Home run (best bet)
The Dodgers at 1.88 to win against the San Diego Padres
The Los Angeles Dodgers should open Major League Baseball’s 2014 domestic season on the road Sunday with success.
The club, which triumphed in two regular season games against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Sydney, Australia a week ago, will send Hyun-Jin Ryu to the pitcher’s mound. Ryu already looks like he’s in mid-season form. His spring training numbers have been sparkling (2.20 ERA in 16 1/3 innings) and, in his start in Australia, Ryu dazzled, going seven scoreless innings, while striking out four against three hits and a walk.
This will be the South Korean’s first start at Petco Field, but don’t expect that to be an impediment. Ryu throws well in stadiums that favour pitchers (and no place is better for pitchers than Petco). Moreover, in his only start against the Padres last year, he allowed a single run in 6 1/3 innings to a lineup that will be quite similar to the one he’ll face in this contest.
It’s also worth noting that the Dodgers owned a strong 6-4 record at Petco last year. As for his pitching opponent, Andrew Cashner, the right-hander has been hit hard by a number of Dodger regulars in his career. Adrian Gonzalez (.385 batting average), Andre Ethier (.375), Juan Uribe (.500) and A.J. Ellis (.333) all have good track records versus Cashner.
Squeeze play (gutsiest call)
Take total runs below 6.5 at 1.92 in Dodgers-Padres contest
Picking the below at Petco Field is always a difficult proposition as the expectation for a low scoring affair is rightfully high. But in this case, the momentum both pitchers bring into the contest merits the pick.
Admittedly, Cashner has some hitters in the Los Angeles lineup who have gotten the best of him. Still, he’s shown an ability to keep run scoring in relative check. While he was 0-1 versus the Dodgers in 2013, he owned a 1.35 ERA in 26 2/3 innings against the National League West front-runners.
Also, like many Padres pitchers, Cashner was excellent at home. That said, he was even better than most of his teammates at Petco. In 13 games, he delivered a 1.95 ERA, which is standout. Thus, he might get knocked around a bit – enough to lose – but he should keep the game reasonably close.
As for Ryu, you just need to read above to get a sense of how locked in he is coming into this game.