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|What||San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Where||Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA|
|When||Thursday, July 23, 2020, 10:08 PM EST|
|How to Watch||ESPN|
These two old rivals meet to open the season for the second time in three years but this time the fan bases enter the 2020 season with polar opposite expectations. Let’s start with Los Angeles.
The Dodgers come off of their seventh consecutive postseason appearance – the longest active streak in baseball – but are still chasing their first World Series title since 1988. It feels like every single season people around the sport are picking them as the favorite or saying they’re “all in.” Well, put that in bold writing this season. They made one of the biggest moves of the entire offseason, trading for Mookie Betts and David Price (who has opted out of the 2020 season due to Covid-19 concerns).
Add Betts to a lineup with Max Muncy (35 home runs, .374 OBP in 2019), Justin Turner (27 home runs, 372 .OBP in 2019), reigning NL MVP Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager (who led the NL with 44 doubles in 2019), Joc Pederson (who hit 36 home runs in 2019) along others and it’s easy to see why this squad is so feared in 2020.
|Team||Run Spread||Total||Money Line|
|San Francisco Giants||+2.5 (-125)||O 8 (-110)||+290|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||-2.5 (+105)||U 8 (-110)||-334|
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That’s not to mention the starting rotation. The Dodgers gave up Kenta Maeda in a trade with the Minnesota Twins, but remain deep with talent. Everybody knows three-time Cy Young Award winner and former NL MVP Clayton Kershaw. He’s getting the nod on Opening Day, but he might not be the most talented pitcher on the roster anymore.
That title belongs to Walker Buehler, who finished third in Rookie of the Year voting in 2018 and went 14-4 last year with a 3.26 ERA 1.04 WHIP. The rotation is rounded out by Julio Urias, Alex Wood, and Ross Stripling. Oh, and they also signed arguably the best relief pitcher on the market in Blake Treinen to anchor the back end of the bullpen alongside Kenley Jansen. This team is as talented as any.
Juxtapose that with San Francisco. The Giants had their fun in the 2010s, winning three World Series in the decade and that’s something you can ride for a long time. But as far as now, they’re in the process of turning the page toward the future and doing so under new manager Gabe Kapler.
A handful of notable players went elsewhere in the offseason: Madison Bumgardner left for Arizona as did Stephen Vogt, Kevin Pillar went to Boston and All-Star Will Smith signed with Atlanta.
The returning talent was already thin in San Francisco and that’s before Buster Posey announced he was adopting twins and would be sitting out the 2020 season due to Covid-19 concerns and Brandon Belt and Evan Longoria would begin the season on the injured list.
This team isn’t completely devoid of talent, however. Mike Yastrzemski is a piece to build around, coupled with offseason signing in Wilmer Flores, ever-reliable Brandon Crawford, recently re-acquired Hunter Pence and there are some tough at-bats to be had going through this order. The starting staff is in decent shape too, with Opening Day starter Johnny Cueto leading the way, followed by Jeff Samardzija, Kevin Gausman, and Drew Smyly. The fifth starter is still TBD.
Baseball is supposed to be the one sport without much parity. The length of the season always helps the cream rise to the top and makes it where a fun story for the first half of the season is just that – a fun story.
But with a two-month season and not a five-month marathon, pesky teams like the Giants believe they have a fighting chance. Combine that with teams like the Dodgers who now may feel a little more pressure day in and day out and don’t be surprised if you see some shocking results in the opening week of the season.
San Francisco had a spotty offense last season but still managed to hit the over in 53.1% of its games (top 10 in the MLB). The Dodgers hit the over in 49.7% of its games – 16th in the MLB, just outside the top half.
The Giants covered the spread 10 of 19 times while the over hit 10 of 19 times.
In all, that’s not many trends and not much to go on.
The Dodgers scored nine runs or more in five of their final nine meetings against the Giants last year, which would have covered the over by themselves. We like the over in this one.
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Tony writes about baseball for WSN.com after recently graduating with his Masters from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Prior to that, Tony was a local sports reporter for MLive Media Group, based out of Jackson, Michigan where he covered everything from high school to professional sports. He graduated from Michigan State in 2015 with a degree in journalism. During his time there he covered the Michigan State football and men’s basketball teams from 2013-15 and hosted a sports radio show on WDBM 89FM.More info on Tony Garcia
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