Dodgers Slight Favorites Tuesday In Pittsburgh
By: Willie Bee
Monday, August 13, 2012
There was little thought of an August series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates meaning much in the grand scheme of things when the 2012 MLB campaign got underway in April. Oddsmakers hung futures that suggested fourth place in their respective National League divisions was the top end for both clubs.
The Dodgers and Pirates are fighting for division titles instead as they continue a 4-game set at beautiful PNC Park in Pittsburgh. Game 2 of the series is scheduled for a 7:05 p.m. (ET) first pitch on Tuesday and features a matchup of right-handers who have both been putting dubyas up lately, Chad Billingsley for LA and the Bucs' Kevin Correia.
Early numbers on the contest sent Billingsley and Los Angeles out at -120 with an 8-run total.
Both clubs began this series in second place of their divisions, the Dodgers just a game behind the San Francisco Giants in the NL West while the Pirates were 4.5 back of the Cincinnati Reds in the Central. Pittsburgh was holding down the second NL wild card slot two games behind the Atlanta Braves with Los Angeles 2.5 south of the Pirates in that race.
Monday's series opener was still in progress and favored the Pirates (-125) with Jeff Karstens on the hill. The Dodgers were countering with Aaron Harang and the contest also carried an 8-run total.
Billingsley has been unbeatable since returning from the disabled list a little more than a week after the all-star break. The husky righty has reeled off four consecutive wins and pared his ERA about a half-run in that span. Colorado touched him up a bit last Wednesday in LA, scoring four times in Billingsley's 6-1/3 innings, but that was all the Rockies could muster in the Dodgers' 6-4 victory as heavy $2.05 favorites.
Los Angeles hitters have also chipped in by backing Billingsley with 27 runs during his last four outings.
Correia was the odd man out of Pittsburgh's rotation when Wandy Rodriguez was acquired at the trade deadline, but he only made one relief appearance before Pirates manager Clint Hurdle brought him back for a start last week against Arizona. The Bucs and Correia each picked up a win in the Aug. 8 outing, the sixth straight dubya in as many starting assignments by the veteran out of Cal Poly.
He turned in a fine effort against the Dodgers in his season debut at Chavez Ravine back in April, tossing six frames and limiting LA to four hits and a run. Correia didn't figure into the decision that went the Dodgers' way by a 2-1 count, courtesy of an eighth inning Andre Ethier blast.
The Dodgers swept that 3-game series and have won 12 of the last 14 in the series. They took three of the four played at PNC Park a year ago, pushing their all-time record on the diamond to 28-13. The totals split 2-2 in Pittsburgh last season; all three in LA earlier this season failed to reach the scoreboard hurdle.
There is a 40 percent chance of scattered storms in the forecast for Iron City on Tuesday, so check on updates before going to the window.