NL Baseball Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers at Pittsburgh Pirates

NL Baseball Preview:  Los Angeles Dodgers at Pittsburgh Pirates

It’s been a tough year for the Los Angeles Dodgers. In what was supposed to be a year in which the Dodgers would be in contention they’re instead mired in last place in the NL West and the only thing they’re in contention for is the dubious distinction of being the biggest money loser in Major League Baseball. The Dodgers took a victory over the Pirates in extra innings on Saturday but even with that win they’re -18.10 units on the year. Pittsburgh has played decent baseball this season and are conversely the biggest money maker in the big leagues with a profit of +15.3 units.

Pittsburgh is not only the better team and the more profitable team but they represent a great value in today’s matchup. This game is priced primarily on the ‘name recognition value’ of the starting pitchers–veteran Zac Greinke against rookie Gerrit Cole. Greinke is a ‘household name’ among baseball fans and Cole isn’t so the line on this matchup reflects that. Here’s the problem from a valuation standpoint–Grienke hasn’t pitched well on the road this year. In three road starts he’s got a 6.91 ERA and the Dodgers have lost two of these three games. Here’s the second part of the equation–Gerrit Cole may be making his second Major League start today but he’s by all accounts a stud who is more than ready for the big leagues. He looked very good in his MLB debut going 6 1/3 innings allowing 2 ER and 7 hits. The word on Cole is that he’s not just in the rotation for a ‘stretch’ but a guy who’ll be a fixture in the Major Leagues for the next decade or so.

Pittsburgh needs to keep pace with the other contenders in the NL Central–they trail second place Cincinnati by 1/2 game and division leading St. Louis by 4 games. The Cards have an ‘easy draw’ on Sunday as they play the Marlins in Miami while Cincinnati has a favorable matchup at home against Milwaukee with Jonny Cueto on the mound. The Dodgers have controlled the head to head series for the past few years and are 4-1 this season but only 1-1 in Pittsburgh. We’ll back the phenom Cole and the Pirates at a value price.