Monday night will feature a battle of NL West teams when the Los Angeles Dodgers (19-11) travel to AT&T Park to take on the San Francisco Giants (11-17). It has not been a great start to the season for the Giants. Around 30 games in, they already trail the NL West first-place Dodgers by 7 games, and there isn’t a lot of optimism that they can turn it around.
Coming into this one, the Dodgers have won four in a row, including a sweep over the weekend of the Pittsburgh Pirates. For the Giants, they have lost their last three games after being swept by the New York Yankees. In this matchup, the Dodgers will send Kenta Maeda (3-2, 5.20 ERA) to the mound to square off with the Giants’ Jeff Samardzija (2-1, 3.00 ERA). First pitch for this contest is scheduled for 9:45 pm ET.
The moneyline for Monday’s game is set at the Los Angeles Dodgers -145 and the San Francisco Giants +135. The over/under for runs scored is set at 7.5.
First To 20 Wins?
At 19-11, the Dodgers have the most wins of any team in the majors and currently rank third in terms of winning percentage. Much of their success early on has to be credited to their offense and, more specifically, Cody Bellinger.
To this point, Bellinger is on a historic pace, currently hitting .427/.500/.913 with 14 home runs, 36 runs batted in, 30 runs scored and 5 stolen bases. Oh yeah, did I mention that we still have a couple of days left of April. It is unreal the production levels that he has put up, and he has his team rolling as a result of it. Even more impressive, for a guy who has historically struck out a lot, he has more walks (17) to date than he does strikeouts (14).
When you throw in hot starts from players like Joc Pederson (10 home runs), Alex Verdugo (batting .333) and Max Muncy (5 home runs, 16 runs batted in), it is no wonder the Dodgers are off to a good pace.
As good as the Dodgers’ offense has been, their pitching staff isn’t too far behind. They currently rank 10th in the major leagues in earned run average at 4.05. Still, as good as the pitching staff has been, Kenta Maeda has not been quite as good.
While he is 3-2, Maeda has a 5.20 ERA, 1.45 WHIP and opponents are hitting .260 against him. In 27.2 innings, he has allowed 27 hits, 16 earned runs, 5 home runs and has struck out 25 versus 13 walks. In his last outing, a 7-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs, Maeda went just 4 innings, allowing 7 hits, 3 walks, and 6 earned runs while striking out 5. He will look to bounce back on Monday against the Giants.
Giants Looking For Optimism
It has been very hit or miss for the Giants thus far. On the one hand, their offense is struggling, ranking 28th in the majors in runs scored at 3.15 per game. On the other hand, their pitching staff has been quite good, ranking 4th in the majors with a 3.45 ERA.
One player who has pitched well early this season is Monday’s starter, Jeff Samardzija. On the season, he is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and opponents are hitting .224 against him in 5 starts. Through 27 innings, he has allowed 22 hits, 9 earned runs, 3 home runs and has struck out 24 while walking 9. In his last start, a 7-6 win over Toronto, Samardzija went 5.1 innings, allowing 5 hits, 2 earned runs and struck out 4.
Offensively, though, they have been dreadful. They have no one on the team hitting over .300, and collectively, they have as many home runs as a team as Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson do combined. It has been so bad that Buster Posey has their third highest batting average and he is only hitting .247.
Brandon Belt and Kevin Pillar lead the team with 5 home runs each, and Pillar leads the team with just 17 runs batted in (only two other players have double-digit runs batted in). Sadly, this lack of offense has meant that the pitching has to be darn near perfect every night for the team to have a chance.
Dodgers Take Game One
This one comes down to the offense. I am just not sold that the Giants can put up enough runs to keep up with the Dodgers. Samardzija has had a nice start to the season, but he is far from infallible, while Kenta Maeda will actually get a nice boost playing in the spacious AT&T Park.
I am not sure that Bellinger and Pederson will continue to rack up the home run totals over the next few days, but I do expect the Dodgers’ offense to take it to the Giants. As we all know in baseball, anything can happen, but for my money, I feel very confident in taking my chances with the Dodgers at -145.