Both the Milwaukee Brewers and the Los Angeles Dodgers have their sights set on their respective division titles this season, so those two clubs will be looking to help themselves out in those races when they meet over the weekend in a three-game series.
The Brewers still trail the Cubs in the NL Central race, but a red-hot month of August has seen them make up some ground on their rival and pay off for those doing any baseball betting on them. However, Milwaukee’s August results should be taken with a grain of salt – they’ve played four consecutive series against teams with losing records.
The Dodgers, on the other hand, have played sets against the Diamondbacks, Cardinals, and Phillies (along with the lowly Giants) so far this month, with predictably mixed results. Los Angeles has had trouble staying over the .500 mark this year, but they’re still right there with the inconsistent Diamondbacks in the NL West division race.
And the Dodgers catch a break this weekend, as they’re not scheduled to face either Ben Sheets or CC Sabathia. Instead, the Brewers are projected to start Manny Parra, Dave Bush, and Jeff Suppan in the three road games. The Dodgers’ starting pitcher trio looks like it will be Chad Billingsley, Derek Lowe, and surging rookie Clayton Kershaw.
Parra (9-5, 4.02 ERA) bounced back from two bad outings with a solid win over the Nats in his most recent start – surrendering just a single earned run on six hits over seven innings of work, while fanning nine. Bush (7-9, 4.35 ERA) has won back-to-back outings, giving up a combined two earned runs over 13 1-3 innings versus the Reds and Nats. Suppan (8-7, 4.56 ERA) has picked up the victory in each of his last three outings.
For the Dodgers, Billingsley (11-9, 3.07 ERA) has allowed three or fewer earned runs in each of his last six starts, going 3-1 with two no-decisions. Lowe (9-10, 4.11 ERA) beat the Phillies in his last outing, holding the opposition to three earned runs on five hits over his 6 1-3 innings of work. Kershaw (2-3, 3.78 ERA) has been tapping into his potential, allowing just four earned runs and fanning 23 in his last 25 innings of work.
Helping Los Angeles get an edge on the baseball odds lately has been the play of newly-acquired outfielder Manny Ramirez, who hasn’t had any trouble adjusting to the National League. Ramirez has been collecting multi-hit games for his new team, and giving them a much-needed source of power as they gun for a berth in the postseason.
The Brewers hope to have Ryan Braun back at 100% for this series – the outfielder was forced to miss some games this past week with a strained ribcage. Los Angeles put the expendable Andruw Jones on the disabled list this past week, while activating Nomar Garciaparra; he’ll play at various spots around the team’s infield for the rest of the year.
First pitch for Friday night’s series opener is set for 10:40pm ET. Saturday’s game is also a late one – it’s set to get underway at 10:10pm. Sunday’s contest starts at 4:10pm.