We picked up an easy win last night when we took the over in the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics game. The number was a big one at nine runs, but there was just too much uncertainty in the starting pitching matchup to not love the over.
The Angels started Japanese import Shohei Ohtani in his first ever major league start. Ohtani had a terrible spring, and many were questioning the fact that he even made the opening day roster for the Angels. Nevertheless, here he was starting for the Halos, and he was actually not all that bad.
He started out shaky and gave up three runs in the first two innings, but the settled down and finished strong. Ohtani retired fourteen out of the last fifteen batters he faced and ended up with a respectable line of six innings of work, giving up three runs on just three hits, and striking out six.
The final score of 7-4 easily covered the over, and we didn’t even really need to sweat it as these teams combined for five runs in the game’s first two innings and had the number covered by the seventh inning. Today we will switch gears to the National League as the Arizona Diamondbacks host the Los Angeles Dodgers.
A rivalry is renewed tonight in Arizona as the Diamondbacks host the Dodgers in game one of a three-game series with Los Angeles. These two teams battled back and forth last season, and the Dodgers were able to end the Diamondbacks season by knocking them out of the playoffs. There is never any love lost between these two very good division rivals.
The Dodgers finally had their bats show up last night as they pounded the Giants 9-0 in the finale of a four-game series that saw the Dodgers get shutout twice. They will start Korean pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu (0-0 0.000 ERA) tonight in his first start of the year.
The Diamondbacks will counter with Tajuan Walker (0-0 0.00 ERA). The Dodgers are -116 money line betting favorites. The game total over-under is set at nine runs. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 PM PST from Chase Field in Phoenix.
The Dodgers finally looked a little more like the team we thought they would be last night. After getting shutout in the season’s first two games, they exploded for nine runs last night. You have to wonder which team we will be seeing more of this season, the one that couldn’t score or the one that we saw last night.
The Dodgers young stars are all struggling out of the gate. Bellinger is hitting .154, Seager is hitting .091, and Chris Taylor is hitting .264. All of those guys had breakout seasons last year for the Dodgers and will need to play big roles again this year if the Dodgers are going to repeat as division champs.
Hyun-Jin Ryu never looked right last year. After his first two seasons in the bigs that saw Ryu win fourteen games each year with an ERA in the low threes, he got hurt and missed almost all of the 2016 season.
2017 was not the bounce-back year the Dodgers had hoped for, and even for a team that was winning at a historic pace for much of the season, Ryu managed to have a losing record at 5-9, with the highest ERA of his career at 3.77.
It will be very interesting to see what Ryu can bring this season, will he ever get back to where he was when he first broke into the league? Or has injury turned him into a below average arm?
For the Diamondbacks, we have Tajuan Walker on the mound. The D-Backs brought in Walker from Seattle for Jean Segura and Mitch Haniger. Both Segura and Haniger are playing great for the Mariners, where Walker has been a bit underwhelming. Walker had his best season yet in the big leagues last year for Arizona and is still very young at just twenty-five years old.
Walker enjoyed the lowest ERA of his career at 3.49 and struck out hitters at the highest rate of his career. But the D-Backs were expecting a future ace of their staff when they moved Segura and Haniger, two All-Star caliber players, to get him.
So, Arizona is hoping to see big things out of Walker this year, and I expect that they will. He has great stuff and is finally settling into the pitching-friendly National league. This could be the year the prospect finally comes into his own and wins fifteen plus games.
This is a close game. Both teams are expected to be good this year. Both teams are very familiar with each other, and I expect a hard-fought game. But I was very surprised to see the Dodgers as favorites in this one.
Most of their lineup is struggling to hit right now, and Walker is the real deal. They are forced to hope that Ryu just suddenly reverts back to the 2015 version of himself to shut down this high-powered Diamondbacks lineup? I don’t know about all of that.
I don’t think Arizona is a lock by any means, but I feel I am getting the best of the starting pitching matchup and I get to back a home underdog, something that I love to do. So, I will back Arizona getting a bit of dog money and hope we see more Dodgers struggles at the plate.
Give me the Arizona Diamondbacks as home underdogs at -104 tonight!
The Bet: Arizona Diamondbacks -104