For those that are not watching the second game of the college basketball national championships on Saturday night there is a interesting matchup in Los Angeles. The Dodgers host the Giants with a scheduled first pitch at 9:10 p.m. ET at Chavez Ravine. Saturday Night MLB Free Pick: San Francisco at LA Dodgers.
The Dodgers (-210, 8) coaching staff, both of them while Kenta Maeda has been a part of the Dodgers organization, have done all they can to give the Japanese import a comfort zone. The Dodgers coaches and front office are saying all the right things. They state that they believe that Madea’s time in the bullpen a year ago will assist him in being a consistent and reliable starter moving forward.
“The confidence that Kenta has now, is where he feels like he can dominate when he goes out there,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told the team’s official website, while assessing Maeda’s spring training. “I think the thing is he is learning and trusting the fact that he can go as hard as he can for a long as he can and right now there is really no pace or hold back in his game.”
The San Francisco Giants, sitting on a 2-0 record despite scoring just two runs in 2018, aim to win their third straight over their biggest rival.
The Giants send left-handed veteran Derek Holland (2017: 7-14, 6.20 ERA) to the mound tonight. Holland signed a minor league deal with the Giants last month and earned a roster spot after a mediocre spring training. The National League is a great fit for Holland after spending eight seasons in Texas. The lefty scuffled in hitter friendly Chicago late last season going 2-5 with an 8.93 ERA in his final 12 games (nine starts).
A move to the Senior Circuit and throwing more than half of his games in the NL West pitcher-friendly venues will be a plus for the San Fran lefty. Throw in the fact that while the Dodgers won the NL Pennant last season this is an offensive that has been everything but good against left-handed pitching. LA hit a mere .243 with an OBP of.315, slugged .397 and ended the season with a below average .712 OPS.
Something has to be different if the Dodgers starter is going to contain the Giants tonight. The surface number for Maeda versus the Giants is deceiving. He career mark against San Fran is 3-1. But that 3-1 is due to run support from the Dodgers offense. Maeda has not been successful against a patient Giants offense. The Dodgers righty has a lifetime 5.56 ERA against San Fran.
The money-line inflation on the Dodgers tonight is play-against. Holland faces a Dodgers lineup that has little to no career at bats against the lefty. And the current Giants lineup has destroyed Maeda nearly each and every time they have faced him.
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