Gary A. Vasquez, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Hyun-Jin Ryu
Betting Odds: St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers
- Cardinals moneyline: +159 (Daniel Poncedeleon)
- Dodgers moneyline: -177 (Hyun-Jin Ryu)
- Total: 8.5 (-110/-110)
- First pitch: 10:10 p.m. ET
- Channel: ESPN
>> All odds as of 11:30 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time MLB odds and track your bets
Tonight on ESPN, the resurgent St. Louis Cardinals take on the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 2 of a vital three-game set at Chavez Ravine.
The Cards have been rolling since they fired Mike Matheny and are just 3.5 games behind the Cubs in the NL Central after a big win last night.
The Dodgers on the other hand are reeling, and last night’s loss was brutal as Kenley Jansen, in his first game back from the DL, allowed two homers to blow the game.
Tonight’s game features a really interesting pitching matchup between two guys who haven’t pitched in the big leagues all that much this season.
When healthy, Ryu has been terrific for the Dodgers. He’s coming off a sparkling effort against the Giants in which he allowed three hits and struck out six in six scoreless innings.
That was Ryu’s first action in more than three months after he suffered a groin injury in early May.
Opposite Ryu will be Poncedeleon, a 26-year-old right-hander who is a great story. Last May, Poncedeleon was drilled with a comebacker and stretchered off the field in a minor-league game.
After undergoing emergency surgery and intensive rehab, Poncedeleon has made a remarkable comeback and now finds himself in the middle of a playoff race.
Poncedeleon has made six appearances for St. Louis this season, but this is only his second start. With such a small sample size, I want to focus on the 2014 ninth-round pick’s minor-league numbers, which are pretty impressive.
In 92 innings with Triple-A Memphis, Poncedeleon has a 2.15 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in the notoriously hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
What’s even more impressive is that he’s shown a penchant for keeping the ball in the yard in a league where it flies out of them.
This has the makings of a sneaky good pitching matchup for a couple of reasons. Ryu and Poncedeleon might not be aces, but both will be tricky to hit against.
Even though it’s not a big sample, Ryu has been awesome at home and has yet to surrender an earned run in 19 innings at Dodger Stadium. As good as he was in his first start back from the DL, he should be more comfortable this time out.
At this time of the season, hitters usually have a bit of an advantage because they’ve faced pitchers before. That won’t be the case tonight as Poncedeleon is basically an unknown commodity to the Dodgers and Ryu has missed so much time on the DL.
Another angle that leads me to the under is that, in my experience, when two contending teams meet this late in the year, runs will be harder to come by. Teams will play a little tighter and will be managed closer.
The total tonight is 8.5, and it seems like the public is expecting runs as 70% of the tickets have come in on the over. That doesn’t surprise me as a lot of casual bettors won’t recognize the pitchers.