Dodgers appear shakiest of division leaders in MLB

Sep 8, 2009 5:07 PM
The 3-2 Pitch by Andy Iskoe |

Back in April the forecast here was for the World Series to be a battle of New York between the Mets and Yankees.

Right now the team most likely to oppose the Yankees in the Fall Classic is St. Louis. The Cardinals are playing solid baseball, winning 19 of their last 25 and 29 of their last 40 games to tie the Dodgers for the best record in the National League.

Regardless, the postseason can’t get here soon enough.

In the meantime, here’s a look at four series to be played this weekend.

Atlanta at St Louis: Atlanta is running out of time to remain a contender in the Wild Card race but a good showing in this series would aid their cause and give them confidence if they can take at least two of three games.

PREFERRED PLAYS: Atlanta as underdogs of plus 150 or more against Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright or Joel Pineiro; Atlanta if favored by minus 125 or less against other Cardinal starters or as underdogs of any price in starts by Jair Jurrjens or Tommy Hanson; UNDER Totals of 9 or higher in any matchup or UNDER 8 or higher if Carpenter, Wainwright or Pineiro oppose Jurrjens or Hanson.

L. A. Dodgers at San Francisco: There’s nothing like a September series between a pair of bitter rivals contending for the playoffs. The Dodgers have slumped on offense over the past month or so and the Giants have several top notch pitchers capable of continuing the Dodgers’ woes at the plate.

PREFERRED PLAYS: Giants as favorites of minus 150 or less in starts by Tim Lincecum or Matt Cain or as favorites of minus 120 or less in starts by Barry Zito or Jonathan Sanchez; Dodgers as underdogs of more than plus 150 in any matchup or if underdogs of plus 125 or more in starts by Clayton Kershaw or Randy Wolf against Zito or Sanchez; UNDER Totals of 9 or higher in any matchup or UNDER Totals of 8 or higher if Lincecum, Cain or Zito opposes Kershaw or Wolf.

Tampa Bay at Boston: Tampa’s fading hopes of winning the Wild Card hinge on taking at least two of three in this series. The Rays have had success against Boston over the past two seasons and have won 9 of 15 meetings this season. Both offenses are potent but have been inconsistent since the All Star break.

PREFERRED PLAYS: Tampa as underdogs of plus 125 in any matchup but at least plus 150 against Beckett or Lester; UNDER Totals of 9 or higher if Lester faces Matt Garza or James Shields; OVER Totals of 8 or lower in any matchup in which Lester does not start for Boston

Seattle at Texas: This is Wild Card elimination series for Seattle as the Mariners trail Texas by five games and Boston by eight. Tommy Hunter and Scott Feldman are developing into solid starters for Texas under the tutelage of pitching coach Mike Maddux.

PREFERRED PLAYS: Texas as favorites of minus 150 or less in starts by Hunter or Feldman or as underdogs of plus 130 or more against Hernandez; Seattle as favorites of minus 125 or less in a start by Hernandez of as underdogs of play 150 or more against other than Hunter or Feldman; UNDER Totals of 9 or higher in any matchup or UNDER 8 or higher if Hunter or Feldman starts against Hernandez.

Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Andy Iskoe