We took a tough loss last night, but the manner in which we lost the game should be of much more concern to the Dodgers than to me personally. Yet again, the Dodgers Achilles Heel, their spotty bullpen, reared its ugly head. They took a 7-5 lead into the seventh inning only to allow a run in the seventh and a four-spot in the bottom of the eighth to give the game to the less-than-potent offense of the Padres. Perhaps there was a better reason than just “Kershaw was dealin’ for Manager Don Mattingly to let his ace throw 132 pitches two nights ago. Because when Kershaw and Greinke are in the dugout, this team is fairly average.
Does this mean they can’t win a World Series as currently constructed? Of course not. But it is a cause for real concern, and if the Dodgers once again come up short in October, their pen will likely be a big part of the reason.
Let’s see if we can get back on track, move on from a tough loss, and start a nice weekend winning streak.
Today’s Free Pick:
Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals (Total: 7)
J.A. Happ vs. Lance Lynn
It’s been a tale of two seasons and a tale of two leagues for Pirates recent acquisition J.A. Happ. He is 3-1 with a 1.68 ERA since joining Pittsburgh, despite a near four ERA and losing record in Seattle. However, he will have his work cut out for him tonight in the Pirates personal House of Horrors, Busch Stadium. The Pirate are 4-18 over their last 22 games in St. Louis and haven’t won a series there since early 2013.
It won’t help that he is opposing yet another Cardinal starting pitcher with an ERA in the two’s. Lance Lynn has been excellent all year, but even better lately with a 1.82 ERA, despite having to pitch around some trouble with a WHIP near one and a half and only 11K to 9 walks. Add in the Cards dominance over the Buccos at home, and I expect Lynn to pitch well this evening.
But speaking of hot lately, Happ has been even better. He is 3-0 with a 0.51 ERA in his last three starts and a WHIP of just 0.86. I don’t think Pittsburgh thought they were getting a sure-fire postseason starter when they acquired Happ, but at this point, it’d be hard to give anyone else the ball in Game Three.
Despite all that Happ-love, I can’t in good conscience send you chasing the underdog money tonight. This is indeed a last-stand for the Pirates, but the 4-18 record is a little too harrowing for me. That said, I don’t see the Cards shelling them either. This feels like a good night to bet on each starter and then rely on two of the best bullpens in the business to keep things under control after they head to the showers.