The Pirates will travel back home to Pittsburgh while the Dodgers make the longer journey from Detroit after winning two out of three against the Tigers over the weekend but failing to sweep in a 6-1 loss on Sunday. Alex Wood will face Gerrit Cole in Monday’s first of four.
The Dodgers’ 71.3 win percentage is just off the 2001 Seattle Mariners’ .716 pace when they set the modern day regular season win record with 116. Cody Bellinger joined Clayton Kershaw and Yu Darvish on the shelf this weekend when he sprained his ankle in the outfield. He’ll be ok but won’t play on Monday because he really doesn’t have to.
Those three names above are the Dodgers’ three most popular players but Alex Wood has to be a serious Cy Young contender. He’s 14-1 with a 1.01 WHIP. He always goes six, often times goes more and the Pirates will be fortunate to get two against him at PNC tomorrow. He didn’t give up any in a five-inning win back on May 8.
Meanwhile, Cole has hung tough lately and pitched well. Somewhere inside of me resides some doubt he finishes this season strong as the Pirates fade. Tomorrow night might still be early enough, especially after the team won on Saturday and Sunday to stay within shouting distance of the Cardinals. Cole is also a Cali kid who grew up in Dodger country so I also have a feeling this game means something just a tad extra to him.
The Dodgers are a deserved favorite and will make a good play on the runline at pick’em money. The Pirates are set to struggle scoring for the next four days coming right up this week and should make an easy target for another three Dodger wins. Three out of four would give the Dodgers 90 wins and push the pace even closer to the ’01 Mariners.
That’s getting ahead of things, though. I’m not ready to fade Cole and, in fact, I’m willing to get behind him in this spot for more than likely the last time this season. If we get a quality start out of him, this one will stay under. A quality start is what I expect and so the under is our play.
Free Pick: U8.5 (-120)