Sunday Night Baseball makes its return tonight as the Los Angeles Dodgers host the San Francisco Giants in game four of a four-game series. The Dodgers took the first two games of the series before seeing the Giants bounce back yesterday in game three to tighten up the series and will be looking for the series win tonight at home. Primetime baseball is back!
— SFGiants (@SFGiants) July 25, 2020
San Francisco Giants (1-2) at Los Angeles Dodgers (2-1)
Starting tonight for the Dodgers is Jose Urias (0-0 0.00 ERA), and for the Giants, it is Drew Smyly (0-0 0.00 ERA). The Dodgers are massive favorites, laying -360 on the money line to win straight up. The game total over/under is set nine runs. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM PST from Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles.
San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants aren’t going to win many games this season. And when they do manage to find a way to win a game, like they did last night, when they held on to a 5-4 victory in game three, it is going to be as major underdogs. Last night, they got +300 against LA, tonight they will get +310.
The Giant’s three best players last year were reliever Will Smith, starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner, and catcher Buster Posey. All three of those guys are gone in 2020, with Bumgarner signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Posey opting out of play, and Will Smith going to Atlanta. There just isn’t a lot of talent left on this roster, and San Francisco will almost certainly finish in last place in the National League West Division.
Drew Smyly (0-0 0.00 ERA)
There was a time when Drew Smyly looked like he was going to be a top of the rotation type of guy. In his time with the Detroit Tigers, Smyly split time between the bullpen and the rotation and posted a very respectable 3.53 ERA in over 100 appearances. When he joined the Tampa Bay Rays in 2014, he was brought in to be a starter that the Rays thought could be their ace.
In his first couple of seasons in Tampa Bay, he pitched well, when he could stay on the field, as he spent two full seasons battling injuries. When he finally got back to 100%, he just didn’t seem to be the same guy anymore. Smyly played himself out of the Major Leagues after 2016 and didn’t pitch in another big league game until last year.
While “Smiles” return to the majors was a feel-good story at first, his awful production quickly turned it into a horror story. In 25 appearances last season, split between the Texas Rangers the Philadelphia Phillies, Smyly got blasted for 32 home runs and posted a 6.24 ERA. He is only getting to pitch for the Giants this year because the Giants have zero intentions of competing, he is going to be able to eat up a bunch of innings for them, and was cheap.
Los Angeles Dodgers
While the recent losses to the starting rotation are a bit concerning, they lost David Price to a season-long opt-out, and Clayton Kershaw has already hit the IL with back pain, something that has to be petrifying for Dodgers fans, this Dodgers team is still the class of the National League. They have a heavy-hitting lineup that has put on a show so far this week, as they have exploded for twenty-one runs in the first three games of this series.
Through the first week of play, the Dodgers lead the majors in runs scored and on-base percentage, are second in batting average, and fourth in both home runs and slugging. You can expect them to stay near the top of the leaderboard in all offensive categories this year, as this lineup is ferocious.
Through three games, Max Muncy, Kike Hernandez, Justin Turner, Chris Taylor, Cory Seager, AJ Pollock, Joc Pederson, Austin Barnes, and Will Smith are all hitting .333 or higher. This isn’t on guy leading the way for LA, they can hit at every spot in the lineup.
Julio Urias (0-0 0.00 ERA)
We already talked about how the Dodgers starting rotation has taken an early season hit by losing Price and Kershaw, but one guy that will benefit from that, is youngster Julio Urias. Urias made his MLB debut four years ago, as a teenager, and has pitched sparingly in his time in the big leagues as he has bounced around between the minors and majors, and has pitched both out of the bullpen and in the starting rotation.
With the Dodgers losing Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda, and Hyun-jin Ryu from last year’s team, and seeing Price and Kershaw out this year, Urias is going to finally get a chance to be a regular in the Dodgers rotation. That has to be exciting for Dodgers fans, as despite not getting a lot of work, he has posted some strong results, and is a candidate to have a breakout season.
Urias has a career ERA of just 3.11 and a K/9 ratio of 9.1. There is no doubting his ability or talent, it is there, the Dodgers have just been very careful monitoring his innings and developing the young player. This year, like it or not, the Dodgers are probably going to have to take the handcuffs off and see what this kid has got as an every five days starter.
Who Do I Like?
The Dodgers are going to hammer Drew Smyly. This guy shouldn’t even be pitching in the big leagues right now, and I would be shocked if he doesn’t give up several runs before getting yanked from the game. And when you look at what the Dodgers have done to the Giants bullpen in this series, you have to wonder how San Francisco doesn’t get blown out tonight.
The Giants bullpen has been battered in this series and will hit game four tonight weary and overworked. In game one of the series, Johnny Cueto lasted just four innings, and the bullpen got blasted for seven runs in five innings of relief. In game two, Giants starter Tyler Anderson lasted only an inning and two thirds, leaving the rest of the game for the ‘pen, and they got hammered for seven more runs.
In game three, the bullpen again was called upon by the fifth inning, and they nearly gave the game away, as they allowed three late runs, and somehow managed to not blow the 5-1 lead they had built up heading into the eighth inning. Are you sensing a trend here? Because I certainly am.
You can make a play on the Dodgers and pick up a couple of free bucks if you want, but I just can’t bring myself to lay that kind of wood on a baseball game, no matter who is playing. Yesterday’s game was a cautionary tale as to why you don’t touch a “sure thing,” laying nearly -400. That being said, the Dodgers are going to score a bunch of runs in this game.
Whether they come off of Smyly, or off of the battered and beaten down bullpen, I could see LA threatening double-digit runs tonight at home. They could push this game to the over all by themselves. And if they are a little weaker at the plate than I expect, Julio Urias is likely to give up at least a run or two as well, as he came into the season expecting to work out of the bullpen and has been thrust into the starting rotation unexpectedly, which had to hinder how he prepared for this season.
I am firing HARD on the over here. The line has shifted in some places, as I see some 9.5’s out there, so jump on this one while you can still get it at 9. It likely won’t matter. as this game could sail way over, but you always want to shop for the sharpest line available. Give me the over, and maybe the WAY over tonight from Dodger Stadium!