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Philadelphia/LAD over 3.5 -120:
It's no secret that both of these offenses are off to noticeably slow starts during this 3 game series which seems to have Chavez Revine fans needing toothpicks in order to keep their eyes open. Spare no expense of boredom, the LA Dodgers (13-9) need a win just to salvage a split of this 4 game set against Philadelphia (10-11). Zack Greinke outpitched Cole Hamels with 7 strong innings, Hanley Ramirez hit a home run and Yasiel Puig drove in 2 runs for a Dodger 5-2 victory on Wednesday night.
The fanatics send Kyle Kendick (0-2 3.60) to the mound Thursday night who despite looking fairly sharp so far this season has not been the beneficiary of run support. Last time out the 29 year old right-hander gave up just 3 runs on 6 hits in 7 IP but lost 3-1 to Colorado at hitter-friendly Coors Field. Kendrick will be facing a Dodgers lineup who while keeping things interesting as of late has had difficulty producing in the clutch. Hitting just .240 and averaging exactly 4 runs per contest, the core of the lineup has sorely underachieved due to inefficiency and injuries. Dee Gordon (.369 1 6) has been solid near the top of the lineup as evident by his speed with 12 steals and ability to manufacture runs scored. Juan Uribe (.310 3 8) is off to a solid start in April but has tailed off significantly evident of a 1 for 16 slump. Adrian Gonzalez (.284 5 17) looks to continue his torrid pace driving in runs and picking up some key hits with RISP. Puig (.269 2 10) was one of the heroes last night but Andre Eithier (.206 2 13) hopes to bounce back after being out a few games with an illness.
The Dodgers counter with Dan Haren (3-0 2.16) who has looked as solid as they come in the early going picking up a win over Arizona 8-6 thanks to some timely run support. Haren yielded 5 runs on 7 hits over 7 IP despite just 2 earned. Haren faces a Phillies lineup who has been erratic offensively in this series and as of late despite hitting a marginal .257 collectively. Chase Utley (.384 3 12) still makes it look so easy at the plate and in the field even after 12 years in the biz. Ben Revere (.284 0 6) has made the most of his opportunities as a speedster while covering a ton of ground in the outfield. Ryan Howard (.273 5 14) is putting up numbers worthy of his health with the only concern his 25 K's in just 77 AB's. Even Jimmy Rollins (.266 3 13) is a threat on the base path if he can continue to be an intricate part of this Phils lineup.
The scenario this evening is all too familiar. A higher than average price with a venue fit for hitters mainly out to left center but otherwise the pitcher's ally. Even I cannot be intimidated by situations like these as both starters have pitched fairly well so far this season. All has been quiet over the first few innings of the series, but all it takes is one mistake to set off a productive frame. Either one or both of these ball clubs still sports talent and productivity in the middle to tail end part of the roster. While we haven't mentioned previous stars like Matt Kemp (.218 3 7) and Carl Crawford (.217) or perhaps even Marlon Byrd (.238 2 12) or Carlos Ruiz (.233), we believe something has to give. Not uncommon for unknowns to have their stars under the lights contributing in a noteworthy fashion. Both pitchers will be battling each other, but one big inning could prove profitable and end this miserable 4 game losing streak I am on, Best of luck however you play!
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