Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants (9/28/18) Pick
Time: 10:15 PM ET
Where: AT&T Park. San Francisco, California.
Listed Pitchers: Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD) & Madison Bumgarner (SF)
TV: SportsNet LA & NBC Sports Bay Area
Moneyline: LAD (-155) / SF (+145)
It’s crunch time for the Los Angeles Dodgers entering their final three-game set of the Regular Season in the Bay Area Friday night. The red-hot Colorado Rockies have won seven straight, outscoring opponents 52-10 over that span to take a tenuous one-game lead in the National League West Standings over Los Angeles. Both teams have three games remaining on their regular season slates, and both will be in action Friday night. The Dodgers will face-off with arch nemesis San Francisco at AT&T Park, while the Rockies play host to the Washington Nationals at hitter-friendly Coors Field. Dave Roberts’s Dodger ballclub hasn’t done itself any favors lately, posting back-to-back losses at Arizona prior to Friday night’s showdown with the Giants. We’ll see if the Dodgers really are who we think they are this weekend, or if they’ll become one of the biggest disappoints in recent Major League Baseball memory. Bruce Bochy’s Giants have been over and out for a while now, but their sheer disdain for the Los Angeles Dodgers must have them revved up for this final three-game homestand. This is basically the Giants sad version of a playoff series, while the Dodgers are pretty much in do-or-die mode. Dodger nation hopes LA will be doing a lot more doing than dying this weekend because dying is just a real bummer.
Are you serious, Dave Roberts?
Dave Roberts is living proof that the amount of money you earn doesn’t mean a damn thing in the brains department. As the great Ron White says, “you can’t fix stupid.” What is going on in this dude’s dome-piece? The Dodgers are in a heated NL West Title race and are hanging by a thread in the NL Wild Card Standings, and Roberts sends Ross Stripling to the hill to face-off with Greinke in a game LA really needs to win? No doubt, that’s just piss-poor management and it’s not surprising that LA dropped back-to-back games as a result. Stripling was shelled for three earned runs on five hits over just 1 2/3 innings of work. Greinke got the “W” for Arizona in a comfortable 7-2 win which means nothing to the D-backs. In Stripling’s last seven starts, he’s gone 0-4 with a 6.92 ERA and 1.66 WHIP. At least the Dodgers have Ryu, Kershaw and Buehler set to go for their last three. Everybody can agree, these three have performed well above average consistently throughout the 2018 campaign and deserve to start these critical games.
These two clubs simply don’t like each other
It’s surprising that San Francisco has gotten the better of Los Angeles this season because the Giants really just aren’t too good. Actually, they stink. However, San Francisco leads the season series 9-7 thru 16 games despite Los Angeles outscoring them 59-51. At AT&T Park, the Giants have won four out of six from LA this year while outscoring them 32-31. Needless to say, it’s been a relatively tight series this year. So, it wouldn’t be far fetched to predict some tight, highly contested ball games this weekend.
Los Angeles has an 88-71 (.553) record at the moment, which puts them in second place in the NL West. They’re just one game behind Colorado, but they’re one game ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals for the second and final NL Wild Card spot. Dave Roberts club appears to be fully healthy heading down the stretch. Third baseman Justin Turner is probably for Friday night’s contest despite dealing with a nagging thumb injury. His power and leadership will surely be needed these last three games. The Dodgers could potentially become the first team in history to miss the playoffs despite leading their League in runs scored (771), runs allowed (601) and run differential (+170). If they lose this series to the lowly Giants this weekend, I think it’s safe to say they deserve to be out. However, I’m sure Dave Roberts and Company will do everything in their power to avoid such a fate. On the road, Los Angeles has accrued a 44-34 (.564) mark.
Long gone are the days of Giants glory, but inevitably they’ll be back in due time. This year was another clunker though as the Giants have accrued a 73-86 (.459) record thus far. However, they’re a respectable team at AT&T Park. In 2018, Bruce Bochy’s team has gone 42-36 (.538) at home. San Francisco has a formidable rotation, which has allowed 671 runs this year. Their struggles have been more of the offensive variety. Only the anemic offense which belongs to the Miami Marlins has produced fewer runs in the NL than San Francisco this season (596). The Giants boast a -75 run-differential that is fourth worst in the NL. Currently, it looks like scrub-city in San Francisco with three games remaining. The following regulars are already out for the season with injuries: Brandon Belt, Steven Duggar, Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval. San Francisco lost 3-2 Wednesday versus San Diego to make it losses in six of their last seven decisions. With the desperate, highly motivated Los Angeles Dodgers coming to town for the weekend, it doesn’t appear things will get any easier for the Giants. In fact, San Francisco is 2-14 in their last 16 games versus a team with a winning record. “Rut-ro, Scoob.”
Ryu vs. Bumgarner
The Dodgers hand the ball to big left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu (6-3, 2.00 ERA & 1.01 WHIP) in this critical series opener Friday night. In four September starts, Ryu is 2-2 with a 1.50 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. The Asian Sensation has posted an astounding 27:1 strikeout to walks ratio in September. Ryu’s last two starts have been even better, where he’s gone 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 0.62 WHIP. He hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last 13 innings pitched and had posted an exceptional 13 strikeouts juxtaposed with zero walks over this stretch of excellence. On the road, Ryu has been mediocre in 2018. Five road starts have yielded a 1-1 record with a 4.25 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. In 14 career starts versus San Francisco, Ryu’s 4-6 with a 3.11 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. Ryu’s made eight career starts at AT&T Park, posting a 4-3 mark with a 3.45 ERA and 1.13 WHIP.
San Francisco legend Madison Bumgarner (6-6, 3.20 ERA & 1.24 WHIP) has been the ace of the Giants staff for years. It’s no surprise the veteran left-hander is starting the opener of this three-game set. You can bet Mad-Bum wants to end the year on a high note, stifling the playoff-happy Dodgers in his own house. Although, it might take a monumental effort to overcome a Giants roster which is riddled by injuries. It’s been a shaky September for Bumgarner. In his last four starts, he’s gone 1-1 with a 5.48 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. However, he’s been solid at home this year. At AT&T Park in 2018, Bumgarner is 4-2 over nine starts with a 1.35 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. He has seen the Dodgers twice in 2018, and is still seeking that elusive win over San Francisco’s archrival. Mad-Bum is 0-1 with a 3.75 ERA and 1.50 WHIP against LA this year. In 30 career starts versus the Dodgers, Bumgarner is 15-10 with a 2.66 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. Bumgarner has made 11 career starts versus LA at AT&T Park, posting a 6-3 record with a 2.91 ERA and 1.15 WHIP.
What’s the play?
A lot of people will probably pick the Giants as a trendy underdog selection with Bumgarner on the mound. Let’s remember, Bumgarner is still great, but he’s not the same dominant Mad-Bum of years past. Additionally, this Giants roster is simply pitiful. Bochy’s putting a triple-A level club out there and San Francisco’s record the last few weeks is a reflection of that. The Dodgers really need to win out because that’s all they have control over. Los Angeles is the most talented team in the National League, and it’d be unbelievable if they crumped down the stretch to miss the playoffs. The combination of the Giants being so bad lately and the Dodgers needing to win makes me lean towards LA in this NL West battle. According to my calculations, LA has a 67% chance to win this game on the money line. At -157, the Dodgers would need to win 61.1% of the time to make betting on them profitable. Consequently, bettors will have a 5.9% edge against the number taking Los Angeles -155 on the money line. Editor’s note: This line has moved substantially since the opener with the best line on the Dodgers now being -175 at 5Dimes, home of discounted MLB odds!