Two days to go and the playoffs could be officially set after tonight’s results. The Rockies need only a win tonight or a Milwaukee loss to officially eliminate the possibility of a one-game tie-breaker. Of course, they’ll have to beat Clayton Kershaw to do it themselves. Given the lengthy time between Sunday and the Thursday start of the postseason, the Dodgers have elected to run Kershaw out to the bump to try and grab his 19th win of the season.
Just writing that sentence feels weird. “20th” makes more sense, but I suppose they want to keep Kershaw on normal rotation. However, if he is still on the mound in the seventh, I’ll be surprised. However, I am not sure that gives Colorado as distinct an advantage as it sounds on the surface. Los Angeles boasts the best bullpen in the National League with a 3.40 ERA, nearly a half-run better than the next-best Diamondbacks. So a “bullpen game”, even with Kershaw on the mound, isn’t a losing proposition.
There’s some pressure on the Rockies tonight, who would likely prefer entertaining the doomsday scenario on Sunday, but come on man, it is KERSHAW, so a loss tonight blamed on pressure would be a little disingenuous…
Today’s MLB Pick:
Los Angeles Dodgers -180 at Colorado Rockies +170 (Total: 9.5)
Clayton Kershaw (18-4, 2.21 ERA) vs. German Marquez (11-7, 4.38 ERA)
The Dodgers DO actually have something to play for tonight. Their 102 wins sits just one game better than the ridiculously surging Indians, and thanks to the dumped All Star ‘winner take all’ nonsense, one more win will help them secure home field advantage throughout the entire postseason, should it prove necessary. And, should they actually win two series in the NL first…
So, the ball goes to Kershaw as opposed to him resting idly on the bench, and the Dodgers will be looking to win. The good news is, they nearly ALWAYS do when Kershaw is pitching. His 18-4 record is the best in the league. His 2.21 ERA is stunning in the modern era, and the Dodgers have won eight of his last ten starts. They are just 2-2 in the last four, but that feels like more aberration than any sign of alarm.
Meanwhile, German Marquez is just 1-2 in his last five starts and the Rox are 2-3 in those games. He has allowed 15 runs in his last 23 innings and has delivered just three quality starts in his last nine outings. He is 6-3 with a 4.60 ERA in 12 starts at Coors Field, a pretty nice improvement from his rookie season, but Kershaw is 21-7 with a 3.16 ERA in 37 career starts against the Rockies. His ERA is in the mid-fours at Coors however, despite a decent 3.64 ERA this season.
Kershaw has had a rough outing or two since returning from injury, but not “rough” in a normal sense; simply ‘rough’ for Kershaw. Look for him to be sharp tonight and to seal up home field for the postseason. If Milwaukee can hold up their end of the bargain, Sunday could still have some MLB intrigue…
Today’s MLB Pick: LOS ANGELES DODGERS TO WIN -180