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Bumgarner Looks to Spark Giants

Updated: .July 30, 2017

By Charles Jay

The Los Angeles Dodgers are making a mockery of the race in the National League West. With the outcome of that division race not much in doubt, they are playing with a “World Series or Bust” attitude. On Sunday night they will be in action against the San Francisco Giants and someone considered to be one of the game’s premier left-handed pitchers. Game time is 8:05 PM ET at Dodger Stadium, and customers at America’s Bookie will have the opportunity to place wagers after the first pitch has been thrown, as they access two separate “Live Betting” options available through the sportsbook interface.

The Dodgers got 5-2/3 innings of two-hit ball out of Rich Hill on Saturday, then shutdown work out of the bullpen, as they won a 2-1 decision. That gives therm a home record of 46-13, easily the best in the majors, and their 73-31 overall mark not only has them 13 games ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the division race, but also puts them at .702, which has them on track to win just short of 114 games.

The Giants were expected by some to challenge the Dodgers for supremacy in the division, but things went downhill badly. They are 40-65, which is 33 and a half games behind the Dodgers, and only one team – the Philadelphia Phillies – has a worse record in all of baseball.

Matt Cain was originally scheduled to get the start for manager Bruce Bochy, but Madison Bumgarner will assume that role instead. Early in the season he was impressive, then got in a dirt bike accident and had to spend a lot of time on the shelf, during which time the Giants folded. He has a record of just 1-4, which doesn’t seem to match the earned run average of 3.38.

The Dodgers also go with a left-hander. He’s Hyun-Jin Ryu, who’s had an up-and-down season and right around average over his last four starts.

In the baseball betting odds posted on this game, the Dodgers are the favorites at home:

Los Angeles Dodgers (Ryu) -150
San Francisco Giants (Bumgarner) +130

Under 8 Runs -115
Over 8 Runs -105

Giants +1.5 Runs -170
Dodgers -1.5 Runs +150

Bumgarner actually spent three months idle after his accident, so it was actually very credible that he returned to action with seven innings of four-hit baseball against San Diego. But he gave up a couple of homers, and did the same in his next start, also against the Padres, and that was the first time in his career he had allowed more than one homer in consecutive outings. When you look at what he has done, he has actually been above average (using the Game Score as a barometer) in every start but one.

His strikeout-walk ratio of 42-to-8 (better than 5-to-1) is excellent, although he has not punched out batters with the consistency he has in the past. But with a WHIP ratio of 1.08, he stands to be very competitive in just about any situation.

Of course, one consideration here is that his team has won a third of its road games (18-36) while the Dodgers have been so deadly at Chavez Ravine. And MadBum has gotten 3.3 runs per outing from his teammates. But Ryu has been a potential weak spot in this Dodger rotation. He’ll walk too many people (2.9 per nine), although it should be noted that one of three Game Scores at 60 or higher came against the Giants on April 24 (one run allowed in six innings of work).

Should we throw the home-road splits out the window for this game? Perhaps, if Bumgarner is on his game. He has been switched with Cain not just because it keeps him on a regular schedule, but also in the hope of lighting a fire under this team, recalling his confrontation with Yasiel Puig last year. We’re going to move with the “upset” in this one, taking the Giants and the price, as the Charles Jay / America’s Bookie Challenge continues on Sunday night.

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