Two old rivals will get together for a three-game series starting Monday night when the San Francisco Giants host the Los Angeles Dodgers. Despite being the road team, the Dodgers are -140 favorites to win Monday’s game.
The Dodgers are in the familiar position of sitting atop the NL West standings, currently holding a two-game lead over the Padres. Los Angeles is also on a four-game winning streak after sweeping the Pirates over the weekend. They have also won 11 of their last 14 games after starting the season 8-8, so they’ve clearly found their groove in the second half of April.
Meanwhile, the Giants sit in last place in the NL West, seven games off the pace. San Francisco has been a little streaky at times this season. Over the past two weeks, they lost four in a row then won three straight, only to get swept in three games by the Yankees over the weekend at home to drop to 11-17 on the season.
Monday’s starter Jeff Samardzija has been one of San Francisco’s pleasant surprises this season. He has struggled with injuries during the last few years, making only 10 starts last season. However, he’s already started five games in 2019, going 2-1 with an ERA of 3.00. He’s in no way dominating opposing lineups, but the Giants have to be happy with what he’s given them thus far.
Naturally, Samardzija has plenty of experience facing the Dodgers and has generally fared well against them in his career. However, Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, and Joc Pederson have all hit a home run against Samardzija in less than five career at-bats against him. Those three have been the most dangerous hitters in the power-hungry Los Angeles lineup early in the season. You can also add young outfielder Alex Verdugo to that list, as he’s hitting .333 with an OPS of .989 thus far. Samardzija has given up three home runs over his last two starts, and that could be a concern Monday against the Dodgers.
Kenta Maeda will start for the Dodgers on Monday. He’s been a little Jekyll and Hyde early in the year. Maeda has given up just one run in two of his last four starts. However, in those other two starts, he’s given up at least five runs. The Dodgers aren’t really sure what they’re going to get out of Maeda and his 5.20 ERA when he takes the mound, which is a little concerning.
On the bright side, the Giants have scored the third-fewest runs in the National League this year. Of their regulars, only Brandon Belt and Pablo Sandoval have an OPS over .700. Of course, Belt has handled Maeda, going 5 for 14 with three doubles against him. Joe Panik has also done some damage against Maeda, going 6 for 14 with a home run. If Maeda can work around those guys, he has a chance to give the Dodgers five or six decent innings against a struggling San Francisco lineup.
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With Maeda on the mound, it’s tough to be too confident in the Dodgers. However, they’ve been hot over the past two weeks while the Giants are one of the least trustworthy teams in baseball right now. Bet on the Dodgers to beat the Giants on Monday night.