Dodgers vs. Reds, Sept. 17: Odds, Preview, Prediction
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The Reds and Dodgers will kick off a three-game series in Cincinnati, with both teams fully in the playoff race as we head to late September.
Los Angeles enters the weekend one game behind the Giants in the NL West standings but firmly in the top Wild Card spot. Cincinnati is one game behind St. Louis for the final Wild Card spot, and this series very well could be a preview for the NL Wild Card Game.
The NL Cy Young race might come down to a pair of Dodgers as Max Scherzer and Friday’s starter Walker Buehler are both still in contention. Buehler is a dominant 14-3 with a 2.32 ERA, the third best mark in the league.
Buehler has been as consistent as they come, pitching at least six full innings in 28 of his 29 starts. Teams are batting just .195 against Buehler, and he is averaging 6.5 strikeouts per outing.
The Los Angeles offense was expected to be one of the best in the league, and it has been up near the top, although maybe not as elite as some thought. They rank eighth in wOBA and sixth in wRC+.
The biggest surprise is that they have been led offensively by Max Muncy and Justin Turner, while former MVPs Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts have struggled.
It has been an up-and-down season for the former All-Star, Luis Castillo. He got off to a forgettable start to the season, sitting with a 1-8 record and 7.22 ERA through the first two months of the season.
Castillo then turned it around and was terrific through June and July, posting a 1.95 ERA in 11 starts. Things have turned again recently, as Castillo is 1-5 with a 4.68 ERA over his last seven starts.
Cincinnati’s offense has been one of the best in the league as well. They rank sixth in wOBA and 10th in wRC+.
All-Star Jesse Winker is still sidelined with a ribs injury, but fellow All-Star Nick Castellanos and consistent MVP candidate Joey Votto still provide a threat at the plate.
These are two of the top offenses in the league, but in the last 30 days, the Dodgers rank 22nd in wOBA and wRC+, and the Reds sit 28th in wOBA and wRC+.
Buehler is one of the best pitchers in baseball and has been lights out all season. While Castillo has been up and down, he has proven capable of shutting down a lineup. Since the start of June, he has allowed just one run or fewer in 10 of his last 19 starts.
I like the under 8.5 in this matchup between two capable pitchers and offenses reeling a bit.