Padres vs. Dodgers: Bet 'Under' as Solid Pitchers Face Struggling Offenses

David Lawrence

Sunday, May 24, 2015 12:13 PM GMT

Can the San Diego Padres get it going on Sunday against the Dodgers and possibly cash on the MLB lines? They’ve now scored just three runs in their last four games. 

The San Diego Padres Can Win Because…
They are going to trust their starting pitcher to get the job done. James Shields, as many know, has developed the reputation and moniker of “Big Game James.” This really doesn’t apply to the postseason, because Shields was poor in October. However, during the regular season, Shields brings it when his team really has to grab a win and perhaps turn around a downward slide. Shields doesn’t have a great ERA, but it’s not terrible, either: 3.74. Moreover, Shields is beginning to round into form. He went through a terrible period of five starts, from April 17 through May 8, in which he allowed at least three runs per game. He did not pitch beyond six innings in any of those games. However, in his last two starts, Shields has given up a total of three runs in 13 innings, going seven innings in his most recent start on May 19 against the Chicago Cubs. Shields’ improvement suggests that he is loosening up and beginning to find better rhythm on the mound. This is a natural progression for most pitchers, as they shake off rust and cold-weather tightness at the beginning of the season and become something much closer to their natural selves in late May and early June (and onward).

What the MLB odds underdog Padres will also like and appreciate about Shields is this: In his last two starts, he has struck out a total of 20 hitters. In his previous two starts, he struck out 14. Striking out 14 hitters in two games is good, but raising that to 20 shows that Shields still has a live arm with really good stuff. He’s going to be hard to hit for a Dodger team that went 35 innings without scoring a run this past week, and which tallied only two runs against San Diego pitching in the first game of this series on Friday night.

Check out Dave's MLB pick for Cardinals vs. Royals, too.

The Los Angeles Dodgers Can Win Because…
If you don’t know Carlos Frias, you need to know that he’s a really good pitcher on a Dodger staff that has rallied around the fact that Hyun-Jin Ryu is done for the season with an injury. Frias started the season as a reliever, but he’s been effective and valuable as a spot starter. He has given up a total of seven runs in his four spot starts, totaling 22 1/3 innings. He has a 2.55 ERA and is stabilizing the Dodgers’ rotation. In his most recent start, Frias went six innings and gave up just one run against the San Francisco Giants, a team that’s been playing great. Frias can be trusted, even though he’s much less of a household name than Shields.

 

Outlook
Shields did get roughed up a couple of times to start May but other than that, he’s been mostly spotless. He has allowed three earned runs or less in seven of his nine starts. As for Frias, he’s posted an ERA of 2.82 this month as a starter. With two solid pitchers and two struggling offenses, go under with your MLB picks in this one.

MLB Pick: Under at GT Bets