Our hot start to the baseball season continued again last night as we picked up another win. This time we backed the Chicago Cubs as they played the Milwaukee Brewers. The Cubs have been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons so far this season. They have been struggling to win and broke the all-time National League record for the most strikeouts through the first five games of the season. But I knew that they were too talented to struggle for too long and expected a breakout game against Brewer’s starter Brent Suter. Suter doesn’t have great get you out by himself stuff and isn’t known for making guys swing and miss, so I liked the Cubs chances to put the ball in play.
The Cubs exploded for eight runs, and the game was never in doubt. Jon Lester looked like his normal self, as the venerable lefty pitched six innings of shutout ball, allowing just three hits and striking out six along the way. Early on in the baseball season, it is important to not overreact to a short sample size of data. When you have a team as talented as the Cubs are this year, you almost have to throw their record out until they get enough games under their belt to prove you otherwise. Today I will look at another very talented squad that is struggling when the Los Angeles Dodgers take on the San Francisco Giants.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are in San Francisco for game one of a three-game series with the Giants. This will mark the second time these two teams have matched up this already this season. These teams split a four-game series on opening weekend, two games apiece. The Dodgers come into this series reeling as they just got swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks and have lost three straight games. For San Francisco, the Giants split a short two-game series with the Seattle Mariners. The Dodgers will start Kenta Maeda (1-0 0.00 ERA) facing off against Derek Holland (0-1 5.40 ERA) for the Giants. The Dodgers are -150 money line favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight runs. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 PM PST from AT&T Park.
The Los Angeles Dodgers spent much of last season as the best team in the majors. They even flirted with setting a historic record as they played at a pace close to the all-time win rate for the first half of the year. They got banged up in the second half of the year and missed out on breaking any records, but they were still a very good team and went all the way to game seven of the World Series before coming up short.
This season the Dodgers brought back much of what made them great last year, but they have struggled out of the gate. Their starting pitching has been solid, but their lineup has been dreadful. The Dodgers have gotten shut out in three of there seven games this year and scored just one run in another. This is not what most people expected out of the Dodgers this year.
This Dodger team is full of young talent, and right now they are all struggling to find their stroke. Cory Seager is hitting just.192, Cody Bellinger is hitting .240, and Joc Pederson is slashing just .154. The Dodgers must find a way to start scoring runs again. The one guy they have had been able to hit this season, is tonight’s starter for the Giants, Derek Holland.
Holland opened up his season against the Dodgers and did not pitch well. Holland lasted just five innings and gave up five runs, three of them earned on three hits and three walks in the Giants loss. Holland is the definition of a journeyman starter at this point in his career. He is going to eat up innings but will almost never dominate. Holland’s ERA swelled to an absurd 6.20 last season as he lost fourteen games. His ERA has hovered around the five-run range for the last several years. His performance against the Dodgers in his first start of the season wasn’t even all that bad for his standards, that is just what he gives you at this point in his career.
Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda, on the other hand, is a guy you can really count on. In Maeda’s first two years in the big leagues, the Korean import has a record of 30-17 with an ERA under four. Maeda faced this Giants team last week and pitched five shutout innings and struck out ten.
We just saw this matchup last week. Holland vs. Maeda, Dodgers vs. Giants. And the game wasn’t a close one. The Dodgers got all over Holland and Maeda completely shut the Giants down. I know that the Dodgers offense is struggling right now, but Holland is just too bad to think he will be able to hold these guys back. This Dodger team is too good to keep struggling for much longer and tonight feels like a great time to break out of this early season funk.
I am going to go as far as to call this game a blowout. I don’t like to bet the run line too often, it can burn you, but this is the exact scenario where you should take a shot at it. We are getting sixty extra cents on the juice to take the run line, and that extra premium is worth the gamble. So, I will back the Dodgers tonight laying a run and a half and actually get to pick up some dog money at +105. Give me the Los Angeles Dodgers tonight, at home, laying a run and a half at +105!