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Dodgers’ Kershaw and D-Backs’ Greinke Duel

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Updated: .April 14, 2017

By Charles Jay

The Arizona Diamondbacks got off to a quick start this season, and they hope they don’t cool down all that much, as they are in first place in the National League West division. Unfortunately for them, they will be going up against just the kind of pitcher who can calm them in a hurry, as southpaw Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers awaits them for the start of a four-game series on Friday night at Dodger Stadium. They will throw the first pitch at 10:15 PM ET, and if you are an America’s Bookie customer, you can take advantage of either of two “Live Betting” options in your sportsbook interface to stay involved in the action even after gets underway.

In the MLB odds posted on this game, the Dodgers are big favorites:

Los Angeles Dodgers (Kershaw – L) -260
Arizona Diamondbacks (Greinke – R) +220

Dodgers -1.5 runs (-120)
Diamondbacks +1.5 runs (+100)

Over six runs -120
Under six runs +100

Here’s the problem with the Dodgers – they scored a ton of runs in a few of their games, and almost nothing in all the others. In fact, in five of their last six contests, they have tallied two runs or less. And they suffered the ignominious fate of being shut out by the Chicago Cubs yesterday, with Brett Anderson, a former member of their pitching staff, making the start for the defending world champions. So you might say they lack consistency, and they certainly have not had a heck of a lot of luck against southpaws. For example, Yasiel Puig, who leads the team with three home runs, is 0-15 against lefties. It’s just their luck that one of their guys who can hit left-handers, Franklin Gutierrez, will be out for a while with a hamstring injury. But at least they got Justin Turner back. His quad injury was not as serious as some feared, and he returned to the lineup on Thursday to reach base four times in five at-bats. He’ll definitely be needed here, as he is hitting .355.

And of course, the Dodgers also have second-year shortstop Corey Seager, which is a big bonus against tonight’s starter. Zach Greinke, who made for a powerful 1-2 punch with Kershaw for three seasons in a Dodger uniform, took a huge $206.5 million contract from Arizona last season and is looking to redeem himself for what has to be considered a disappointing 2016 campaign, in which he had a 13-7 record but also a 4.37 ERA. That might be passable for some pictures, but consider that Greinke, in his last season in a Dodger uniform, led the NL with a 1.66 earned run average and compiled a 19-3 record, at times being positively unhittable. Over three seasons at Chavez Ravine, he went 51-15. But Seager has lit him up for two homers and has raached base seven times in ten plate appearances against him.

Kershaw suffered a back injury last season that kept him out for all of July and all of August. He was inconsistent in the post-season, with a few subpar starts. He had a very strong outing on opening day against the San Diego Padres, giving up just two hits over seven innings, but then allowed four runs in six innings against Colorado last time out, surrendering back-to-back homers to Mark Reynolds and Gallardo Parra. Last year he faced Arizona only once, and gave up two runs in 7 1/3 frames.

So the Dodgers have a hard time scoring. And can Greinke be as bad as his last time at Dodger Stadium, when he gave up five home runs in less than five innings? Who knows – maybe he could. Arizona has the capability of a lot of offense, and that includes an early outburst from third baseman Jake Lamb, who is hitting .342. But they have not had their hitting shoes on the road, batting just .210 as the visitor, and Paul Goldschmidt, their solid-gold first baseman, has done some good things against Kershaw (two career home runs) but also some bad things as well (15 strikeouts in 41 plate appearances). Yes, we are trusting the superstar lefty in this one, but we’ll lay the price in the run line, as the Charles Jay/America’s Bookie Challenge continues on Friday night.

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