Last night I bet against a strong lefty from the NL West, and it bit me in the ass, as Madison Bumgarner tossed a complete game in leading the Giants to a 6-1 victory over Washington. Tonight, I’m betting against an even better lefty from the NL West, fading the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, the reigning Cy Young winner. Why would I do this when Kershaw is 3-0 with a 1.21 ERA in his last three starts and 10-6 with a 2.88 ERA on the season? And when the Dodgers are rolling (having won five of their last six) while Pittsburgh is going the other direction (having lost five of its last six, all at home)? And when the Dodgers have beaten the Pirates eight straight times (including the first two games of this series)?
Answer: Because I’m a moron. No, actually, the answer is: Because I see a ton of line value here. Despite their recent struggles, the Pirates are still 36-22 in PNC Park, and prior to this current homestand, they hadn’t lost three in a row on their home field all season. And while Kershaw did win his last two road starts, he’s still just 4-3 with a 3.64 ERA on the highway (compared to 6-3 with a 2.27 ERA at home). Additionally, even though Kershaw has a strong 3.00 ERA in five career starts against Pittsburgh — the Pirates are batting just .186 against him — the southpaw didn’t win any of those games. In fact, L.A. is 1-3 in Kershaw’s last four starts against Pittsburgh, all as a heavy favorite.
Granted, lefty Wandy Rodriguez has had a miserable year with both Houston and Pittsburgh (7-11, 3.91 ERA). But since the beginning of the 2009 season, Rodriguez has dominated the Dodgers, allowing just seven earned runs in seven starts covering 44 2/3 innings (1.41 ERA). That includes a 12-0 victory back in April when Rodriguez (then with Houston) allowed just three hits and three walks in seven shutout innings.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆
Tuesday’s Result: Nationals (+110) at Giants (Loss)