The Los Angeles Dodgers got pretty busy in the trade market, adding a couple of arms to the starting rotation. But it's the vaunted 1-2 punch that will be critical in leading this team toward the National League West title. Arguably the more imposing member of that duo will be lacing 'em up for a shot at a hated rival driving up on the freeway.

Clayton Kershaw is the pitcher for the Dodgers (57-45) on Friday night, as the team suddenly finds itself in a very tight race for the NL West championship with the San Francisco Giants, who they lead by just half a game. The Los Angeles Angels of nearby Anaheim are 55-46, and they briefly held the lead in the AL West, but relinquished it to the Houston Astros and trail by two games. Friday's action gets underway at 10:10 PM ET at Dodgers Stadium, which (trivia time!) was ever-so-briefly the home of the Angels in the early 1960s.

The Dodgers are the -225 favorites in the three-game series, as posted at BetAnySports, where fans can get in on the wagering even after the proceedings begin, as they access the terrific feature of Live Betting Extra.

Kershaw (8-6, 2.51 ERA) has been pretty close to untouchable in many of his recent starts, and he will get the ball for the Dodgers after three starts and 29 consecutive innings of scoreless baseball. Hector Santiago (7-4, 2.43 ERA), who was a member of the American League All-Star team, is on the mound for the Halos. Yes, that's right - he has a lower earned run average than the three-time Cy Young Award winner.

In the MLB odds that have been established on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, the Dodgers are favored by a considerable price:

Los Angeles Dodgers (Kershaw) -195
Los Angeles Angels (Santiago) +183

Over 6.5 runs -110
Under 6.5 runs -110

Well, maybe the question is whether this is a considerable price by Kershaw's standards. After all, Santiago did allow three runs in five innings against the Texas Rangers last time out, but prior to that he had five straight outings in which he permitted no more than one run to cross the plate. And as we said, he's got a lower ERA than Kershaw.

The Angels have lost six of their last seven games, although admittedly it is because the pitching has broken down. They have also scored three runs or less in four of those games.

And BetAnySports patrons need to consider this when sizing up the MLB odds: in his last three starts, encompassing 26 innings, Kershaw has not only yielded just 14 hits, but along with no runs allowed, he has struck out double-digits in each (a total of 38) WITHOUT WALKING ANYONE. It is the first time in history that has been done.

Undoubtedly the matchup many people will be watching is that between Kershaw, who was last year's NL MVP, and Mike Trout, who won the MVP in the AL and may be on his way to doing it again (31 HR, .312 average, 1.031 OPS). In four plate appearances against Kershaw, Trout has gone 2 for 3 and also walked. Both players have injuries they are nursing; Kershaw has some soreness in his hip that pushed this start back from Wednesday, while Trout just came back Thursday after sitting out two games with a mild wrist injury.

The guy Kershaw probably has to worry about even more is three-time MVP Albert Pujols, who has figured the star lefty out, with ten hits in 22 official lifetime at bats in the regular season and playoffs combined.

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