LAD-CIN, Sept. 18: Odds, Preview, Predictions

September 18th, 2021

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Dodgers Odds: -200

Reds Odds: +170

Over/Under: 9

Time: 2:10 p.m. ET


Odds as of Thursday morning and via DraftKings.

In a clash of aces, Max Scherzer and the Los Angeles Dodgers take on Sonny Gray and the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday.

The Reds cling to playoff hopes, sitting one game out of the second Wild Card slot in the National League as of Friday afternoon. The Dodgers have easily clinched yet another playoff berth, and with two dazzling starters on the mound, the total could be in play.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Max Scherzer has been phenomenal this season and is a Cy Young candidate. He has a 2.17 ERA and 2.87 xERA, so he is truly pitching very well. He has an xBA of .189 when opponents step to the plate, and when facing right-handers, he has not allowed a single run in 25 innings of work. This is phenomenal and should eliminate one of Cincinnati’s advantages in this game.

The Dodgers are shockingly average when facing righties lately. Since the beginning of August, they own 99 wRC+ collectively. AJ Pollock is one of their best against right-handers over that span, and he is currently on the Injured List, so this knocks the Dodgers down a peg.

Otherwise, only five Dodger hitters are above that crucial 100 wRC+ mark since August 1. Only four Dodger hitters have above a .350 OBP, too. Given all of these factors, Sonny Gray should be able to cruise through the bottom of the Dodger order.

However, Los Angeles has an unbelievable 2.25 collective bullpen ERA in that timeframe – although they have gotten a bit lucky because their team xFIP is 4.08. That said, they have plenty of arms to come in relief if Scherzer even needs them. Only Shane Greene and Victor González have above 4.00 ERAs during August and September, as well. They should be fine.

Cincinnati Reds

Sonny Gray has been rock solid all season. He ranks in the 92nd percentile in Hard-Hit Percentage and the 84th percentile in average exit velocity. This should limit any major contributions from the hard-hitting top of the lineup from the Dodgers. Given the weakness of the Dodger lineup in full against righties, Sonny Gray should succeed in this one.

The Reds lineup’s most prominent strength is their ability to do damage against right-handers. Unfortunately, they have to face one of the best pitchers ever and potentially the hottest pitcher in the league in the second half of the season.

The Reds have a 100 wRC+ against righties since August 1, but on the other hand, they had an xwOBA of .262 the last time Scherzer pitched against them. He will be able to hold their recent success in check.

Finally, the Reds bullpen has been about league average in the second half. Losing Tejay Antone to the Injured List hurts this bullpen, but they should have a few weapons ready to go after Gray exits.

Amir Garrett seems to have turned it around in the last couple of months with his 3.38 ERA and 10.13 K/9 since August 1. Michael Lorenzen, Mychal Givens, and Luis Cessa also will give their skipper enough to choose from to limit this Dodger lineup. All three are righties, too, which should help limit a Dodger team with tough splits.

Dodgers-Reds Pick

With two aces on the hill, the play is the under. Cincinnati may usually hit righties, but those righties are not Max Scherzer. The Dodger bullpen has been great lately and that should continue, and the Reds have enough ‘pen arms (preferably righties) to hold the Dodger offense to very few runs.

Take the under in the game. It opened at 9 (-120) but play to 7.5 (-110). Expect this number to drop rapidly.

Pick: Under 9 (-120), play to 7.5 (-110)