Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, May 29, 2015 at 7:00 PM
The major betting markets see this year’s MLB championship chase as an invitation-only affair for a handful of teams. Sure, we could have a surprise winner come October because THIS IS BASEBALL! But, it’s a very short list when you’re talking about the true favorites. And, two entries from that list are going head-to-head this weekend.
First, let’s look at the current odds…
Odds to Win NL Pennant
LA Dodgers +280
St. Louis +400
Everyone Else +800 or worse
Those are the projected divisional winners in the senior circuit. All three were expected to make the playoffs entering the season…and are already positioned to play to form for the duration. It would take a few injuries, or a really big surprise from off the pace to see anyone else win a division.
Odds to Win World Series
LA Dodgers +550
St. Louis +780
Kansas City +940
Kansas City makes it a “big four” in terms of the World Championship. The market isn’t ready to take the Houston Astros seriously yet. And, nobody else has established championship bona fides in the AL. Three of the most likely four champs are from the NL…and two of those three are playing this weekend in St. Louis.
Let’s take a look at some key offensive stats and then the probable pitchers for Saturday and Sunday action when the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the St. Louis Cardinals…
LA Dodgers: 4.54 runs per game, .341 on-base, .452 slugging
St. Louis: 4.30 runs per game, .331 on-base, .407 slugging
The Dodgers have a fantastic offense this season. They have great stats despite having to play their home games in a pitcher’s park. And, a home-heavy schedule out of the gate may be further hiding how potent this lineup is. You knew they were good…but you may still be underestimating how good. The Cardinals have a balanced consistent attack that’s certainly capable of taking the team the distance in front of a solid pitching staff. Definitely a potential playoff preview here.
Carlos Frias: 5.34 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 6.0 K-Rate 5.3 IP-per-Start
Michael Wacha: 1.87 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 5.5 K-Rate 6.4 IP-per-Start
Unfortunately, it’s not really a playoff preview in terms of frontline pitching for the Dodgers. We miss their studs in this sequence. Young Carlos Frias (only five starts this season) is likely to be significantly outmatched by Michael Wacha. Wacha has ace caliber stats…and will need to continue a high level given the season-ending injury to Adam Wainwright. Big edge on the mound Saturday to the hosts.
Brett Anderson: 3.47 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 6.2 K-Rate 5.5 IP-per-Start
Carlos Martinez: 3.54 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 9.5 K-Rate 5.8 IP-per-Start
Anderson’s ERA has dropped about two runs over his last five starts, which is a very positive sign for his contributions through the course of the season. Interesting how similar these pitchers are outside of K-Rate. They will be playing similar roles on their rotations through the season…and could find themselves getting an important start or two in the playoffs. We have to call it a wash here. Handicappers will have to determine if LA’s better offense counteracts home field advantage for the Cards.
There are 30 teams in the Majors…and every team has a story. Heck, every team has several stories! If you want to pick winners in Las Vegas in this sport…you have to know those stories and understand how all the pieces fit together. If you’re struggling to do that on your own, YOU NEED JIM HURLEY!
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A great sports week is coming up…here’s what’s on tap in the NOTEBOOK…
Sunday: MLB Handicapping Notes
Monday: MLB Series Preview: New York Yankees at Seattle Mariners
Tuesday: MLB Series Preview: Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals
Wednesday: NBA Championship Preview…Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors
Thursday: MLB Series Preview St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers
Friday: MLB Series Preview: Los Angeles Angels at New York Yankees
Saturday: NBA Early Look for Sunday’s Game Two of Cavaliers/Warriors
The NBA Finals begin Thursday, but we want to get that preview up for you a day in advance so you can map out your plans for the series. That works out best for the baseball slate too since the Cards and Dodgers have a quick rematch with a four-game set that begins Thursday. We’ll get to check in on the New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals in the coming days…as we flesh out our pennant race coverage now that basketball is winding down.
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