I’ll be the first one to tell you that yesterday’s pick did not go as planned. I backed the Philadelphia Phillies against the Milwaukee Brewers and envisioned a low scoring game. Phillies starter Aaron Nola had been one of the most consistent pitchers in the National League this year, and the Brewers Chase Anderson seemed to be turning around his season after a rough patch. Well, I was wrong.
This game turned into a slobber knocker that saw a combined nineteen runs scored by the time all was said and done. Nola and Anderson were both ineffective, and this game turned into a home run derby as six balls left the park. The game wasn’t as close as the final score might lead you to believe as the Phillies hit the bottom of the ninth with a 10-5 lead. The Brewers mounted an epic comeback in the game’s final frame, but in the end, came up just short and we cashed our ticket. Sometimes we get a game wrong and still come out winning! For today’s pick, I will look at the game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are in Chicago Monday for game one of a three-game set with the Cubs. This series features two teams that are both really picking up the pace as both the Dodgers and Cubs have surged towards the top of the standings after mediocre starts. The Dodgers are 11-3 in the month of June and have gone from fourth place in the National League West division to second place, just a game and a half behind the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Cubs have told a similar story this season as they started slow but are now just a half of a game out of first in the National League Central Division, trailing the Milwaukee Brewers.
Starting tonight for the Cubs is Tyler Chatwood (3-5 4.12 ERA), and for the Dodgers, it is Kenta Maeda (4-4 3.61 ERA). The Dodgers are small -117 road favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 PM PST from Wrigley Field in Chicago.
Don’t look now, but the Los Angeles Dodgers have finally started to figure things out after a brutal start to the season. The Dodgers spent the first several weeks of the season getting pounded and had one of the worst records in the National League. I spent much of that time fading them as they were regularly losing games as -200 favorites and I made a killing. I have backed off that recently as they have started to heat up and I didn’t want to get burned.
Starting tonight for the Dodgers in game one is Kenta Maeda. Maeda has followed a similar path as the rest of this team as he is starting to heat up. In his last four starts, he has pitched twenty-one and a third innings and has allowed just four earned runs. The Dodgers have won three out of his last four starts. The one knock on Maeda has been several very short outings. The Dodgers keep Maeda on a very short leash and if he doesn’t have his best stuff they have been known to yank him from games very quickly.
The Cubs will start Tyler Chatwood tonight in game one. Chatwood has been shaky all season long for the Cubs. He hasn’t been terrible, but they are just 6-7 in his thirteen starts, and he really struggles to get deep into games. Going 6-7 isn’t that terrible of a run, but when you consider the fact that the Cubs have the second most wins in the National League, it really hurts. Chatwood has only pitched six innings, or more, in three of his thirteen starts this season. And all three of those starts were in April. The season seems to be wearing on Chatwood as his ERA has consistently been on the rise for the last two months.
Not a lot separates these two teams in this one, and we can see that reflected in the betting line, which is almost even. In a game where you aren’t going to get a ton of price value on either side you really just have to take the side that you think is going to win. And I think the Dodgers are going to win tonight. Maeda hasn’t been great, but I like what he brings to the table more than what Chatwood does. Chatwood is struggling to get past the fourth inning in most starts, and this increasingly hot swinging Dodgers team should be able to take advantage of that tonight.
In the end, I see this as a 4-2 type of game where the Dodgers score early and hold on late for a tight win. Laying a little wood in this one doesn’t bother me as I get to back what is likely the hottest team in the National League right now. So, I will take the Dodgers tonight in game one from Chicago at -117!