Free MLB Picks – Phillies at Dodgers Game 1 NLCS: The Philadelphia Phillies, champions of the National League East Division and winners over wild-card Colorado in the NLDS will travel to open National League Championship Series play when they take on the NL West Division champs the Los Angeles Dodgers in the best of seven games series beginning with Game 1 at Dodger Stadium Thursday (8 pm ET). Los Angeles made it to the NLCS by sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS three straight games.
Getting the start for the Los Angeles in Thursday's Game-1 is Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers lefthander went 8-8 in the regular season with a 2.79 ERA. The Phillies will counter with lefthander Cole Hamels who went 10-11 record in the regulars season with a 4.32 ERA. Hamels is 0-1 in the post-season losing to the Rockies in the NLDS.
The Phillies would like for Hamels to return to 2008 form when he went 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers in last year's NLCS to earn series Most Valuable Player honors. Hamels is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in four career regular-season starts against LA. However, Hamels finished the 2009 season 10-11 with a 4.32 ERA, and was 0-2 with a 7.02 ERA in his last three regular-season starts. His NL Division Series Game 2 start against the Rockies didn't alter that trend much, as he allowed four earned runs in five innings of work in a 5-4 loss. He left that game following his exit from the mound to attend the birth of his first child, and remained in Philadelphia to work out as the Phillies clinched their second consecutive NLCS berth in Denver.
Kershaw threw 6 2/3 innings of two-run ball against the Cardinals in the NLDS in the Dodgers' comeback win. Kershaw didn't show any nerves in his first-career postseason start as he was able to get out of jams and keep the Cardinals from capitalizing on run-scoring opportunities. Kershaw was the Dodgers' most electrifying pitcher this season, using his four-seam fastball and his curveball to pile up strikeouts and limit hitters to a .200 average. He went 8-8 with a 2.79 ERA in 2009 but was 0-2 with a 5.23 ERA in two starts against the Phillies this year.
Jayson Werth's run-scoring single in the top of the ninth inning lifted the Phillies to the NLCS with a 5-4 victory over the Rockies on Monday night. Philadelphia cashed as a -105 road pick 'em, while the teams played OVER the 8.5-run total listed by oddsmakers.
The Dodgers advanced to the NLCS with a 5-1 win over the Cardinals and a sweep of their first-round playoff series last time out. The Dodgers won the game as +150 underdogs, while the six runs went UNDER the posted over/under (8.5).
Andre Ethier belted a two-run homer with two runs scored, and Manny Ramirez also drove in a pair of runs. Vicente Padilla tossed seven scoreless innings for the victory.
Free MLB Picks: The Dodgers are playing a very hot hand right now after sweeping the Cardinals. Take the Dodgers -140 ml.
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