Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York Mets Preview and Pick – Hiroki Kuroda vs. Johan Santana

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York Mets
Hiroki Kuroda vs. Johan Santana
by The Mailman of Predictem.com

The scoop on Hiroki Kuroda:

Good pitcher. Has struggled vs. the NYM in his career though (3 games) with a 10.45 ERA and a 2.90 whip which are both outrageous numbers. That span covers 10.1 innings in which he allowed 23 hits, 15 runs (12 of them earned) and 3 longballs. He also walked 7 during those innings. The Mets hitters batted .411.

In 2 road games this season, he’s got a very nice 1.98 ERA and 1.10 whip allowing only a .222 batting average. Those numbers are kind of skewed though as he absoluted dominated at Florida allowing only 5 hits in 8 IP. In his other road game at Cinci, he allowed 2 dongs in 5.2 innings while giving up 7 hits along with 2 bases on balls.

This is a guy that left handed batters can have success with as his whip (1.26) and batting average (.286) are much higher than vs. rhb (1.19 whip and .255 ba). (2010 numbers).

Another stat that’s noteworthy is that his day game ERA is 0.71 higher (4.19 vs. night game ERA of 3.48) and his whip during day games is 1.34 vs. 1.14 at night. This tells me that he either is more comfy pitching in night games or that the hitters pick up the ball better in the daylight. (Today’s game is a 4pm EST day game).


Something completely unrelated to this game that I’ll mention so you can note your calenders is that this guy appears to have issues with pitching in warm weather. His career numbers (despite it being a short career) are pretty much 3.00 ERA or under in all months except for June/July which balloon up to 5.08 and 5.34. Surely something to keep an eye on once those months come rolling around as he’ll almost always be a big favorite this year and there will surely be some underdog betting value in his June/July starts as he should be strong from the start of the eason all the way through May.

Something else to note about this guy is that he’s a first class choker with runners on base. He is absolutely nails with nobody on with a 1.31 era and 1.08 whip over the course of his career but my oh my do those numbers balloon with runners on as his ERA goes way up to 7.08. When those runners are in scoring position the number jets up even higher to 9.92. With the bases loaded he’s surrendered a 9.53 ERA. This is obviously not a common situation with him, but something surely worth noting if he’s going up against a club that has been red hot with regards to getting on base.

As noted above, he’s only faced the Mets 3x in his career. Here’s a list of players that are likely to play in today’s game and how they’ve done against him:

Jason Bay 0-3
Luis Castillo 2-6
Jeff Francoeur 1-3
Angel Pagan 1-2
Jose Reyes 3-5
David Wright 4-7

On the flip side, a healthy Johan Santana takes the bump for the Mets. He’s only faced the LAD 2x in his career but has completely dominated them allowing only 1 earned run in 14.2 innings. This amounts to a 0.61 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP along with an opposing batting average of .163.

Santana is back to his old ways as he’s absolutely dealin’ allowing 1 earned run or less in 3 of his 4 starts this year with that other start being a game where he gave up 5 ER in 5IP vs. the Washington Nationals. Go figure.

Opponents are hitting .233 against Johan this season (in 4 games/24.1 IP) and only one hitter has gone yard on him during that span. His current ERA is 2.59 and whip is 1.11. It should be noted that the one time he got touched up was at home, but don’t expect that trend to continue as the Mets stadium is a pitcher’s park.

A number that really excites me here is that Santana has had great success in day games over the course of his career with a 2.81 ERA and nasty 1.08 whip along with allowing opposing hitters a .210 ba. One thing that skews this stat though is that he pitched in the baggy for a handful of years (Metrodome) but at least it signifies that dude comes prepared and doesn’t show up with eye boogars.

He’s faced a handful of Dodgers hitters over the course of his career. Here’s a short list of who he’s faced and have they’ve done against him:

Casey Blake 14-55 (.255)
Rafael Furcal 3-6
Reed Johnson 12-22
Matt Kemp 3-7
James Loney 1-3
Russell Martin 0-4
Manny Ramirez 5-18 (on the DL, won’t play today)

In closing, I’m not a big “home field advantage” guy but it surely doesn’t hurt in this situation. The Mets are 6-1 in their last 7 games and 6 of those games were 7 runs or less.

The Dodgers are 1-3 in their last 4 games and with Manny Ramirez going on the DL, that surely doesn’t help them in this case.

I will say that the past success of Reed Johnson (who knows if he’ll be in today’s lineup but I’d bet he is) and Matt Kemp vs. Santana does kind of worry me, but at -136, the price is too good to pass up on and this is a great value play. You won’t get many opportunities to lay such low odds with such a high caliber pitcher.

I expect a low scoring grind as well, but was late to the party as the total opened at 7.5 which would have been nice, but is now a flat 7 which is right about where it should be. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me a bit for this game to land on 4-3 or 5-2 with the Mets winning.

Good luck!