The Tigers were an easy upset winner yesterday, depending upon when your wager was placed paying out between +140 and +125. However, I also had the run total eclipsing 8.5, so it was a positive-money split on the picks. Justin Masterson held up his end of the OVER bargain, getting beat around the yard by the Tigers, but Ricky Porcello and his plus-five ERA turned in a gem, allowing just five hits and two walks in seven shutout innings.
In other baseball action, the Dodgers remained hot, hammering Matt Cain for seven runs in a season low 2 2/3 innings, and concern is starting to mount for the defending World Series champs. Their staff ERA is now up to 4.13, 11th best in the National League, and their starting pitchers, long considered the strength of the ball club have turned in a 4.68 ERA, good for 14th and ahead of only Milwaukee’s staggering 5.07.
The Giants are heavy favorites tonight with Madison Baumgarner on the mound, so can he deal the Dodgers only their third loss in their last 15 games?
Let’s dig inside a great West Coast rivalry for Saturday’s free pick.
Los Angeles Dodgers +155 at San Francisco Giants -162 (Total: 7)
Stephen Fife (3-2, 2.68 ERA) vs. Madison Baumgarner (8-5, 3.08 ERA)
With Cain, Lincecum and Zito all struggling with ERA’s well north of 4, Madison Baumgarner on the mound tonight amounts to their streak-snapper; their ace to stop the bleeding. The Giants lost three straight in Cincinnati before a rainout Thursday, but got right back to their losing ways getting hammered 10-2 by the streaking Dodgers last night. The Giants have lost nine of their last ten, and while their starting pitching has let them down all season, the bats have been more to blame the last two weeks. They have scored two or less runs EIGHT TIMES in their last ten games, and have been outscored 45-20.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers have scored at least four runs in nine of their last ten games and have tallied a stunning 60 runs in that stretch. Yet tonight, I can get them at +155 with a young starter pitching for them with an ERA UNDER three?? Madison Baumgarner might do what he is supposed to do tonight and stem the tide, but looking at how his offense has been going, how the Dodgers have been going, and the momentum in general, +155 is a fantastic value pick.
I’m going to take the underdog yet again tonight. Until Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig show any signs of cooling off, I’m sticking with Dodger blue, especially when I’m getting big plus-money lines. I know Matt Kemp got hurt yet again last night, but with Carl Crawford at the ready to be the third outfielder, I really don’t think they’ll suffer too much, even if Kemp’s absence is prolonged.
Free Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers to WIN +155