greinke gets is another question after the Dodgers scored all of seven runs in the 3-game set vs. San Francisco, four of those in one inning on Opening Day. Carl Crawford collected five of the 16 hits LA accrued in the series while Matt, Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez and Luis Cruz went a combined 1-for-29.
Can Pirates Stop 20-Year Skid?
Pittsburgh certainly didn't get off to a good start towards stopping a string of 20 consecutive losing seasons. If it wasn't for the Miami Marlins, the Cubs might be the top pick for a National League basement finish, and the Pirates opened 2013 by dropping two of three at home to Chicago's North Siders.
The Pirates managed to score six runs against that vaunted Cubs pitching staff in Pittsburgh, then got to spend all night flying out to Los Angeles for an early season NL West swing.
Sanchez will be trying to get his career back on track with his fourth team in three seasons. Like Greinke, he signed a free agent contract this year, albeit a minor league deal with Pittsburgh instead of a huge contract in Tinseltown, where he made two very effective starts for the Giants in 2011, the last times he was on this mound (12.2 IP/2 ER).
Weather should not be a factor Friday evening, nor the rest of the weekend as I continue to follow this 3-game series at Chavez Ravine with free picks. The uppers 60s are forecast for game times Friday and Saturday evenings, with a light breeze blowing out to right/right-center for those games. Sunday afternoon's contest should climb to the mid-70s on the thermometer with a breeze blowing in from left-center. Bettors will obviously want to confirm the weather closer to each contest, and if there are drastic changes, I'll make sure and note it in the previews the next two games.
As bad as the Dodgers lineup has been, Pittsburgh's is even worst. Half of the six runs the Bucs scored vs. the Cubs came in a total of 1.1 innings against their closer, and I use that term loosely when it comes to Carlos Marmol. There's no joy for me in laying a moneyline like this one, and LA's sleepy offense scares me off the run line. My baseball pick will be in the UNDER in Game 1 of this series.
My pick: Pirates-Dodgers Under 7 (+100) at 5Dimes
Season: 3-3 ($0.05)
Check out our Friday Baseball Picks of the Day to see an alternative betting play for this match-up~
By: Willie Bee
It's going to be difficult for Clayton Kershaw to top his Opening Day performance, but he'll try Saturday night when he takes the hill against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Game 2 of this 3-game set is on tap for a 9:10 PM (ET) first pitch, and Pittsburgh's AJ Burnett will oppose Kershaw in the initial mound matchup. Burnett may be the Bucs' ace, but the veteran isn't getting any respect from the folks setting the baseball odds. Los Angeles opened as a -220 to -230 favorite, and the moneyline was still sitting in that vicinity Saturday morning.
The total opened at 6, the same mark we saw in Kershaw's debut this past Monday, and was priced evenly at -105 on both sides at 5Dimes.
It was business as usual as far as this series has gone recently in Friday night's opener when LA posted a 3-0 victory behind Zack Greinke who was making his Dodgers debut. The victory was the 10th for Los Angeles in the last 11 meetings, and seventh straight over the Bucs at Chavez Ravine. It's worth pointing out that Pittsburgh's lone triumph in the most recent 11 matchups came with Burnett on the mound.
Burnett really just made one mistake in his season opener, and it cost him dearly. Chicago's Anthony Rizzo took him deep, which is no shame since this kid is going to poke homers off a lot of pitchers before his career is said and done with, and that blast accounted for two of the three runs Burnett allowed the Cubs in his nearly six innings of work. The righthander did chalk up 10 Ks in the outing, and will be making just his second career start at Dodger Stadium on Saturday. This one can't go much worse than the other one (3 IP, 6 ER, 6 BB).
Kershaw enjoyed about as good of a game a starting pitcher can have, save for a perfect effort, in his season opener. The southpaw went the distance with a 4-0 blanking of the San Francisco Giants, striking out seven in the 94-pitch performance, and homered to snap a scoreless tie and drive in Los Angeles' winning run in the contest. Six previous career assignments vs. the Pirates have yielded a 3-3 record for the Dodgers and 3.08 ERA for Kershaw.
There still should be a little sunlight left when the game gets underway a little past six o'clock local time, and the temps should stay in the mid-60s for most of the tilt on what will be a slightly humid evening for Los Angeles. Crew chief Gerry Davis will have the plate for this one after working the season opener inArizona between the D-Backs and Cardinals on Monday (game went UNDER).
The UNDER has been the way to go in the games at Dodger Stadium so far this year, and that's the way I'm going to play it again for my baseball picks on Saturday night.
Season: 4-3 ($1.05)
By: Willie Bee
Another Game at Dodger Stadium, Another UNDER for Bettors. Yawn.
The 3-game series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates concludes this afternoon, and the biggest question is will either lineup break out and take control of the game. A grand total of four runs were produced in the first two games, all on LA's side of the scoreboard, with the Pirates and Dodgers averaging just 1.7 runs per game between them as the first week of the 2013 season comes to an end.
Sunday's finale pits a pair of lefthanders with Los Angeles sending Hyun-Jin Ryu to the mound to make his second start of season opposite Pittsburgh's Jeff Locke, who is making his season debut baseball odds at The Greek list the Dodgers as -157 chalk while the Pirates are drawing a +147 return. Most betting outlets charted on SBR's live odds have 7.5 for the total and priced a bit higher to the low side of that figure.
Los Angeles' two aces, Zack Grienke and Clayton Kershaw, are responsible for extending the Pirates' early season woes through the first two contests. Greinke worked into the seventh inning Friday in his Dodgers debut before turning the whitewashing over to the LA bullpen, and Kershaw lengthened his scoreless inning streak to begin 2013 to 16 with seven frames of zeroes on Saturday night.
Pittsburgh's offense managed just six runs in the series against the Cubs before coming to LA, and the Bucs are hitting an MLB-worst .117 after the first two contests with the Dodgers. Considering they will be seeing Ryu for the first time, it doesn't figure to get much better for the Pirates today.
Some of the LA hitters got a look at Locke last season when he made a 2-inning relief appearance against the Dodgers at PNC Park. Locke finished 2012 with a 5.50 ERA in 34.1 IP, but won a spot in the rotation with a nice spring (2.63 ERA, 27.1 IP).
Dan Iassogna has plate duty for the second time this season, the first coming last Tuesday in St. Louis' 6-1 victory at Arizona (U 8.5). Totals ran 13-21-1 O/U/P in his 35 contests last year, and 40-60-4 the past three seasons.
It should be a nice day in the general LA area with mostly sunny skies and temps settling into the mid-70s during the afternoon. There is a 10 mph SW wind in the forecast (out to right center).
Both lineups might finally have some fun today, but I'm not about to try and outguess a streak. The UNDER will be among my baseball picks on Sunday.
Season: 5-3 ($2.05)