A key battle between National League playoff contenders gets ESPN's prime-time treatment on Wednesday when the Los Angeles Dodgers play the third of a 4-game set in St. Louis against the Cardinals.
The 8:15 p.m. (ET) start from Busch Stadium features a pair of right-handers who were Cincinnati teammates briefly in 2006-07. Aaron Harang goes for LA while Kyle Lohse is on tap for St. Louis. Don Best is sending the Cardinals and Lohse out as $1.45 favorites, with an 8-run total shaded to the 'under.'
Baseball analyst Kenny White really likes the St. Louis lineup that he believes is the best offensive group in the majors. The Cards are averaging an NL-best 4.9 runs per game, a figure that would rise to an MLB-leading 5.3 rpg when factoring a designated hitter into the mix.
Harang (7-5, 3.46) will try and keep Redbird hitters off the pay station while keeping his fine month of July going. He is coming off an impressive outing at the New York Mets last Friday in which he surrendered just one run and four hits over five innings. He has been about a run better at home than on the road, however, and White expects Harang to struggle at Busch Stadium against this potent lineup.
Career numbers for Harang against the Cardinals include a 7-13 record in 24 starts with a 4.47 ERA.
Lohse (10-2, 2.71) continues to fly under the radar when NL Cy Young candidates are discussed, but he has been solid all season. The right-hander leads the St. Louis staff with 15 quality starts among his 20 assignments, and Lohse ranks fifth among all NL hurlers in ERA.
White believes Lohse has been a bit fortunate, however, and predicts the Dodgers will put some runs on the board Wednesday. Los Angeles stroked 11 hits against him when the clubs met at Chavez Ravine in May, the most any team has tallied vs. Lohse this year.
Hot, humid weather in the St. Louis area, plus Harang pitching on the road has White thinking an 8-8½ run total is a "cheap number."
Los Angeles extended its streak over St. Louis to 8-straight wins with a 5-3 decision in Monday's opener. The Dodgers were +130 underdogs in that contest, and the Cardinals were once again favored in Tuesday's game (-120) that was still pending.
The clubs close the series out Thursday afternoon, and Don Best will provide a preview of that game. Keep in touch with Major League Baseball all season by following line movement, lineup changes and the latest injuries news with Don Best Pro Odds.