By Charles Jay
Brock Stewart has been groomed for a prominent role on the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ pitching staff, but if all goes well for him, he may wind up being a key figure in the post-season.
Stewart, who has pitched 13 innings of scoreless baseball this season coming out of the bullpen, will be the starter on Wednesday night for Big Blue as they take on the Minnesota Twins in the finale of a three-game series that begins at 10:10 PM ET at Dodger Stadium. Remember that if you are an America’s Bookie customer you will have the opportunity to place wagers even after the game has started, using two different “Live Betting” options in the sportsbook interface.
Stewart had five starts for the Dodgers last season, and compiled a 5.79 ERA, which in and of itself is not impressive, but what he appears to have is command of up to three pitches – a fastball, slider and change, and this resulted in almost a 5-to-1 ratio of strikeouts to walks last season. This year in the minors he had fourteen K’s and only one walk. So naturally if this can translate over to the majors in a big way, manager Dave Roberts will have something special on his hands.
And the Dodgers already have a lot of southpaw action in the rotation, with the likes of Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood, Rich Hill and (soon enough) Julio Urias. As a righty, Stewart offers a nice change of pace, if he is effective.
Ervin Santana makes the start for Minnesota, and even though he is still having one of the best years of his career, he has slumped lately. The Twins have fallen 4.5 games behind the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central, although they are just three games behind the Kansas City Royals, who entered Wednesday’s action as the second AL wild card team. The Dodgers are 70-31, which gives them a 12.5-game lead over the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West. They have the best home record in baseball – a blistering 43-13.
Here are the numbers on this game, which show the Dodgers as sizable favorites:
Los Angeles Dodgers (Stewart) -210
Minnesota Twins (Santana) +175
Over 8.5 Runs -120
Under 8.5 Runs +100
Twins +1.5 Runs -130
Dodgers -1.5 Runs +110
Santana is 11-7 with a 3.26 ERA, and he has pitched well enough to have been named to the American League All-Star team. But he was leading the major leagues in earned run average not too long ago, so there has been a regression of sorts. He did not do well in his last start, lasting only 3-1/3 innings before getting pulled from a loss to Detroit, and he had allowed five runs.
The opposition is hitting only .122 against Stewart, but he has not pitched for long stretches in these games, so it is likely that Roberts will limit him in terms of the pitch count. So Stewart may go four innings here.
This is not necessarily the worst thing in the world for the Dodgers, or for us either, as we continue with the Charles Jay / America’s Bookie Challenge, as we can contemplate a number of possibilities. One is the under, since the likelihood is that the Dodgers will have a number of guys throwing heat at the Twins in what amounts to a “bullpen” game. The “under” in the five-inning prop, which is even money at 4.5 runs, is also another way we can go.