Game four of the National League Division Series in Los Angeles between the Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves on Monday will be punctuated by high scoring.
The pitching for both teams in this contest is suspect. The Dodgers send Ricky Nolasco to the pitcher’s mound and the right-hander probably has very little confidence coming into this contest. In his past three starts, Nolasco allowed 19 runs in 12 innings pitched.
In addition, he doesn’t have a particularly good track record against Braves hitters. In 198 plate appearances, Braves batters have hit .284 with a robust .536 slugging percentage. Key batters like Brian McCan (.345 batting average with 8 home runs), Jason Heyward (.348) and Chris Johnson (.333) have all gotten the better of Nolasco over his career.
His pitching opponent, Freddy Garcia, is a little harder to read. In six appearances with the Braves he was great, posting a 1.65 ERA. But there are some problems with backing Garcia.
The first is that he looked awful in 11 appearances for the Orioles earlier this season, registering 5.77 ERA. As for his six strong outings for the Braves, they came against generally soft opponents.
He faced up against the Miami Marlins twice, the New York Mets, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Washington Nationals. There wasn’t a single playoff team in the bunch, and only one club finished the year with a winning percentage better than .500 (the Nationals).
In fact, if you even include his time with the Orioles, he only had one opportunity to start against a high-caliber post-season bound team – the Boston Red Sox. How did that go? He was shelled for five runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings pitched.
The winner in this game could go either way, but considering the starting pitching, it’s very likely that the result will be decided by the hitters.
Beat bet: Look for a cumulative run total above 7.5 runs and take it at 1.92.