Milwaukee Brewers at Los Angeles Dodgers Series Odds and Preview
by Matt Severance - 5/4/2010
Is Milwaukee at Los Angeles really the best baseball series going on early this week? It certainly is not, but both teams have a lot in common in that they have been very disappointing this year and are in danger of already falling too far behind in their respective divisions despite the fact it’s only early May. The Dodgers are -240 series favorites for this one at Bookmaker.
The Brewers enter at 10-15 and already seven games behind the NL Central-leading Cardinals. Milwaukee’s pitching was supposed to be a question mark entering this season, and it has not been good as the Brew Crew’s team ERA of 5.09 is the fourth-worst in baseball. Closer Trevor Hoffman has been getting shelled. But the offense was supposed to be a strength, and that definitely wasn’t the case in the Brewers dropping three of four to San Diego over the weekend. How bad was it? Milwaukee was held to all of two runs by the Padres and was blanked three times (obviously those being the three games it lost).
Here are some great stats courtesy of the Brewers’ team site: Milwaukee is hitting .325 against the Pittsburgh Pirates this season with 10.17 runs per game and a .610 slugging percentage. In their other 19 games, the Brewers are hitting .245 with 3.53 runs per game and a .367 slugging percentage. And here’s more: Excluding their 17-run game against the Pirates on April 26, the Brewers are scoring 1.56 runs per game in the other nine games since their 20-0 victory over Pittsburgh on April 22. Milwaukee is 1-8 in those nine.
Everyone said that Milwaukee slugger Prince Fielder was the happiest guy other than Ryan Howard when Howard got his massive new contract because Fielder figured to cash in when he’s a free agent in two years. Well, Fielder is hitting .234 with two homers and nine RBI this season after hitting 46 bombs and driving in 141 in 2009.
The Dodgers enter on a bit of a hot streak, having won three games in a row. But those came against the lousy Pirates over the weekend. Before Pittsburgh visited, L.A. had lost five in a row and seven of eight. At 11-14, the Dodgers are five games behind the surprising NL West-leading Padres.
L.A.’s problem is mostly pitching, as the Dodgers are 20th in team ERA at 4.61. Starters Hiroki Kuroda and Clayton Kershaw have been good, but Chad Billingsley is still inconsistent and the team has major questions at No. 4 and 5 in the rotation – especially with Opening Day starter Vicente Padilla out until at least June.
The Dodger offense has been excellent, ranking first in the NL in batting average and fifth in MLB in runs. Andre Ethier is an MVP candidate, as he leads all active Dodgers in average (.365), homers (nine), RBI (26), on-base percentage (.432) and slugging (.729). He homered for the third consecutive day Sunday, hitting two that day. L.A. is now 9-1 all-time when Ethier homers twice in game. James Loney is a beast at home, hitting .500 at Dodger Stadium. Meanwhile, starting shortstop Rafael Furcal has been unavailable to the Dodgers since he strained his hamstring on April 27, and he could be bound for the disabled list. Manny Ramirez has been on the 15-day disabled list since April 23 with a right calf strain but is eligible to be activated on Saturday.
The Brewers won two of three games in Los Angeles last season.
Here are the pitching probables for this series:
Tuesday – Brewers LHP Chris Narveson (1-0, 6.60) vs. Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw (1-1, 3.07)
Wednesday – Brewers LHP Doug Davis (0-3, 8.87) vs. Dodgers RHP Chad Billingsley (2-1, 4.85)
Thursday – Brewers RHP Dave Bush (1-2, 4.60) vs. Dodgers RHP John Ely (0-1, 7.50)
Ely, a rookie, makes his second big-league start on Thursday and gets the ball ahead of knuckleballer Charlie Haeger, who was in the rotation but has been getting pounded (0-3, 7.45 ERA). Haeger has been moved to long relief by manager Joe Torre. Ely allowed five runs on six hits and three walks in six innings Wednesday in a 7-1 loss to the Mets.
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