Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, June 24, 2014 at 7:00 PM
There weren’t many people before the season began who would have imagined that the Los Angeles Dodgers and Kansas City Royals would have been in the same boat in their respective divisions at the time their rare Interleague meeting showed up on the schedule.
The Dodgers were supposed to dominate the NL West…in the same fashion they did down the stretch of the 2013 season. Kansas City was a somewhat popular darkhorse pick…but they were thought to be a Wildcard at best behind Detroit in the AL Central.
After Monday Night’s series opener in this three-game set:
*The Dodgers were 42-36 in the standings, while the Royals were 40-36. Virtually identical starts…if they were in the same division the Dodgers would have a one-game lead with the teams still even in the loss column.
*The Dodgers were in second place in their division, four games out of the lead…while the Royals were in second place in their division, two games out of the lead.
*The Dodgers had been held back by poor home play, with just an 18-20 record at Chavez Ravine this season…while the Royals had also been held back at home, only 19-19 for the season. Both teams had better records on the road than at home!
If neither team can kick things up a notch, BOTH could be singing the blues and miss the playoffs entirely with so many teams on their heels in their respective Wildcard races.
Let’s crunch some numbers for Wednesday Night’s series finale…
LA Dodgers: 4.26 runs per game, .327 on-base, .404 slugging
Kansas City: 4.16 runs per game, .313 on-base, .373 slugging
Wow…remember that the Dodgers play in the National League…which means their pitchers have to hit! They grade out across the board better against an IL opponent that uses the DH. So, we have a huge offensive advantage for the Dodgers when the teams are on equal footing lineup wise.
Let’s also note that the Dodgers play their home games in a great pitcher’s park. On the road, they’re averaging 4.48 runs per game, making them an offensive power in the senior circuit. We should note too that Kansas City has been hitting much better in recent weeks. They were able to make a run at Detroit…and temporarily pass Detroit because of a scoring surge.
Dan Haren: 3.62 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 6.0 K-Rate
James Shields: 3.70ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 7.3 K-Rate
Haren has been consistently mediocre. You can basically count on him to throw six innings and allow three runs. It’s been like clockwork the past several weeks. That can work in front of a great offense. But, he has poor numbers in context when you consider he’s been pitching home games in LA in a “year of the pitcher.” He’s likely to be vulnerable to KC’s recent offensive surge when facing an offense with a DH. Zack Greinke just had trouble with this offense!
Shields has almost identical ERA and WHIP stats, but has been doing it in much different fashion. Feast or famine rather than consistently mediocre. Worse, his ERA over the last six starts is 5.55, with a ridiculous WHIP of 1.63. He’s trending in the wrong direction just when the Royals need him to step up and pitch like an ace.
For those of you interested in schedule sequencing…this is a get-away game for the Dodgers, who much catch a plane immediately afterward because they open a series at home against St. Louis Thursday Night (look for our series preview here in the NOTEBOOK!). Kansas City is off Thursday, then stays at home to open a series with the Angels on Friday.
JIM HURLEY will certainly be covering this game, and the entire Wednesday card from all angles. You can purchase the final word for day and night action right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service, call us during regular business hours at 1-888-777-4155. Don’t forget to ask about special June football rates when you call.
Here’s our baseball preview schedule through the weekend…
Thursday: MLB Series Preview…St. Louis at LA Dodgers
Friday: MLB Series Preview…Oakland at Miami
Saturday: MLB Big Game Preview…Cincinnati at San Francisco
Sunday: MLB TV Preview…Boston at NY Yankees
The pennant races have been in a slow boil for weeks…and are really starting to percolate now in all divisions plus the Wildcards. The end of basketball helped everyone see how exciting baseball was! Be sure you make the most of it by GETTING ALL THE MONEY seven days a week with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!