SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS (66-55)
at LOS ANGELES DODGERS (67-55)
First pitch: Monday, 10:10 p.m. EDT
Line: Los Angeles -155, San Francisco +145, Total: 6
With the Dodgers holding a half-game lead in the NL West, they will host a three-game series against their rivals, the San Francisco Giants.
The Dodgers enter this game as heavy favorites with reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw on the mound, who is repeating his excellence of last year with an 11-6 record, 2.90 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in 2012. Kershaw is looking to win his fifth consecutive start in this one, a span in which he has a 1.78 ERA and .163 opponents’ batting average. The four-start win streak began with a five-hit shutout versus the Giants on July 29. Owning the Giants has become routine for Kershaw, who has a 1.32 ERA in 15 career starts, his lowest mark against any squad he has seen at least three times. He faces fellow southpaw Madison Bumgarner, who is coming off a five-hit complete game of his own in his last start, allowing just one run to lower his ERA to 2.97 in 2012. Bumgarner has hit his groove in the second half with a 2.25 ERA and 51 K’s in 48 innings. In his career versus the Dodgers, he is 4-2 with a mediocre 3.62 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. Beating Kershaw looks too steep a task for this young lefty. Play on LOS ANGELES as the chalk here.
This three-star FoxSheets trend also favors the Dodgers:
Play On - Home favorites with a money line of -110 or higher (L.A. DODGERS) - with a starting pitcher whose ERA is 3.00 or better on the season (NL) against opponent with a starting pitcher whose WHIP is 1.050 or better on the season-NL. (72-25 since 1997.) (74.2%, +37.4 units. Rating = 3*).
The Giants are 2-2 in their past four games, which is significant because those are the games without All-Star Game MVP Melky Cabrera, who will miss the rest of the regular season due to a suspension for PEDs. The offense has been maddeningly inconsistent in those four games—they scored 18 runs in the two wins and just five runs in the two losses. The Giants are hoping Bumgarner, who averages 6.8 innings per start, can go deep into this one, with a bullpen that struggles mightily on the road. While Giants relievers have a 3.77 ERA, that number balloons to 4.44 on the road. Similarly, Bumgarner, is much worse on the road where he has a 4.06 ERA, compared to a 1.87 ERA at AT&T Park. Though the Giants have been dominated by Kershaw, they usually own lefties with a 25-13 (.658) mark in 2012, the second-best such record in the majors.
The Dodgers also own an impressive split against lefties in 2012 with a 27-18 (.600) record against them. And, like Bumgarner, Kershaw averages 6.8 innings per start this year. But, unlike them, Kershaw is supported by a superb bullpen that has a 3.20 ERA in 2012, a figure that drops to a 2.51 ERA at home. Overall, the Dodgers have won eight of their past 11 games and should be poised to improve on that in this one, considering they outscored the Giants 19-3 in a three-game sweep in San Francisco from July 27-29.