LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers are hoping that a well-rested and inspired rookie pitcher will lead them to success in Sunday’s series finale against the San Francisco Giants.
Left-hander Caleb Ferguson will make his third career start Hakeem Butler Jersey , pitching opposite Giants right-hander Chris Stratton, but it will be his first outing where he will get a minute to catch his breath and ease into his surroundings.
Before his major league debut on June 6, and his follow-up effort Tuesday, Ferguson had to scramble to catch a flight and then take the mound for the Dodgers. This time around, Ferguson has done all of his between-start routine with the major league club, and even got a bonus assignment this week.
Ferguson was able to get an up-close-and-personal look at Clayton Kershaw’s most recent rehab bullpen session. It was a multi-pronged effort to not only let Ferguson watch a pitcher he looks up to, but to get an in-depth view at one of the hardest workers in the game.
“Even for Caleb to sit in on Clayton’s pen (Friday) and to sit in on Rich (Hill’s on Saturday) and not have to fly in make a start then fly out and come back in, he will get to assimilate with our guys,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I think there is a benefit to that.”
Ferguson (0-0, 9.53) lasted just 1 2/3 innings of his debut at Pittsburgh and then went four innings Tuesday against the Rangers. He has given up a combined six runs, but the Dodgers offense has scored a combined 21 runs in his two outings so at least he is getting elite run support.
Stratton (7-4, 4.56) has allowed three runs or fewer in each of his last four starts, but he is facing a Dodgers lineup that has hit 34 home runs in June alone. The right-hander will have to face a trio of left-handed hitters in Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson who have been productive of late.
He figures to be up for the challenge after guiding the Giants to a 10-4 record in his starts this season. In his outing Tuesday at Miami, Stratton was just the second Giants pitcher since May 6 to last at least seven innings, but he still took the loss in a 3-1 defeat. It was his sixth quality start of the season.
The Giants are currently 3-6 on a three-city road trip that ends Sunday. And while a return home is ahead http://www.bengalscheapstore.com/jonah-williams-jersey-cheap , better health could be coming soon, although third baseman Evan Longoria figures to be out at least a month with a fractured left hand.
First baseman Brandon Belt was activated Saturday, while pitchers Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija could be back soon.
“Our biggest issue has been trying to stay healthy,” manager Bruce Bochy said, according to mlb.com.
Madison Bumgarner made his third start since coming off the disabled list Saturday and allowed three runs on five hits in six innings of a 3-1 loss. It marked the 11th straight time in Los Angeles the Giants scored two runs or less, according to STATS Inc.
Matt Kemp and Enrique Hernandez homered for the Dodgers — who will go for the series sweep on Sunday — while Alex Wood allowed a run on four hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Pro Picks heads into the postseason with an incredible record straight up, 70 games over .500. A coach would have a lifetime contract for such an impressive showing.
The key to picking NFL games, of course, is winning against the point spread. In that area, well, we need a rally, three games under the break-even mark thanks to a particularly damaging Week 16.
A strong playoffs served us well last year. So let’s do it again.
No. 11 Tennessee (plus 7 1-2) at No. 8 Kansas City, Saturday
All four wild-card matchups have spreads in the same range. This one seems most out of whack.
While the Chiefs have not exactly recaptured their form of early in the schedule, when they were the NFL’s best, they are on the rise. The dynamic offense has been rekindled, particularly sensational rookie running back Kareem Hunt.
”We look at it right around Game 12 Drew Sample Jersey , you kind of see where they’re at and if they have a bad play you say, `Whoop! There’s the rookie wall,”’ coach Andy Reid joked – yes, Reid has a very good sense of humor, folks.
”Sometimes I think that gets a little overrated, but we haven’t seen that with him. He’s done well and I think we’re probably a little hypersensitive to that when you get around the middle of the season, that 12th game.”
This is the 17th game, and the trend for the Titans hasn’t been good lately. They lost three in a row down the stretch and needed to squeeze past AFC South winner Jacksonville, which had nothing to gain last Sunday, to make the field.
The Titans won’t last long in it.
BEST BET: CHIEFS, 23-10
No. 7 Carolina (plus 6 1-2) at No. 5 New Orleans, Sunday
This is the best looker of the four playoff openers, a confrontation between two of the league’s strongest teams out of the NFL’s top division. The Saints or the Panthers are as capable as any NFC squad to get to the Super Bowl.
New Orleans knocked off Carolina twice in the regular season, and is the more balanced side. It’s also the more explosive team.
But if any of the road teams is going to spring an upset, it’s Ron Rivera and the Panthers, who have a much more recent record of postseason success than do Drew Brees and the Saints.
UPSET SPECIAL: PANTHERS http://www.bengalscheapstore.com/germaine-pratt-jersey-cheap , 27-26
No. 9 Atlanta (plus 6 1-2) at No. 4 Los Angeles Rams, Saturday
So here come the more-experienced Falcons, ready to surge back to the Super Bowl and, this time, finish it off after building a big lead?
We don’t buy it.
These aren’t even close to being the same Falcons. Matt Ryan has had a problematic season, and the Falcons have made the kind of critical mistakes they avoided in 2016 – until the second half of that historic Super Bowl flop.
The Rams are young and eager and explosive and dynamic and … well, superior.
No. 12 (tie) Buffalo (plus 7 1-2) at No. 10 Jacksonville, Sunday
The feel-good story throughout Western New York – there are college football players who might not have been born when the Bills last made it this far – ends rapidly. Barring a stunning recovery from his ankle injury by LeSean McCoy, the Bills will be one and done, even though the Jags have a bunch of questionable areas on offense, particularly QB Blake Bortles.
Last week: Against spread (9-7). Straight up (9-7)
Season Totals: Against spread (117-120-10). Straight up: (162-92)
Best Bet: 9-8 against spread, 10-7 straight up.
Upset special: 9-8 against spread, 9-8 straight up