Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals MLB Pick, Odds, Prediction 7/18/14
Los Angeles Dodgers (54-43) at St. Louis Cardinals (52-44)
MLB Baseball: Friday, July 18, 2014 at 8:15 pm (Busch Stadium)
Dan Haren (R) (8-6) (4.234) vs. Lance Lynn (R) (10-6) (3.139)
The Line: St. Louis Cardinals -115 / Los Angeles Dodgers +105 --- Over/Under: 7.5 See the Latest Odds
TV: MLB Network
Two teams jockeying for divisional supremacy in the National League square off on Friday night as the LA Dodgers visit the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Los Angeles Dodgers find themselves in first place in the NL West but it’s not exactly comfortable as the Giants are just a game back. The Dodgers are loaded with star power after spending at will over the past few seasons, and they’ve capitalized thus far on a weak bottom half of the NL West . LA is batting .258 as a team on the year while ranking 6th in the league in on base percentage at .328 and 10th in the league in runs scored. While hitters like Yasiel Puig, Hanley Ramirez, and Adrian Gonzalez get plenty of attention, it has really been the starting pitching staff serving as the Dodgers’ calling card thus far. For Friday’s matchup LA doesn’t trot out one of their premier starters though as Dan Haren gets the nod after ace Clayton Kershaw worked the second inning of the All-Star Game. Haren started the season strong but has been on the decline ever since as he enters this game with a WHIP of 1.27 and ERA of 4.23. The Dodgers have been effective on the road this year with a 29-19 mark that actually exceeds their production at home thus far.
USA TODAY Sports
The St. Louis Cardinals enter the second half of the season a game behind Milwaukee in the NL Central but considering the starts of both teams manager Mike Matheny is plenty content with the current state of affairs. The Cardinals were sitting at .500 on June 6th but played strong ball leading into the All-Star break, now finding themselves 8 games above .500. The clutch hitting that was St. Louis’ signature attribute last season has been on a steep decline as the Cardinals rank 29th in runs scored while batting .252 as a team. The injury of catcher Yadier Molina makes clutch hitting even more of a challenge for this club in addition to increasing the burden of managing the pitching staff and gunning down runners at second base. For Friday’s opener the Cardinals turn to young righty Lance Lynn who is 10-6 on the year with a WHIP of 1.31 and ERA of 3.14. Lynn seems to allow a few too many baserunners for most people’s liking but has proven adept at working out of jams while posting shutouts in three of his last nine starts. Unfortunately for Lynn, he was blasted by the Dodgers on June 28th to the tune of seven runs in just two innings. The Cardinals are 27-20 at home on the year and likely have revenge on their minds after dropping three of four in Los Angeles while only scoring a total of four runs.
The Cardinals send the better hurler out for this one but with Lynn’s recent outing against the Dodgers being so poor and Haren’s continual decline I like the over in this matchup. The Cardinals figure to be aggressive at the plate here after such a dismal display in LA in the previous series and I think this is a logical spot to execute that strategy against a starter that won’t overpower or fool them much.