The Dodgers did it again last night, running their road winning streak to 15 games; the longest streak in over 55 years, and have absolutely grabbed the National League West by the throat. They now lead by six full games and it seems all but impossible that this team WON’T be in the Playoffs. This is roughly a month after they were in last place and Don Mattingly was about to be fired… Things are good in Los Angeles, but things might be a little less-optimistic in Vegas. At one point about six weeks ago the Dodgers World Series odds grew all the way to 40:1. Not a bad wager to have in your hip pocket today as they cruise towards the postseason.
They will have their work cut out for them tonight if they want to keep it going, as the Cardinals and their major league-leading run differential get set to host them for the second game of the series. Can St. Louis stop the magical run? Let’s dig inside tonight’s matchup for today’s free pick.
Los Angeles Dodgers -150 at St. Louis Cardinals +141 (Total: 6.5)
Clayton Kershaw (10-6, 1.87 ERA) vs. Joe Kelly (2-3, 3.06 ERA)
How does a guy with an ERA under two and an even-more-ridiculous WHIP of 0.83 have just a 10-6 record?!? Regardless of the win/loss tally, now that the offense is clicking the way it is, unless the Dodgers run into a top-flight starter on a super-sharp day, it is hard to see Kershaw taking too many losses the remainder of the season. In his last three outings he is 2-0 with an ERA of 1.17 and a WHIP of 0.57 over 23.2 innings. Basically, he has been flawless for the entire game until handing the ball over to the closer in the ninth.
Kershaw will have to be sharp to handle the Cardinals lineup in Busch Stadium, but I think he will be up to the task. The Cardinals have shown some vulnerability to top-flight pitching recently, despite their propensity to explode the scoreboard against “normal” foes. Kershaw would certainly qualify as abnormal. Aside from the win total, his season compares favorably to some of the best seasons we have seen amassed in the last few decades. If he were to finish the season leading the league in WHIP and K’s, as well as finish with a sub-two ERA we are talking Pedro Martinez, Justin Verlander rarified air.
I like the Dodgers to be able to take advantage of Joe Kelly tonight. The young righty moved to the starting rotation at the beginning of July and has done an excellent job. In his last three starts he has been even better than Kershaw. Kelly has a 2-0 record with a 0.51 ERA. However, his WHIP of 1.25 tells me he has been able to pitch himself out of some trouble at times. I think there is a little extra pressure on a young pitcher when you know Kershaw is on the other bump.
I like the Dodgers to win, but I also like the value of getting them all the way up at +125 on the -1.5 runline. I’m doubling up on tonight’s pick to hopefully start the week off with a pair of wins.
Free Picks: Los Angeles Dodgers to WIN -150 & Dodgers -1.5 (+125)