Scott Olsen is pitching as if he will become the staff ace his team hoped he would become.
Chad Billingsley sure isn't.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Los Angeles -114 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 8.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 54% of bets for this game have been placed on Florida +104 (View MLB Bet Percentages). Bet this game.
The Dodgers (13-13) have not lost since the 23-year-old Billingsley's last turn in the rotation, winning a season-high four straight. Los Angeles won 7-6 on Tuesday on Jeff Kent's RBI single in the ninth inning to open this three-game set.
"It's just good practice for us, because with the type of pitching in our division, there aren't going to be many runaways," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "You're going to have to get used to playing games like this."
This game presents another intriguing pitching matchup, but while Billingsley (0-4, 6.53 ERA) has lost his last four outings, Olsen (3-0, 2.56) is looking to win a career-high fifth straight decision.
Olsen, who went 12-10 with a 4.04 ERA in his 2006 rookie season, is a big reason Florida leads the NL East after being one of the culprits for its last-place finish in 2007. He went 10-15 with a 5.81 ERA last year and his off-the-field issues included a DUI arrest, a fine for an obscene gesture toward fans and a suspension for a confrontation with a teammate.
The left-hander has turned things around and the Marlins (15-11) have won all five of his starts. Olsen has pitched at least seven innings in four straight outings and has given up one run in his last 21 1-3 innings.
Billingsley, meanwhile, has given up at least four runs in each of his four starts, allowing 21 hits and 12 walks in 18 1-3 innings. He entered 2008 with a 19-9 record and a 3.49 ERA in two major league seasons.
Still, Billingsley has shown just how good he can be despite his poor start, striking out 29 batters in 16 innings over his last three starts.
Olsen failed to strike out a batter Friday for the first time in 74 major league appearances, but was brilliant for 7 1-3 innings and Florida beat Milwaukee 3-0 in 10 innings.
"A majority of the time, you don't try to strike people out," Olsen told the Marlins' official Web site. "They just happen, by getting ahead, and putting yourself in a situation where you can throw a pitcher's pitch, and hoping that they chase."
Billingsley had a career-high 12 strikeouts on Thursday, but allowed five runs and six hits in six innings of a 6-4 defeat to Arizona.
"I could have done better. You're never happy with a loss," Billingsley told the Dodgers' official Web site.
While Billingsley is 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA in four career appearances against the Marlins, Olsen has lost both of his starts against Los Angeles while posting a career 7.36 ERA.
Olsen is facing a Dodgers team which has hit .322 and scored 29 runs during its four-game win streak. Kent is 7-for-17 (.412) with five RBIs in his last four games, and Matt Kemp has five multihit efforts in his last eight games while totaling nine RBIs.
Teammate Andruw Jones, meanwhile, is batting .165, and is 1-for-17 (.059) with eight strikeouts against Olsen.
Josh Willingham (back) and Mike Jacobs (finger) could both return to Florida's lineup after sitting out Tuesday. While Willingham is hitting .435 (20-for-46) over his last 13 games, Jacobs is in a 2-for-24 slump (.083).
No Marlins player is hotter than Dan Uggla, who homered Tuesday and is batting .421 (16-for-38) over his last 10 games.