Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Colorado Rockies Preview and Pick – Clayton Kershaw vs. Jason Hammel

Los Angeles Dodgers (74-51) Clayton Kershaw -110, 9.5 O/U at
Colorado Rockies (71-54) Jason Hammel +100, 9.5 O/U, Coors Field,
8:40 PM EST, Tuesday

by Badger of Predictem.com

The Los Angeles Dodgers put their once untouchable National League
West Division lead on the line tonight when they open a crucial three-
game series with the Colorado Rockies in Coors Field.

Everyone was ready to give the Dodgers the NL West pennant before the
All-Star break, but theyve gone 18-18 since then and have watched
their once double-digit lead in the standings drop to just three
games. The Dodgers strong pitching has slipped of late, allowing the
Dodgers to only play at the .500-level for the past few weeks
including a 5-5 record in their last 10 games.

Already staked to a solid 4-game lead in the NL Wild Card standings,
the Rockies have gone 21-13 since the break to reel in the Dodgers
and now have their sights set on overtaking the team that everyone
once considered a lock to win the division in a landslide. They are
perhaps the hottest team in baseball right now, winning seven of
their last eight games including last nights 6-4 extra-inning
thriller on a walk-off grand slam.

But in order to reel in the Dodgers something is going to have to
change tonight for the Rockies, as they have lost 10 of the 12
meetings against the Dodgers already this season and wont play them
again until the final series of the season.

The opener tonight will feature a couple of young hurlers, as
struggling Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw goes against the Rockies
young righty, Jason Hammel.

Oddsmakers opened the game with Kershaw and the Dodgers as -125
favorites on the moneyline, but most of the early money went on
Colorado and that number has since dropped to just -110. If you were
able to jump on the Rockies early you may have gotten a really nice
number, but now the are listed as even money (+100) at most offshore

The over/under total is listed at 9.5 at most books, with a few
offshore operations listing it at 10. The runline shows the Dodgers
at -1.5 at +145, with Colorado at +1.5 at -165.

Kershaw has fallen on hard times of late, with two losses and three
no-decisions in his last five outings. During that span Kershaws ERA
of 3.60 is nearly a full run higher than his season tally (2.96), and
his WHIP is up to 1.47 from 1.29 as he has averaged nearly four walks
per start.

Hammel on the other hand has pitched some quality outings for the
Rockies of late, winning three of his last four while allowing just
three runs or fewer in all four starts. The one problem for Hammel
has been high pitch counts of late, so he has barely been able to
stay in the game long enough to earn the victory, with only one of
the past four starts lasting longer than six innings.

These same two pitchers matched up against each other last time these
two played on July 1st, a game the Dodgers won 1-0. But Kershaw
needed an early exit (5 IP, 1 H, 0 R) and left before the game was
decided, whereas Hammel pitched well (8 IP, 5 H, 1 R) despite getting
tagged with the loss. In fact, Kershaw has faced the Rockies three
times already this season, getting rocked around a little in both
games (10.2 IP, 12 H, 12 R) before he held them in check last time out.

The Dodgers offense may still be missing first baseman James Loney,
who has been nursing the flu. The Rockies may still be without Carlos
Gonzales (hand) and Dexter Fowler (knee), by Ryan Spilboroughs has
filled in well in centerfield, hitting the walk-off grannie to win
the game yesterday.

Colorado is playing well at Coors of late, winning eight of their last 11 home games. The over has been a strong play too, going 6-3-2
during the same 11-game stretch. However, the Dodgers swept them in
Coors back in May (outscoring them 31-13) and took two-of-three in
April. The over was 4-1-1 in those games earlier this season.

Badgers Pick: The young pitchers in tonights game will have some
jitters pitching in such a big game, and neither has been lasting
very long anyway, so Im looking at a big game full of offense. Take
the over of 9.5.