Cardinals at Dodgers Picks and MLB Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 5/24/2013
According to media reports out of Los Angeles, Don Mattingly will still be the Dodgers' manager when they open a three-game series against visiting St. Louis on Friday night. Whether Mattingly is still in the dugout on Monday could be up for debate.
Everyone knows by now that the Dodgers have been a massive disappointment this year despite the highest payroll in baseball history at $230 million. The team enters Friday at 19-26 and last in the NL West. The Dodgers' minus-32 run differential is one of baseball's worst, and ESPN's playoff odds predictor gives the team a 3.6 percent chance of making it. Last year, this team was in first into June despite nowhere near the same amount of talent.
The Cardinals have no such problems. They enter off winning two straight in San Diego and haven't lost a series since late April. That was also the last time St. Louis lost consecutive games. The Cards have the best winning percentage in baseball along with the best road mark in the game at 16-8. Mike Matheny, in his second year, has to be a leading NL Manager of the Year candidate.
This is the teams' first meeting of the season, with the Dodgers visiting St. Louis for four games in early August. Los Angeles won the season series in 2012, 6-5, and was 5-2 at home. This will be the first time that Dodgers batting coach Mark McGwire sees his former Cardinals franchise since he left the same position there last November.
Cardinals at Dodgers Betting Story Lines
It's almost as if Mattingly was daring his bosses to fire him before Wednesday's game in Milwaukee. Mattingly essentially questioned the team's effort this season, particularly vastly underachieving outfielder Andre Ethier, who was benched for the third time in six games.
"It's not just all, 'Let’s go put an All-Star team out there and play games and the team with the All-Star team wins.' It's trying to find that balance of a team that's got a little grit and a little fight. They'll fight you, and has enough talent to get there also, with that. All grit and no talent is not going to get you there and all talent and no grit is not going to get you there. There's got to be a mixture of both," Mattingly said to reporters.
The Dodgers have no one to blame but themselves, signing Ethier to a five-year, $85 million extension last year. He's hitting .265 with four homers and 15 RBI, but frankly he's been at least as good as if not better than Matt Kemp has. But Kemp makes a lot more and is the presumed franchise player, so he won't get called out.
Ethier didn't know what Mattingly had said until after the game, and Ethier said he took offense to the comments. It will be fascinating to see if Ethier plays Friday. His replacement, rookie Scott Van Slyke (Andy's son), was 2-for-4 with two RBI in Wednesday's 9-2 win. The Dodgers would love to deal Ethier and call up super-prospect Yasiel Puig to stick in him right field, but no team in its right mind would take Ethier without the Dodgers eating a vast majority of the $79 million left on his deal.
The Cardinals start right-hander Lance Lynn (6-1, 3.27) in Friday's opener. The team has lost two of his past three starts, and he was knocked around for four runs and eight hits in five innings last time out against the Brewers. Lynn faced the Dodgers twice last season, going 1-0 with a 3.75 ERA despite the fact L.A. batters hit .304 off him. No current Dodger has more than six career at-bats against Lynn.
The St. Louis rotation is in a bit of trouble right now. Lefty Jaime Garcia has a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder and will undergo season-ending surgery. The 26-year-old was 5-2 with a 3.58 ERA before reporting shoulder pain. Rookie Tyler Lyons was called up to take Garcia's start Wednesday. Jake Westbrook remains on the disabled list until early next month with an elbow problem. The club is cautiously optimistic that Chris Carpenter can debut perhaps late next month, but that can hardly be called likely. Rookie Shelby Miller has been awesome, but his innings will be limited. St. Louis probably will be in the market for an arm before the July 31 trade deadline.
Los Angeles counters with lefty Chris Capuano (1-2, 4.84). All of a sudden, he's been great, allowing just two earned runs and 10 hits over 13.2 innings in his past two starts. Capuano had two starts against the Redbirds in 2012, going 0-1 with a 10.38 ERA (his highest against any team). He allowed a whopping 18 hits -- three homers -- in just 8.2 innings. Matt Holliday is hitting .370 with two homers and three RBI in 27 career at-bats against Capuano. Allen Craig is 5-for-8 with a homer, two doubles and three RBI.
Cardinals at Dodgers Betting Odds and Trends
At BetOnline, St. Louis opened at -118 and Los Angeles at +108 with the total at 7.5 The Cards are 22-22-2 “over/under” this season (11-11-2 on road) and 26-20 on the runline. The Dodgers are 24-18-3 O/U (15-8-1 at home) and 18-27 on the runline.
St. Louis is 4-0 in its past four Friday games. It has won nine of its past 12 series openers. The Cards have dropped four straight against lefty starters. St. Louis is 8-1 in Lynn's past nine series-opening starts. The Cards are 0-4 in Lynn's past four after scoring at least five runs in their previous game. The Dodgers are 1-5 in their past six after an off day. They are 1-6 in their past seven series openers. L.A. is 3-7 in Capuano's past 10 home starts. The Dodgers have lost Capuano's past six series openers. The under is 6-1 in St. Louis past seven following an off day. The over is 9-2 in the Dodgers' past 11 series openers. The over is 5-1-1 in Capuano's past seven home starts.
Cardinals at Dodgers Picks and Betting Predictions
I don't have a rooting interest in either team here as a fan, but I am rooting for a Cardinals sweep just to see what the Dodgers' brass does Sunday night/Monday. Wouldn't it be ironic if Mattingly is fired right before the Dodgers host the crosstown and equally disappointing Angels on Monday? The Dodgers players seem to respect Mattingly -- well, maybe Ethier doesn't now -- so I am going to guess all this drama spurs them a bit. If not, Mattingly's a goner soon. So go with Los Angeles and the over (+110).
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