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Dodgers at Pirates – August 14th Pick

Los Angeles Dodgers -118 at Pittsburgh Pirates +108

Chad Billingsly vs. Kevin Correia

This is a vital series for both teams, as they are jostling not just for their division leads but also the soft-landing of the wildcard berth should they fall short.  Pittsburgh, though in better shape for the wildcard, might be in the more precarious position as they have fallen a full five games back in the division and this year more than ever, you really need to win the division.  Despite the prolonged absence of Joey Votto, the Reds continue to extend their lead in the Central, and the Pirates can’t afford too many more losses.

The Dodgers meanwhile, as in an absolute thrilling back-and-forth with the San Francisco Giants.  They are in a dead heat after the Dodgers win and the Giants 14-2 loss to the Washington Nationals.  By the way, the Nationals are now an insane 28-games over .500 and a mortal lock for the playoffs, innings limit to Stasburg be damned!

The Dodgers have won all four meetings with Pittsburgh this season and nine of ten overall dating back to last year.  Tonight they send Chad Billingsly to see if both he and the Dodgers can continue their dominance over the Pirates.  Billingsly is a perfect 3-0 in his last three starts with a 2.16 ERA and a WHIP of a sparkling 0.92.  Given some of the Pittsburgh offense’s struggles of late, this could be a very favorable matchup for LA.

The Pirates will counter with Kevin Correa, who like Billingsly, enters the game a perfect 3-0 in his last three outings, however his have been far less efficient outings and under some unique circumstances (I will explain in a minute).  His ERA of 4.24 and WHIP of 1.35 are not awful, but do indicate he has been fortunate to have garnered some run support in his recent efforts.  The numbers are also a tad misleading, in that two of his wins have come not in starts but in long relief appearances, after he was relegated to the bullpen after the slow start to his season.

The Dodgers have been scoring runs at a steady five-per-game clip over the past week or so.  I expect them to fare at least that well against Correia.  So the question is, can the Pirates snap Billingsly’s recent resurgence?  I think they don’t, so I like the Dodgers in tonight’s game, and love the near even-money line.

Free Pick:  Los Angeles Dodgers to WIN -118