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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, June 19, 2015 at 7:00 AM

Once again, it looks like we’re in for a two-team race in the National League’s West Division. The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants are the only two teams in that group over the .500 mark as we head into the weekend. Those two longtime rivals square off in a three-game set this weekend that will be prominently covered by network TV cameras.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are the market pick to win the West…and one of three tri-favorites to win the NL along with Washington and St. Louis. On one hand, you can see why they might even be better than their full season record.

Overall: 37-29 (heading into Thursday’s action)

One-Run Games: 9-12

Pythagorean Projection: 39-27

The Dodgers “should be about 11-12 games over the .500 mark rather than just nine based on their overall math. Generally speaking teams eventually play to their math. So, this two-team race may only be a one-team race! Note that the Giants have been a fortunate 11-8 in one-run games…and have the stats of a team who should be about 5-6 games off the pace.

But…we still have that other hand coming! On the other hand, the Dodgers may be one of those teams that bullies weak opposition but struggles vs. quality.

 

LA Dodgers vs. teams at .500 or better: 4-15

LA Dodgers vs. teams under the .500 mark: 33-14

 

Wow…the Dodgers are getting CRUSHED by good teams…and you just saw a disappointing result vs. the Texas Rangers in that four-game Interleague series we previewed for you Monday. If San Francisco is legitimate, they’ll prove that this weekend against the vulnerable Dodgers. If the Giants are a pretender, the Dodgers will expose them because LAD bullies pretenders! And, in terms of October…it will be very hard to take the Dodgers seriously if they don’t start playing well vs. other good teams.

Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats have to say about the series…

 

OFFENSE

San Francisco: 3.96 runs per game, .327 on-base, .396 slugging

LA Dodgers: 4.30 runs per game, .334 on-base, .434 slugging

The offensive edge clearly goes to the Dodgers, thanks to that superior slugging percentage. This is a great comparison because both are California teams that play their home games in pitcher’s parks. Generally, both are a bit better than realized because of that. Head-to-head? Clear edge to Dodger Blue.

 

FRIDAY’S PITCHERS

Chris Heston: 3.76 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 8.2 K-Rate, 6.1 IP-per-Start

Mike Bolsinger: 2.25 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 8.1 K-Rate, 6.0 IP-per-Start

Heston threw a no-hitter against the Mets two games ago, then had the obvious letdown spot right afterward. He is capable of great outings…but his overall numbers don’t suggest consistent ace material. Bolsinger has been impressive while not lasting very long in his outings. Note that this is San Francisco’s second look at him this season…and he’s struggled in second-look spots vs. San Diego and Colorado. Might be a sleeper edge to the visitor there. At the very least, the numbers above overstate Bolsinger’s advantage.

 

SATURDAY’S PITCHERS

Tim Hudson: 4.65 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 4.5 K-Rate, 6.1 IP-per-Start

Carlos Frias: 4.14 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 5.3 K-Rate, 5.8 IP-per-Start

Hudson has been very disappointing this season considering his home games are in a pitcher’s park, and he throws in the lower scoring National League. Frias has seen his overall numbers hurt by one horrendous start. But, he has a poor WHIP even if you account for that as well as a low K-Rate. We generally don’t endorse Overs in this ballpark…but you have to think about it here given those pitching lines and these offenses.

 

SUNDAY’S PITCHERS

Tim Lincecum: 3.31 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 7.0 K-Rate, 5.6 IP-per-Start

Brett Anderson: 3.43 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 6.0 K-Rate, 5.6 IP-per-Start

Lincecum has now gone five straight outings without a quality start. That, along with disappointing WHIP and IP numbers are warning signs that his ERA is about to rise even more. He’s falling back to “disappointing” after flirting with “resurgent” earlier in the season. Note how Anderson has very even numbers with Lincecum outside of K-Rate. Interesting series finale that will be the prime time game Sunday night on ESPN.

JIM HURLEY is likely to have at least one big play in this huge weekend series. He’s also paying very close attention to Detroit/NY Yankees, Baltimore/Toronto, Pittsburgh/Washington, and that Interleague series matching the Chicago Cubs and Minnesota Twins. You can purchase the final word for daily baseball right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service, please call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155.

More baseball on deck the next several days…

Saturday: MLB TV Preview…Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees on FOX

Sunday: MLB Notes

Monday: MLB Series Preview…Los Angeles Dodgers at the Chicago Cubs

Tuesday: MLB Series Preview….San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants

Wednesday MLB Big Game Preview…to be determined

Thursday: MLB Series Preview…New York Yankees at Houston Astros

The Giants miss out on both Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke this weekend…giving them a real shot to chase down the Dodgers at the top of the NL West. JIM HURLEY doesn’t need any help beating the oddsmakers. He’s been doing that for more than 25 years! Hook up today with

JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!

 

Be sure to follow:

Jim Hurley on twitter @vsm_hurley

Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters

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