Tuesday's MLB Picks for the National League Division Series

Willie Bee

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 12:21 PM GMT

The Cardinals and Giants look to close out their NLDS matchups on Tuesday's MLB betting card, but will have to beat a couple of tough southpaws to finish off the Dodgers and Nats.

For the Washington Nationals, Monday's 4-1 triumph helped them avoid being swept out of the postseason by the San Francisco Giants. Meanwhile in St. Louis, a 3-1 Cardinals victory put the Redbirds in position to dispatch the favored Los Angeles Dodgers from the playoffs.

The Cards and Giants will each take 2-1 leads into Tuesday, and have the opportunity to end their division series in front of the home fans. Standing in their way are a couple of tough lefthanders, and MLB oddsmakers have placed chalk on the visiting Dodgers and Nationals.

Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly is sending Clayton Kershaw to the mound at Busch Stadium (5:07 PM ET) on short rest in an attempt to send the series back to Tinseltown for a decisive Game 5. St. Louis counters with Shelby Miller for the first postseason start of his career, and the Dodgers have settled in as -170 to -175 chalk.

The nightcap out in San Francisco finds Ryan Vogelsong delivering the game's first pitch at 9:07 PM (ET), Gio Gonzalez his counterpart for Washington. Gonzalez and the Nats are priced in the -125 to -130 range on the moneyline.

SBR's live MLB odds have a 6.5 run total for both contests, the 'over' slightly favored at AT&T Park.

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Can Cards Crack On Kershaw A 2nd Time?
Mattingly made his call to go with Kershaw on three days rest prior to the start of Monday's Game 3, that decision at least in part due to the uncertainty surrounding Game 3 starter Hyun-Jin Ryu who was making his first start since Sept. 12 due to shoulder issues. Kershaw will be looking to atone for a rare rough outing in the series opener when the Cardinals cracked a pair of homers and scored eight runs off the LA ace en route to a 10-9 victory. The Dodgers only lost consecutive starts by Kershaw once this season (May 11, 17), and are 20-3 since then.

Miller's only start against the Dodgers this season came against Kershaw in Los Angeles on June 29, and he allowed six runs in five frames to take the loss while Kershaw cruised with seven shutout innings.

Washington got a huge lift from Doug Fister -- and one bad play in the field by San Fran's Madison Bumgarner -- in Monday's triumph, and now turns to Gonzalez on Tuesday. It has been 12 days since Gonzalez last pitched, and he is seeing the Giants for the first time in 2014. He's no stranger to the G-Men or AT&T Park, however; Gonzalez is 1-1 with a 2.76 ERA in four starts from this mound, three of those while a member of the A's.

Vogelsong closed the regular season with three consecutive losses, and the Giants lost both of his outings against the Nats this season. He has a great postseason resume from the 2012 playoffs, winning three of his four starts with a 1.09 ERA.

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Umpire Notes, Final Thoughts & 2 Free Picks
The Dodgers in general, and Matt Kemp specifically, were not pleased with home plate umpire Dale Scott on Monday, so it will be interesting if a couple of early borderline calls by Eric Cooper tonight leads to anything. This is Cooper's 4th-straight division series, and ninth overall, and he was 14-13-3 O/U/P in the regular season.

Hunter Wendelstedt (11-14-4 O/U/P) will call balls and strikes in San Francisco, his fourth LDS plate assignment with the other three running 2-1 O/U.

Weather isn't going to be an issue for either game, the only thing worth mentioning being a 12-15 mph west wind in San Francisco (out to center). My two free MLB picks are focused on the scoreboard, and after both finals failed to reach the numbers on Monday, I'm expecting each to be breached today.

Free MLB picks: Dodgers-Cardinals Over 6.5 (-110); Nationals-Giants Over 6.5 (-115) at Bet 365
Season: 125-119-1 (+5.40)