The Coach's 10* MLB "ACE OFF" - Kershaw vs Cole
LA Dodgers vs. Pittsburgh,
08/07/2015 19:05 EDT,
Score: 4 - 5
Point Spread: +1½/-138 Pittsburgh
The Pittsburgh Pirates are coming into this contest as owners of the first Wild Card in the NL and are trying to chase down the Cardinals for the NL Central top spot. They'll host a hot Los Angeles Dodgers team for the opener of a three-game set Friday night, but I expect the Pirates to hold this to a one run game at the very least.
Here are my keys to the game:
1. Pitching - The Dodgers hand the ball to Clayton Kershaw (9-6, 2.37 ERA) who's been nothing short of outstanding in his last four starts, hurling a total of 34 shutout innings while fanning 45 batters. He's been far more efficient home at Dodger Stadium with a 1.66 ERA compared to a 3.03 mark away from home, and his scoreless streak is bound to end soon. The Pirates will counter with Gerrit Cole (14-5, 2.29 ERA) who conceded three runs (two earned) in five innings of a 4-3 loss at Cincinnati his last start. He was 3-1 with a 2.40 ERA in four starts last month though and has earned the "W" in each of his two career starts against the Dodgers.
2. Situational - The Pirates have won five of their last six games with Jeff Kellogg behind home plate and they're 6-2 in their last eight following an off day. The Dodgers have lost four of their last five as a road favorite of -110 to -150 and are unmotivated big favorites here.
3. X-Factor - Andrew McCutchen is 6-for-19 with a homer in previous meetings with Kershaw and Cole's personal catcher Chris Stewart is 6-for-12 against the Dodgers' ace.
Selection: This is a play on the Pittsburgh Pirates +1.5 (10*)