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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, April 6, 2014 at 7:00 AM

The rivalry between the Giants and the Dodgers goes back decades. It’s been known to ebb and flow based on team quality from year-to-year. But, right now, it’s about as intense as its ever been. Well, at least since the teams moved West about 50 years ago!

San Francisco has won recent championships. Los Angeles spent the money to position themselves to take West Coast supremacy away from the Giants. San Francisco resents trying to “buy” a title. Los Angeles resents a bunch of No-Cal’s thinking they’re better. What was already volatile has really blown up in recent action. That guarantees intensity for the series finale in the first 2014 meeting between the franchises.

If you’re a baseball fan…you’ll be watching Sunday Night on ESPN. If you’re a baseball bettor in Las Vegas, you want to win while you watch! Let’s look at the projected pitching matchup.

 

PROBABLE PITCHERS (2013 stats)

Cain: 4.00 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 7.7 K-Rate

Greinke: 2.63 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 7.5 K-Rate

Matt Cain was a tough pitcher to figure last season. He had a great WHIP, but a mediocre ERA, particularly for a guy who gets to throw his home games in a pitcher’s park. His ERA’s the prior two seasons had been below three! He became a bit more home-run prone per nine innings. He can still throw a gem at a moment’s notice. That became less common last year. Cain is only 29, so hopefully last year was just a temporary pothole and many strong seasons are still ahead.  Most statheads assume Cain is going to regresss back toward high quality ERA’s because his peripheral stats are fine.

Zach Greinke had virtually the same exact WHIP and K-rate as Cain, but obviously did a much better job of keeping runs off the board. Note that his K-Rate has been trending downward in recent seasons. He’s not quite as untouchable as he used to be. If Cain is on, this is ace vs. ace in terms of pitching caliber. Think about the Under given the twilight conditions for this late afternoon starting time locally.

 

FIRST STARTS OF 2014

Cain: Matt wasn’t sharp in his opener at Arizona. He allowed 7 hits and three walks while only striking out two in five innings of work. He only allowed two earned runs (three total), so his 2014 ERA is an acceptable 3.60. But, his WHIP is a ridiculous 1.80!

Greinke: Zack didn’t throw in Australia, so his first appearance of the season came stateside against San Diego. He only managed five innings, allowing a homer on one of two Padres hits. He did get a win, and struck out five hitters in those five innings. Will Greinke feel additional pressure now that he’s the staff ace with Clayton Kershaw on the Disabled List for awhile?

Here in JIM HURLEY’S NOTEBOOK, we always encourage you to look at offense in addition to pitching. Let’s quickly review production from last season.

 

OFFENSE (2013 stats)

S. Francisco: 3.88 runs per game, .320 on-base, .381 slugging

L. Angeles: 4.01 runs per game, .326 on-base, .396 slugging

Important to remember here that the Dodgers didn’t become a juggernaut until they got Yasiel Puig in the lineup midseason, while also getting healthy with other bats. They’re better than 4.01 runs per game when healthy…and that’s a HUGE number when you’re home games are in Dodger Stadium. Los Angeles will likely have a championship caliber offense this season if they can keep everyone in the lineup. San Francisco held its own for the year considering their park conditions.

That should provide a good starting point for your handicapping process. If you’d like to get the BEST BETS on the board in Sunday baseball and basketball, you can purchase those right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, or if you’d like to talk to a live person about full season options, call our handicapping office Sunday before first pitch at 1-888-777-4155.

Back with you Monday to preview the NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL. Tuesday forward will bring a mix of NBA stretch run previews and Major League Baseball. A lot going on this week in both of those areas. We’ll hop back and forth so you can evaluate the top pro hoop playoff contenders while also monitoring big baseball series like Red Sox/Yankees (which starts Thursday).

Whatever the sport…whatever the spot on the calendar…you’re going to GET THE MONEY with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!

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