The National League playoffs are set now, but there's still a matter of pride between rivals as the Dodgers and Giants hook up in the final game on Wednesday's MLB betting card.
Who says Clayton Kershaw can't deliver when the pressure's on? Kershaw spun a 1-hit shutout Wednesday night to hand the NL West title to the Los Angeles Dodgers, striking out 13 San Francisco Giants in the process.
What we're left with is anyone's guess for tonight's contest, ESPN's cameras on hand for the 10:15 PM (ET) first pitch at AT&T Park. The sportsbooks won't even take a guess on the lineups for the almost meaningless game, though we do know the starting pitchers, Mike Bolsinger for LA and Mike Leake for San Francisco. Once the lines do come out, SBR's live baseball odds will have them.
Clubs Split First 2 Games Of Set
Los Angeles had Zack Greinke on the mound Monday with a chance to wrap up its third consecutive division title, but fell 3-2 in 12 innings. Jake Peavy was solid over the first seven innings for San Francisco and Alejandro de Aza's sac fly gave the Giants the victory.
Monday's win guaranteed San Francisco the season series title, but Tuesday's 8-0 triumph by LA clinched the division title. Kershaw, who closed as -130 chalk at most online sportsbooks, had more than enough offense from the LA lineup that poked three homers off Giants ace Madison Bumgarner to help the Dodgers halt a 6-game losing skid in San Francisco.
Wednesday's result left the Giants with a 145-144 record vs. LA this millennium, 73-70 at AT&T Park. The rivalry has been pretty even regardless where it was played in recent years, but changed this season with the home teams winning 13 of 17, Los Angeles' eight runs last night also stopping a 6-game run for the 'under' in San Francisco.
Wednesday Hurlers Having Rough Septembers
After serving as Don Mattingly's fifth arm in the rotation from late-April through July, Bolsinger was sent back to the minors in August before being recalled when rosters expanded for September. He has slogged through four uninspiring starts this month, LA managing to split the decisions despite Bolsinger's 6.88 ERA. A big problem has been control and the long ball with 12 walks and seven homers allowed in 17 September innings.
The former Arkansas standout faced the Giants twice before this year, one of them a decent start and both of them losses for the Dodgers. He almost got through the sixth in San Francisco in his LA debut on April 23, allowing one run and striking out five.
September has also been a bit unkind to Leake, the Giants dropping four of his five assignments while the 27-year-old righthander pitched to a 5.86 ERA. He's coming off consecutive losses to Arizona and at Oakland, combining for just nine innings in the two assignments while being charged with seven earned runs. The best of his outings this month came on September 2 in Los Angeles where Leake toiled for seven frames and allowed just two runs in a 2-1 loss.
Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
Mike Estabrook, the youngest member of Dana DeMuth's umpire crew, has the honors of calling balls and strikes in the next-to-last matchup of the season between the Dodgers and Giants. The Florida native brings a level 14-14 Home/Away record into the contest, also an even 10-10 when the home team is carrying the chalk on the baseball betting board. 'Over' bettors are ahead when Estabrook has the plate, 17 of his 28 assignments skipping past the totals. The 'over' has really taken off in the second half with a 9-3 O/U mark for Estabrook.
Overcast skies are expected in the San Francisco Bay Area, temps in the low-60s at first pitch with a 10 mph WNW breeze 9out to right-center). The Dodgers still have a little bit to play for, that being home-field advantage against the Mets in next week's NLDS, New York currently with a 1-game lead in that race. San Francisco should be the favorite tonight, perhaps 7-7½ for the total, and I'm currently leaning on the 'over' for my free MLB pick.
My pick: No lines, lean 'Over'
Season: 88-82-4 (+6.5)