New York suffered a 2-0 shutout loss to open a crucial four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium last night.  The team has now lost four straight games and has fallen 7 1/2 games back of the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves.  “We weren’t expecting to go 8-3 and blow away the competition on this road trip,” outfielder Jeff Francoeur said.  “But at the same time, we weren’t expecting to be 1-7 with three games left.  The Mets are now 18-30 on the road this season (-1,030) with the total being 21-23 O/U in those contests.  Offensively, the club has now been held to four or fewer runs in 13 straight games, producing a 3-10 record over that span.  New York has gone 4-10 at Dodger Stadium since the 2007 season.

Mets starting pitcher Johan Santana is 7-5 with a 2.87 ERA in 20 starts this season (-270) and has led the club to three straight victories.  In those starts, he has managed to allow just a single run and 16 hits over 24 innings of work.  The left-hander is a perfect 2-0 with a 0.58 ERA in four starts this month and hasn’t allowed a home run in 31 innings.  Santana is a lights out 3-0 with a 0.44 ERA in three career starts against the Dodgers, which includes a 4-0 home victory on April 27.  In that start, he tossed six shutout innings and scattered four hits.  He has a losing 1-2 mark and 2.93 ERA in 10 outings away from Citi Field.

Los Angeles continues a seven-game homestand tonight (2-2) with the second game of this four-game set.  The team has picked up back-to-back 2-0 wins for the first time since 1963.  Even with last night’s victory, the Dodgers are still just 6-11 against National League East opponents.  The offense has managed to hit just .236 over the last eight games, with the club compiling a 2-6 record over that span.  Los Angeles is 6-2 this season after shutting out an opponent (+370) and the total is 3-5 O/U in those games.  The Dodgers will have their hands filled with one of the best pitchers in baseball on the hill, bringing a losing 14-16 mark against left-handers into tonight’s contest (-700).

Dodgers starting pitcher Vicente Padilla is 4-2 with a 3.65 ERA in 10 starts this season (-290), including leading the team to victories in three of their last four games.  He has tossed 14 shutout innings over his last two starts, but has managed to pick up just a single victory.  The right-hander is a perfect 2-0 with a 0.87 ERA in three outings this month, allowing just nine hits and two runs over 20.2 frames.  In 21 career appearances (12 starts) against the Mets, Padilla is a solid 10-3 with a 3.54 ERA.  He last faced them on September 28, 2005, while with the Phillies, as he has more wins against the Mets than any other MLB team.

Bettors must be cautious in playing the Mets tonight, as the team is 0-8 in their last eight games as an underdog.  It doesn’t get much better with their ace on the hill, with the club being 0-4 in Santana’s last four starts in this situation.  Placing money on the Dodgers may be difficult due to the team’s 2-4 record at home with a money line of -100 to -125.