If you read yesterday’s article here and was betting baseball, it went accordingly to plan. We had a superlative pitcher’s duel, but the team with the better bullpen was able to close the deal.
Clayton Kershaw and Johnny Cueto were masterful for eight innings, leaving with a 2-2 tie game. The Dodgers Justin Turner found a Santiago Casilla pitch he liked in the ninth and rocketed it into the seats and Kenley Jansen was shaky in the bottom of the inning, but came through with the save.
Game 2 will be part of a FOX split package with a 7:15 EDT start, with Los Angeles attempting to shrink San Francisco’s lead to two games in the NL West.
For MLB picks, your happy handicapper has now nailed nine in a row, taking season record to 19-10 here.
After being a big disappointment as Zack Grienke’s supposed replacement, Scott Kazmir (5-3, 4.46 ERA and 1.24 WHIP) is starting to show why the Dodgers were interested in him. The 32-year port-sider has a 2.12 ERA in past three outings and over 16 innings, has struck-out 24 while walking only four. The big difference is Kazmir has regained his command and this is found in the fact he’s kept the ball in the park in this period, compared to 12 home runs allowed in first nine starts. Kazmir had his last start cut short with legs cramps (85 pitches), but has declared himself ready.
After a super start with his new team, Jeff Samardzija (7-4, 3.33 and 1.14) has been shelled for 10 earned runs in 10 innings over a couple of starts. The latter was particularly disturbing, giving up four home runs. The right-hander has good stuff with four pitches he can throw for strikes, starting with low to mid 90’s fastball. Where he gets into trouble is finding too much of the plate.
Neither team is in good offensive groove, with L.A. scoring four runs a game in their last seven tries and San Francisco at 3.6 RPG.
The trouble for both clubs, at least at the moment, is the lack production at the bottom of the lineup card. With no Hunter Pence, unless Matt Duffy (.302 OBP) and Joe Panik (.309 OBP) pick it up, not many places for manager Bruce Bochy to turn.
The same is true with the Dodgers. Though Turner had big hit, he’s batting .221, Yasiel Puig is at .237 and Joc Pederson is at .222.
For today’s contest, if any of these players come through, they could be the difference maker.