The Philadelphia Phillies (74-40) head to Dodger Stadium to take on the Los Angeles Dodgers (52-61), with the hopes of rebuilding another winning streak and keeping a firm grip on their Major League-leading win-loss record.
Odds look pretty good for the Phillies to start off another series with a win, as they send Roy Halladay (14-4, 2.55 ERA) to the mound for a quality match-up against one of the least lucky pitchers in baseball, Hiroki Kuroda (7-13, 2.96 ERA).
Halladay has won 3 straight starts, and will look for an NL-leading 15th win of the season tonight, while Kuroda seeks to simply get some run support to help his cause, as he’s been otherwise brilliant against Philadelphia with a promising 2-1 with a 0.84 ERA in 5 starts. Between Halladay on the mound, and Kuroda limiting the Phillies to a .107 batting average over his career, this match-up has the making of being a great pitching duel with a premium on small-ball.
Philadelphia comes off of its first loss in ten games, falling 3-1 on Sunday to the San Francisco Giants, but grabbing 3 of 4 on the road, and on a tear going 17-6 since the All-Star break. Meanwhile, Los Angeles continues their up and down path of mediocrity, 10 games out of 1st place in the NL West, but playing better as of late winning 15 of their last 25, and 9 of 14.
Betting Lines for Philadelphia vs. Los Angeles:
Intertops Sportsbook has Philadelphia as a -153 favorite on the moneyline, and +110 on the spread listed at -1.5 runs. With two quality pitchers on the mound, the over/under total is low, and for good reason, at 6 runs (-105 over, -115 under).
Our Pick to Win:
Hiroki Kuroda helps the Dodgers upset the Phillies in Game 1 at Dodger Stadium tonight, finally getting enough run support to secure a low-scoring victory.
Players to Watch, Philadelphia:
Ryan Howard, 1B – Howard, as usual needs to pick up his batting average, which suffers from his inability to avoid the strikeout. He’s K’d 126 times in 424 at-bats this season (almost 30%), but as the core of the Phillies power, expect Howard to provide in the home run at RBI category as usual in this series, especially with Hunter Pence adding some protection for him in the line-up.
Shane Victorino, CF – Hitting .346 in the last week and .364 over the past 2 weeks, Victorino is making up for Jimmy Rollins’ recent lack of production in the lead off spot, and will need to keep up his hitting to add base runners in front of Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Hunter Pence.
Players to Watch, Los Angeles:
Matt Kemp, CF – He’s been Mr. Consistency for the Los Angeles Dodgers, even though few others have been. Hitting .316 for the year, and just over .300 for the last week, two weeks and 30 days, his production is key to the Dodgers prevailing in this series, and game this evening.
Andre Ethier, RF – Really the only other means of run production for the Dodgers, Ethier is hitting .306 with 10 homers and 51 RBIs on the year. He’s been playing well over the past month, and like Kemp will need to continue to be the backbone of the Dodger offense during this series.