We went 2-1 yesterday in our picks. A profitable day for sure, but it was very close to being a scoop as the Atlanta Braves came up just short against the Chicago Cubs. I liked the Braves at home with Mike Foltynewicz on the mound and backed them as small favorites. Sadly for us, Foltynewicz struggled and gave up five runs in six innings of work. The Braves kept the game close as they trailed by just one run from the seventh inning on but couldn’t drive the tying run across the plate.
With the win, the Cubs remained 4.5 games ahead of the surging St. Louis Cardinals for the National League Central Division crown. With the loss, the Braves lost half of a game to the Philadelphia Phillies who were idle yesterday and now hold a three-game lead over Philly for the NL East title. For today’s pick, I will head out west for a huge showdown in the National League West, as the Los Angeles Dodgers host the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are in Los Angeles Friday for game two of a four-game series with their arch-rivals, the Dodgers. There is plenty of bad blood between these two teams and just two games separate them atop the NL West Division standings. The DBacks took game one of the series last night 3-1, powered by a solid start from Robbie Ray and a three-RBI night from David Peralta. These teams will play each other several more times down the stretch and whichever team gets the best of these series will likely be crowned division champion when all is said and done.
This was supposed to be the Cy Young Award-winning matchup game. The original starting matchup was supposed to be Zack Greinke (13-8 2.93 ERA) squaring off against Clayton Kershaw. Instead, the Dodgers bumped Kershaw to tomorrow night and will now start Hyun-jin Ryu (4-1 2.18ERA) tonight. That is still a fantastic matchup, even if it lacks some star power. The Dodgers are -124 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at seven and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM PST from Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles.
Zack Greinke has put together yet another stellar season. He made another All-Star team and is the ace of this very good Arizona rotation. After a shaky April, Greinke has seen his ERA hover around the low two-run range the rest of the season. Greinke is 11-3 in his last fourteen decisions, and is helping lead his team to the playoffs again.
Greinke has made two starts against the Dodgers this season and is 2-0. However, both of those starts came clear back in April so it will be interesting to see how he fares against this completely retooled Dodgers lineup. The last time Greinke face L.A., they still had Corey Seager in the lineup and didn’t have Manny Machado or Brian Dozier.
Ryu missed most of the season with an injury but has been solid since making his return in mid-August. He is 1-1 with a 2.30 ERA in three starts since coming off the DL. But those stats may be a bit deceiving. Yeah, he hasn’t allowed many runs, but he has really struggled to get deep into games. In his last start, he was in a constant jam as he allowed eleven hits to the lowly San Diego Padres.
He escaped with the win as he gave up just two runs, only one earned, but it wasn’t like he was dominant. And in his start prior to that, he lasted just four innings and allowed three runs to the St. Louis Cardinals. Ryu has yet to eclipse the hundred pitch mark in any start this season, and with the way the Dodgers are babying their rotation right now, I highly doubt we will see him past the fifth inning in this one either.
This would have been a much tougher pick if the Dodgers had stuck with their plan to start Kershaw tonight. That would have been a blockbuster matchup and very tough to handicap. But this matchup with Ryu and Greinke? I see Greinke as clearly the side to be on. Neither team has played well in August, and I don’t see how you can ever see this as anything more than a coin flip at best, even if you are a Dodgers fan.
The standard Dodgers bias has pushed this number to a very attractive one as I see the DBacks as small favorites in this one, and I get to back them getting some solid dog money. I don’t know this for sure, but I would be willing to bet that the Dodgers have lost more games as favorites this year than any other team in the majors. And it’s not that they are bad, they are a solid squad, they are just favored in so many games that they shouldn’t be.
And tonight’s game is a perfect example. I have been betting against the Dodgers a lot this season and have been making all the money. I will continue that trend tonight and back the DBacks as road dogs. I expect a lower scoring affair that should come down to the last few innings, but given the opportunity to back the better team, with the better starter on the mound, I am going to jump all over it. Give me the Arizona Diamondbacks at +114 on the road in game two!