Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, June 4, 2012 at 12:35 PM
The Los Angeles Dodgers (who visit Philadelphia Monday Night in a game to be nationally televised by ESPN) handled their first stretch without star hitter Matt Kemp very well. They knew he’d be coming back soon…they held the fort…and they were ready to extend their lead in the NL West when he returned.
But, when he RE-injured his hamstring in just his second game back, it was like the wheels came off a car whose tires had been low on air.
5/30: lost to Milwaukee 6-3 in a game Kemp left early
5/31: lost to Milwaukee 6-2
6/1: lost at Colorado 13-3
6/2: won at Colorado 6-2
6/3: lost at Colorado 3-2
It’s not just losing four games in five…but it’s losing to struggling teams by such big margins! Milwaukee is currently 24-30 in the NL Central, and nowhere near the playoff picture. Colorado is 23-30 themselves. The Dodgers just got outscored 30-16 over five games by bad teams…averaging 3.2 runs per game vs. vulnerable pitching staffs…with three of the games coming in a mile high hitter’s paradise!
It looks like Kemp is going to be out for awhile. He’s on the 15-day disabled list and reports suggest that understates his expected layoff. With the suddenly resurgent San Francisco Giants now just three games back in the NL West, the Dodgers will be under tremendous pressure to produce in Philadelphia.
LA has 4 games in Philly (28-27 this year)
SF has 3 games in San Diego (18-37 this year)
Ten games ago, the Dodgers led the Giants by seven games in the NL West standings. That lead is down to just three after this weekend’s action. We may be very close to knotted up before Interleague play starts on Friday.
Here are the pitching matchups this week in Philly
Tonight (on ESPN)
LAD: Kershaw 2.42 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 6.8 IP per start
PHI: Worley 3.07 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 6.3 IP per start
Worley returns from the Disabled List to take Roy Halladay’s spot in the rotation. If he’s rusty, then he won’t pitch to the numbers you see above. But, if he’s ready to pick up his usual form, then he does give the home underdog Phils a chance to hang tough in this one. Note that Vegas sharps gave Worley a lot of respect with their early betting action. Kershaw opened at -140. We’re seeing only -115 to -120 as of press time. Tough travel spot for the Dodgers playing without a day off after coming in from a couple of time zones away. The Phils were at home this weekend vs. Miami. The market expects a pitcher’s duel with a low total of 6.5.
LAD: Billingsley 4.09 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 5.6 IP per start
PHI: Lee 3.00 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 7.1 IP per start
Cliff Lee has pitched in bad luck all season, as he’s way behind where he should be victory wise given those very sharp numbers. Don’t let the bad press fool you. He’s doing his job…and that job is much better than what Billingsley has been accomplishing this year…particularly when you adjust for park factors. Billingsley gets to hurl at home in a great pitcher’s park, making those very mediocre numbers. If the Dodgers slump continues Monday, the Phils might make some sense here at a value price.
LAD: Capuano 2.50 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 6.2 IP per start
PHI: Kendrick 4.02 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 5.9 IP per start
Edge Dodgers based on those numbers, as Capuano is one of the unsung reasons the team has done so well this year. Even if you make a mental adjustment for home park influences, Capuano still grades out better than Kendrick.
LAD: Harang 3.90 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 5.9 IP per start
PHI: Hamels 2.81 ERA. 1.04 WHIP, 7.0 IP per start
You can see why the Dodgers have a lot to worry about in this series. They’re taking the worst of it in starting pitching in the games started by Billingsley and Harang against Lee and Hamels…plus Kershaw is just above pick-em now in the tough travel spot against Worley. Things could get very interesting this week in this important four-game series. Use the pitching data above to guide your thinking for both team side and total selections once you get the nightly weather reports.
Dodgers/Phillies may be a big part of Monday’s release programs at VegasSportsMasters. Among the highlights tonight:
*Kelso Sturgeon has a 50-Unit Power Play in baseball, yours for just $25
*Wayne Root has a pair of “No Limit” plays, one in the bases (9-2 the last 11) and one in the baskets (7-2 the last nine). A $25 payment gets you two games you can bet aggressively and parlay if you wish
*Jim Feist is 9-3, 75% over his last 12 NBA plays…and is releasing a top NBA and MLB play tonight on his $20 report
The best plays on the board from the biggest names in handicapping are always available for you right here at VegasSportsMasters. Check the home page of this website daily for big play bulletins. That and the listings on the “buy picks” page are your best sources for special announcements from our industry legends. Hot handicappers are waiting to hear from you!