By Ramon Scott, @rsstreams
Wednesday’s pitching ace showdown of the year pits Clayton Kershaw, of the Dodgers, and Madison Bumgarner, of the Giants, in an NL West early-season meeting of teams starting out the campaign headed in opposite directions.
The Dodgers are the lead contender in the division so far, while the World Champion Giants have quickly fallen into the cellar, as injuries and a lack of hitting have contributed to the slow start.
The Dodgers have allowed the third fewest runs in the league at 3.6 runs per game and third least hits in the league at 8.2 per game. Kershaw is by far the highest priced pitcher on the slate, coming in at 12k on FanDuel, a low mark so far in four starts.
Kershaw has allowed 22 hits in 18.1 innings so far this season, with 26 strikeouts.
Bumgarner is 9.8k tonight on DK on 9.9k on FanDuel, which was his price on opening day. He is the fourth-highest salaried pitcher on FanDuel. There has been plenty of conversation and speculation regarding his mediocre start, as he has allowed 22 hits in 17 innings, with a 5.29 ERA.
The betting total on this game is slightly under 6, with the Dodgers favored at -127 overnight. That expected result would put a predicted final score at 3.05-2.85 in favor of Los Angeles.
Both pitchers have fared well against several of the opposing bats. Kershaw has limited the current Giants to just a .211 batting average over 247 at-bats, while Bumgarner has held this Dodgers’ crew to a flat .200 over 190 at-bats.
Brandon Belt (3-for-27), Brandon Crawford (1-for-17) and Buster Posey (11-for-60) are three regular with rather sub-par numbers against Kershaw, while Andre Ethier (3-for-24), Adrian Gonzalez (4-for-35) and Jimmy Rollins (3-for-17) all have had fits against Bumgarner.
Bumgarner is usually dominant on the road, however, and is numbers have been less stellar at home. We think the start is just been rough, and he should correct, but Kershaw is likely ready to dominate this Giants’ lineup on Wednesday night.
Elsewhere on Wednesday night, four teams rank far and away as the expected highest scoring games.
Of course, San Diego at Colorado is expected to put up numbers, as the overnight line of San Diego -126, with a game total at well over 9 1/2, gives us a projected score of 4.95-4.75 for San Diego.
James Shields has allowed a .324 average to the current Rockies’ roster in 105 at-bats, while Kyle Kendrick has the allowed current Padres’ players to .303 in 76 at-bats.
In the American League, Toronto is a slight -113 favorite overnight, with a game total of a little over 8 1/2, projects out to be 4.85-4.75 Blue Jays.
There is one day game on the slate, as Cleveland visits the White Sox, featuring a nice pitching matchup of Corey Kluber and Jeff Samardzija.
Toronto’s Devon Travis is questionable tonight vs. Baltimore (ribs). Milwaukee Jonathan Lucroy is very questionable tonight for MIL. In Colorado, Nolan Arenado is possibly out again with a wrist injury, as he missed the last game as a late scratch. Omar Infante, of the Royals, is doubtful tonight against Minnesota with a groin injury.
PLAYERS TO AVOID
Albert Pujols – The Angels’ Pujols is 1-for-13 over his career so far against the A’s Sonny Gray.
Jose Bautista – The Blue Jays’ Bautista is just 2-for-29 against Ubaldo Jimenez, of the Orioles.
Ryan Braun – The Brewers’ Braun was 8-for-38 with one walk and 11 strikeouts against the Reds’ Johnny Cueto.