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Trouble in Dodgerland?

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Live Betting Preview: Big-Spending Dodgers A Flop So Far

The Los Angeles Dodgers shot past the Yankees as the team with the highest payroll entering this season at north of $220 million. L.A.'s new ownership group wanted to put the Frank McCourt era as far in the rear-view mirror as possible and spent lavishly to help win back disenchanted fans. Seven Dodgers are set to make at least $10 million this season.

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The good news is that L.A. leads the majors in attendance at more than 47,000 fans per game, but the Dodgers aren't playing like a $200 million team. They are 8-10 and closer to last than first in the National League West. The Dodgers start a three-game series at the Mets on Tuesday, and Thursday's series finale will have Live Play-by-Play Betting at the book.

The Los Angeles pitching staff has mostly done its part with a 3.72 ERA (No. 11 in MLB) and 11 quality starts (No. 5). The Dodgers entered the season with seven legitimate starters but big free-agent acquisition Zack Greinke is out with a broken collarbone, and Chris Capuano and Chad Billingsley are on the DL with Greinke. The club traded Aaron Harang to Seattle.

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The vast majority of the blame must go to the offense. How can a team with Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier rank No. 29 in runs? L.A. has been held to three or fewer runs in 12 of 18 games (9-8-1 O/U). Gonzalez and Crawford are both well above .300, but Kemp is hitting .235 and hasn't homered yet. Ethier is at .230. Manager Don Mattingly made a change for Sunday's game, shifting Gonzalez from No. 4 to third in the lineup and Kemp from No. 3 to fourth. It might have sparked something as Kemp had three hits and an RBI as the Dodgers beat Baltimore to end a six-game skid.

The Dodgers also are hoping that shortstop Hanley Ramirez can return by the end of the month. Ramirez, on the disabled list after undergoing right thumb surgery, was originally projected out until mid-May.

The starters for Thursday's game are scheduled to be L.A.'s Hyun-Jin Ryu (2-1, 4.01) against the Mets' Jeremy Hefner (0-2, 7.07). The Dodgers start all left-handers in this series. It's the first time in almost four years the Mets will play a series of at least three games and face only lefty starters. New York is 2-4 against southpaws this year and 7-4 against righties.

Rangers-Angels Top Early-Week Series

The other Los Angeles team, the Angels, also has been a major disappointment so far this season. However, the Halos might have gotten the kickstart they needed with a weekend sweep of the Detroit Tigers, the book's 15/2 World Series favorites.

The news isn't all good with the Angels as Albert Pujols is playing through painful plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Pujols told the L.A. media: "I'm dying. It's hurting real bad." The team is going to keep Pujols at designated hitter, but an eventual disabled list stint looks likely. The 33-year-old Pujols is just in Year 2 of a 10-year, $240 million deal.

The Angels begin a three-game series against Texas on Monday. That and Wednesday's game will have Live Betting at the book. The Rangers took two of three against the Angels in Arlington on April 5-7. That was Josh Hamilton's return to Texas, and he was clearly pressing during the series. Hamilton is hitting .176 this season and has 23 strikeouts in 68 at-bats. The Texans walked Pujols twice intentionally, including in the 12th inning Sunday as the potential winning run, to pitch to Hamilton.

Texas swept Seattle over the weekend - its first sweep since last June - to move into first place in the AL West. The Rangers and Angels are each +160 to win the division at Bovada. Texas is likely going to be active in trades for pitching because Opening Day starter and All-Star Matt Harrison will have back surgery Tuesday and is out until at least the All-Star Break.

*-Other Live Betting games available early this week are Yankees at Rays on Monday, Marlins at Twins on Tuesday, and Blue Jays at Orioles and A's at Red Sox on Wednesday.

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