The Los Angeles Dodgers look to add another win to their winning streak tonight to make it five in a row. They looked like an ordinary team against the Diamondbacks, with three losses in four games. The Dodgers were able to quickly erase those bad vibes, though. They beat up on the Rockies for a sweep heading into the weekend and seem to be back in their element now.
Even great teams can go through rough patches, so it isn’t the best idea to criticize a 92-50 ball club. Their 92 wins puts them in a tie with the Yankees. The Dodgers have played one more game than the Yankees, so they are at a slight disadvantage at this moment. What the Dodgers have to do in September is stay the course and not get too comfortable.
Given their sizable lead in the NL West, it can be easy to get carried away and look ahead to the postseason. The Indians got too comfortable last season with their lead in the AL Central and it didn’t translate to success in the postseason. Cleveland had the division won before the All-Star Game. They were waiting around for October for months. The same goes for the Dodgers, who have known for a while now that they’re going to be winning the NL West.
It’s only going to take one or two losses in the postseason before people begin throwing the word choke around. All it took was a loss against the Diamondbacks to get people excited about choking. The Dodgers aren’t the only great team this season, including in the National League where the Braves look like a scary team right now.
It’s not going to be an easy road and losing to a few teams out there isn’t really going to constitute choking. In any event, Dodgers’ fans have waited long enough for a World Series and their roster is capable of bringing it to LA.
Giants’ fans have significant bragging rights, with their three championships in the last decade and all. The rivalry will take centerstage again tonight, as Jeff Samardzija and Clayton Kershaw will square off on the hill. Head below for our free Giants vs. Dodgers pick.
San Francisco Giants vs. L.A. Dodgers Pick:
Betting odds provided by bovada.lv
Clayton Kershaw has not looked like himself lately, but it’s probably best to get the bad starts out of his system before we get deeper into the season and October. He has been known to struggle in the postseason, so it does scare Dodgers’ fans a bit when they see Kershaw struggling this late in the season.
He was tagged for 5 hits and 5 earned runs in hist most recent outing against the Diamondbacks. The Dodgers fell just short by a score of 6-5 in that one. He hasn’t allowed less than 3 runs since an August 14th meeting against the Miami Marlins.
In Kershaw’s previous three outings, he’s posted a 5.50 ERA which is very un-Kershaw like. In any case, Kershaw will be back home for this one after failing to produce in the desert against the D-backs. He’s been at his best in LA, with an ERA of 2.53 and 1.01 WHIP in 92.2 innings of play.
He has been effective against the Giants in his career. His rivals are hitting just .191 with 3 home runs hit against him in 351 at-bats. That’s a lot of appearances at the plate, but not a lot to show for it in San Francisco. After getting pushed around against the Diamondbacks, look for Kershaw to break out of this mini slump and get back on track at home.
Jeff Samardzija has been one of the more underrated pitchers in baseball this season. The Giants had excellent trade bait with him and Madison Bumgarner, but they decided to hold on and play the rest of the season out. Samardzija is coming off a horrid outing against the Padres, allowing 9 hits and 6 earned runs against the Padres.
He has a 4.13 ERA in his last 17.1 innings pitched. While the Giants have scored 20 runs against Kershaw in 351 at-bats, the Dodgers have scored nearly that much in only 163 at-bats against Samardzija with 17. I think Samardzija can keep the Giants in this game for the first-half of the game, but expect the Dodgers to take control in the 5th or 6th. They look good for at least a 2-run win Friday night in LA.