MLB Picks: Cardinals vs. Dodgers Series Odds and Predictions
by Darin Zank - 4/14/2011
The St. Louis Cardinals got bad news before they even got out of Spring Training, with Adam Wainwright going down and out for the season with an elbow injury. And now St. Louis, a perennial contender in the NL Central, is off to a slow start, as the bats have been cold. On top of all, that the Cards are on the West Coast for a 10-game road trip, which concludes this weekend with a four-game series vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chavez Ravine starting tonight.
St. Louis is off to a 5-7 start to this season, and sits in fifth place in the NL Central, three games behind first-place Cincinnati. The Cardinals opened by dropping two of three games to both San Diego and Pittsburgh at home, then they lost two of three in San Francisco. But they pounded Arizona Wednesday, 15-5, to win that series. With a slow start from, among others, Albert Pujols, St. Louis scored a total of 27 runs through its first nine games. But they exploded for 31 runs in three games vs. the Diamondbacks, so maybe the Cardinals bats are heating up.
LA is off to a 6-6 start this season, and sits tied for second place in the NL West, three games back of division-leading Colorado. The Dodgers opened by taking three of four from World Series champion San Francisco, then lost two games in Colorado. They then won two of three in San Diego, but just dropped two of three in San Francisco. LA has also been having some problems scoring runs, averaging less than 3 1/2 per game, and they've only hit seven home runs so far.
The Dodgers also took a hit earlier this week, placing shortstop and lead-off hitter Rafael Furcal on the disabled list with a broken thumb. So 37-year-old Jamey Carroll takes over as the regular starting SS.
St. Louis will throw lefty Jaime Garcia in the series opener Thursday night (10:10 p.m. EST), Kyle Lohse Friday (10:10 p.m. EST), Kyle McClellan Saturday (10:10 p.m. EST) and Chris Carpenter Sunday (4:10 p.m. EST). Los Angeles will counter with Hiroki Kuroda, Jon Garland (coming off the DL to make his first start of the season), Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley, respectively.
Garcia, coming off a fine 2010, is off to a good start this year, allowing just one earned run on eight hits in 15 innings, walking three and striking out 18 in starts vs. the Padres and Giants. But in his only start last year vs. the Dodgers Garcia gave up eight hits and two ERs in 3 1/3 innings pitched.
Kuroda is 2-0 out of the gate, allowing three ERs on 12 hits in 15 2/3 innings also vs. the Pads and Giants. And he was pretty effective in two starts last year vs. St. Louis, giving up just one ER on eight hits in 13 innings, walking two and striking out 14. Both those games played ‘under’ on the totals.
Lohse is coming off a win over San Francisco Sunday, allowing just one ER on five hits in eight IP. He did not pitch against the Dodgers last year.
Garland went on the DL during spring training with a strained oblique, and hasn't pitched yet this season. Last year, as a member of the Padres, Garland started twice vs. the Cardinals, allowing four ERs on 11 hits in 14 innings. Both those games stayed ‘under’ the totals.
McClellan has started twice this season, and the Cards have won both his starts. He gave up two ERs in six innings to the Pirates, and one ER in six innings vs. the D-Backs. McClellan didn't start vs. the Dodgers last year, but he made three relief appearances, holding LA scoreless on three hits through 4 1/3 innings of work.
Kershaw looks good in this early going, allowing just three ERs on 16 hits in three starts covering 19 2/3 IP, walking four and striking out 24. The Dodgers are 2-1 in his starts, while the totals have gone 0-3. Last year Kershaw went 1-1 vs. St. Louis, allowing seven ERs on 12 hits in 11 1/3 IP.
Carpenter made two quality starts this season before getting clipped by Arizona for eight ERs in four innings Wednesday night. And the Cardinals are 0-3 in Carpenter's starts this season. Last year the former Cy Young award winner made two starts vs. LA, allowing just one ER on 10 hits in 15 innings.
Billingsley is off to a slow start this season, giving up 12 ERs on 18 hits in 14 IP. And the Dodgers have lost two of his three starts. Last year Billingsley made one start vs. the Cardinals and got bombed for seven ER on 10 hits in four innings of an 8-4 LA loss.
Last year the Cardinals took the season series from the Dodgers four games to three. And the totals went 4-2-1 in this series, even as the games averaged just 7.9 total runs.
Cardinals vs. Dodgers betting odds and trends
As of Thursday morning BetUS is listing the Dodgers at -145 to win this series, with the Cardinals getting +115 as the underdogs.
The totals are 5-6-1 in Cardinals games this season.
The totals are 6-4-2 in Dodgers games this season.
The totals went 41-38 in games played at Dodger Stadium last year, which averaged 8.1 RPG, which ranked 21st among all ML ballparks.
The Cardinals are 37-18 the last 55 games vs. the Dodgers.
MLB Picks: Cardinals vs. Dodgers Series Predictions
The St. Louis bats seem to be coming around, and Pujols won't stay cold forever. But we give Kuroda the advantage Thursday night, and Kershaw should get the Dodgers a win Saturday. That means if LA can pull out a win Friday or Sunday, they'll win this series. And that's the way we'll go. Take the Dodgers.
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