Los Angeles Dodgers at Washington Nationals (+105, 7.5)
Dodgers lead series 1-0
Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Rich Hill was released by the Washington Nationals 16 months ago and now he has the opportunity to make them regret it and put them in a huge hole. Hill draws the start on Saturday as the Dodgers look to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five National League Division Series against the host Nationals.
Hill was unable to land a spot on Washington’s pitching staff prior to the 2015 season and was being utilized as a reliever at Triple-A Syracuse before being released. He resurrected his career with a fine first half of the season with Oakland before being dealt to the Dodgers. Justin Turner hit a two-run homer and Corey Seager launched a solo shot as Los Angeles prevailed 4-3 in the series opener on Friday. The Nationals haven’t won a postseason series since relocating from Montreal following the 2004 campaign – losing in 2012 and 2014 – and the franchise has captured just one (1981) since the Expos began play in 1969.
TV: 4:08 p.m. ET, FS1
WEATHER REPORT: The radar outlook for Washington, D.C. does not look goood for Saturday afternoon. Currently they are forecasting a 100 percent chance of rain (at times heavy). We’ll see how long they are willing to wait to get this in.
SERIES PRICE (PER SPORTS INTERACTION):
PITCHING MATCHUP: Dodgers LH Rich Hill (12-5, 2.12 ERA) vs. Nationals RH Tanner Roark (16-10, 2.83)
Hill went 3-2 with a 1.83 ERA and 0.79 WHIP in six starts after being acquired from Oakland and didn’t pitch more due to a severe blister issue that began while he was with the Athletics. “It wasn’t the normal type of blister, I guess. It was more of an outlier,” Hill said at Friday’s press conference. “It was a blister that was more on the pad of my finger, and it wasn’t so much on where you would see a normal pitcher’s blister on the tip of their finger.” Hill, who is 1-1 with a 4.34 ERA in four career appearances (three starts) against the Nationals, lost his lone postseason start back in 2007 as a member of the Chicago Cubs.
Roark draws the Game 2 start with injured Stephen Strasburg (elbow) not on the series roster after enjoying a campaign in which he set career bests for victories and ERA while limiting opposing batters to a .228 average. The 30-year-old is making his first career postseason start and called it “a dream came true” at his press conference on Friday. “But you’ve got to go out there and be confident in everything that I do,” Roark said. “And you know, be aggressive and keep doing what I did all during the season. Not change anything and just be myself.”
* Dodgers are 5-1 in their last 6 Saturday games.
* Nationals are 5-0 in their last 5 games following a loss.
* Over is 6-1-1 in Dodgers last 8 road games.
* Dodgers are 8-1 in the last 9 meetings.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Bettors are backing the home team in Game 2, with 65 percent of wagers backing the Nationals. Meanwhile for the total, 53 percent of bettors are on the Over.
San Francisco Giants at Chicago Cubs (-190, 6.5)
Cubs lead series 1-0
The San Francisco Giants seek their third consecutive superb pitching performance from their starter when they visit the Chicago Cubs on Saturday for Game 2 of their National League Division Series. San Francisco rode a tremendous effort by Madison Bumgarner against the New York Mets to victory in the wild-card game before receiving another stellar outing from Johnny Cueto, who recorded 10 strikeouts and allowed only three hits in the series opener but took the loss after serving up Javier Baez’s solo home run in the eighth inning.
Former Cub Jeff Samardzija draws the task of keeping the Giants from falling into an 0-2 hole in the series as he makes his 106th career appearance — and 42nd start — at Wrigley Field. The Cubs will counter with Kyle Hendricks, who essentially replaced Samardzija in their rotation in 2014 after being acquired from Texas two years earlier. Baez finished with two of Chicago’s three hits and has hit safely in five of his last seven contests, registering three multi-hit performances in that span. The Cubs would love to find a way to squeeze Chris Coghlan into the lineup Saturday as the veteran outfielder is 4-for-10 with two home runs and five RBIs against Samardzija in his career.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, MLB Network
WEATHER REPORT: Perfect October baseball conditions are being forecast for Wrigley Field on Saturday evening. Clear, temperatures hovering around 70 degrees, wind very light at 3-5 mph (as opposed to the gale that was blowing in for Game 1), and a zero percent chance of rain.
SERIES PRICE (PER SPORTS INTERACTION):
PITCHING MATCHUP: Giants RH Jeff Samardzija (12-11, 3.81 ERA) vs. Cubs RH Kyle Hendricks (16-8, 2.13)
Samardzija pitched well down the stretch, allowing only three runs in 19 2/3 innings over his last three starts, but had just a 1-1 record to show for his efforts as San Francisco scored a total of four runs in those outings. The 31-year-old native of Indiana, who spent the first 6 1/2 years of his major league career with Chicago, escaped with a no-decision in his only turn against his former team this season on Sept. 1 after yielding three runs on five hits and three walks in four frames. Samardzija made his lone postseason appearance with the Cubs in Game 1 of the 2008 NLDS, allowing one run and two hits in one inning of relief against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Hendricks is coming off the best season of his brief career, as he won seven of his final eight decisions and led the majors in ERA. The 26-year-old Californian lost his only start against the Giants this year despite giving up just one run and three hits in 5 1/3 innings at San Francisco on May 22. Hendricks made the first two playoff starts of his career in 2015 but was unable to last five frames in either, finishing without a decision after surrendering five runs and nine hits — four homers — over 8 2/3 innings in outings at St. Louis in the NLDS and against the New York Mets in the NL Championship Series.
* Giants are 7-1 in their last 8 Divisional Playoff road games.
* Cubs are 7-1 in Hendricks’ last 8 home starts vs. a team with a winning record.
* Under is 11-1-1 in Samardzijas last 13 starts overall.
* Giants are 1-8 in the last 9 meetings in Chicago.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The Covers wagering public is favoring the Chicago Cubs to extend their series lead over the Giants to 2 games with 69 percent of the picks coming in on the home team. The total is late being released (standard for Wrigley Field) so there are no picks on the total as of Saturday morning.