Los Angeles Dodgers (33-15) Randy Wolf +118, 9 O/U at Chicago
Cubs (23-22) Randy Wells -128, 9 O/U, Wrigley Field, Chicago,
Ill., 8:05 PM EST, Thursday
by Badger of Predictem.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers bring the best record in the Major Leagues
into Wrigley Field Thursday night to start a four-game set versus the
Cubs in a rematch of last seasons National League Divisional Series.
A pair of Randys will start in the opener, as the Dodgers will trot
lefty Randy Wolf out to the bump against Cubs rookie righty Randy Wells.
With or without Manny Ramirez in the lineup, the Dodgers are on a
tear. They completed a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies with
yesterdays 8-6 win for their third victory in a row and their eighth
win in their last 10 games. The Dodgers also sport one of the best
records on the road as well, as they have won seven of their last
eight away from L.A.
The Cubs won yesterdays series finale against the Pirates, 5-2, but
they may have lost ace Carlos Zambrano for a few games in the
process. Zambrano was ejected for arguing a play at the plate and
then preceded to bump the umpire, throw the game ball into left field
and punch and kick the dugout railing and water cooler like a toddler
on a tantrum before exiting the field of play.
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The win gave the Cubs just their second win in their last 10 games,
and moved them back above .500 for the season as they seem to finally
be recovering from the string of injuries that rocked them in the
month of May.
Oddsmakers opened the game with the Cubs and their rookie pitcher
Wells as surprising -128 favorites on the moneyline. The Dodgers and
veteran Wolf are +118 underdogs on the dimeline. The over/under total
is listed at a modest 9 runs for Wrigley at most sportsbooks
on the Internet.
Wells has pitched extremely well since his call-up from Triple-A a
few weeks ago. Hes made three turns through the rotation and theyve
all been quality starts. In his first two outings against Milwaukee
and Houston he didnt give up a single run (11 IP, 9 H, 5 BB), but in
his last outing against the red-hot San Diego Padres he showed he was
human by giving up 3 runs on 5 hits in 7 innings of work.
Hell have his hands full with the Dodgers lineup, as the boys from
L.A. lead the majors in runs scored (276, 5.75 per/gm) and are tops
in batting average too (.292). Outfielder Juan Pierre is making
everyone in L.A. ask Manny who, as he is hitting .422 with 17 RBIs
since replacing Ramirez in the lineup. Orlando Hudson is also
sporting a hot bat, as he is currently riding a 17-game hitting streak.
The Dodgers will run the veteran Wolf out against the Cubs tonight.
Wolf has been the master of the no-decision this season, as he is
only 2-1 with a 3.02 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in his 10 starts this season.
The Dodgers are 6-4 in his starts though, and have seemed to
persevere through his rough outings including his last one versus the
LA Angels when he gave up two homeruns (4 R) and 10 hits in just 6.1
innings of work.
Wolf has a mixed history against the Cubs in his 15 career starts
against them, going 3-7 with a 4.71 ERA and a rather high 1.452 WHIP.
But one of those three wins against them came last August when he was
with the Astros, when he threw a five-hit shutout in a 4-0 victory.
Hell be facing a Cubs lineup that is still missing Aramis Ramirez at
third, which is one of the reasons the Cubs are 20th in runs scored
(4.58 r/g) and 26th in hitting (.248). The Cubs did call-up Triple-A
outfielder Jake Fox yesterday, so help may be on the way. Fox, who
was leading the Pacific Coast League in just about every offensive
category including average (.423), on-base (.503), homeruns (17) and
RBIs (50), could see action in right field in place of Milton Bradley.
The Dodgers were swept in Wrigley during the regular season last
year, but then took the first two games of the NLDS in Chicago.
Overall the Dodgers have won five of the last six between these two
Six of the 10 games these two played against each other in 2008
stayed under the total, including four of the six played at Wrigley.
Badgers Pick: Im little surprised that the Dodgers are considered
such big underdogs in this game, especially with a rookie like Wells
facing them. I smell a trap. Either way, I cant pass up the better
team (Dodgers) getting such nice odds here. Take the Dodgers at +118.