Legitimate baseball rivalries are few and far between these days. The Los Angeles Dodgers got a taste of a real rivalry on Sunday during the verbal dust-up between Max Muncy and Madison Bumgarner in San Francisco, but those kinds of kerfuffles don’t happen as often as they used to.
There is no real rivalry between the Dodgers and their neighbors to the south, the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels don’t even play in Los Angeles, for one. The fact that they are in different leagues has also kept any sort of real rivalry from brewing. The two teams just coexist about 30 miles apart with no legitimate bad blood between them.
Regardless, the two will get together for bragging rights for a short two-game series starting Monday night in Anaheim. Hyun-Jin Ryu, who has been arguably the best pitcher in baseball so far this season, will take the mound for the Dodgers against Angels rookie Griffin Canning.
|2019 ATR Home||18-14-0||16-17-0|
|2019 ATR Away||15-19-0||19-14-0|
|2019 O/U Home||15-14-3||16-16-1|
|2019 O/U Away||17-17-0||14-15-4|
Most expected Walker Buehler to take over for Clayton Kershaw as the ace of the Dodgers’ staff in 2019. While Buehler and Kershaw have both been in fine form so far this season, no pitcher has been as lights-out as Ryu. The left-hander is 9-1 through his first 12 starts with a 1.35 ERA. He has allowed a total of two earned runs over his last six starts combined, with both runs coming in a 7-2 win over the Pirates in late May.
While the 1.35 ERA is downright sparkling, Ryu’s 3.32 SIERA is a bit more pedestrian. A 3.32 SIERA is still stellar, but when your SIERA is about two full runs higher than your ERA you are likely due for some regression as the year progresses. The southpaw owns a solid 24.1% strikeout rate and a minuscule 1.7% walk rate thus far.
Tonight, Ryu will be going into an American League park, so he’ll face a DH instead of a pitcher. He’ll also be taking on an Angels team that typically puts the ball in play. The Halos have a team strikeout rate of just 15.8% against left-handed pitching, which is the lowest mark in baseball.
This is a considerably more difficult matchup than Ryu is used to facing, so I don’t expect his outing tonight to be as breezy as his other recent showings have been. That said, he’s been so good that betting against him at this point just seems like a fool’s errand.
Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani understandably garner most of the attention when it comes to the Angels, but young right-hander Griffin Canning has gotten his big-league career off to an impressive start. Canning, who made his big-league debut on April 30 against Toronto, has a 3.52 ERA through his first seven starts with the Angels.
His SIERA of 3.81 shows that his 3.52 ERA is perfectly legitimate as well. The youngster owns a strong strikeout rate of 26.9%, and walks haven’t been an issue for him. Canning has walked just 6.4% of all hitters he’s faced, which is low, especially for a rookie. Lots of young pitchers come up and struggle with control during their first stint at the top level.
While Ryu is in a tough spot himself, the same can be said for Canning. The Dodgers will be adding a DH to what is already arguably the game’s most potent lineup. The Dodgers also profile exceptionally well against right-handed pitchers considering most of their most dangerous bats swing it from the left side.
The Dodgers own a .348 wOBA as a team against righties, which is second behind the Twins in all of baseball. Their 120 wRC+ against righties is tied with Minnesota for first as well.
We have a couple of quality pitchers taking the mound tonight against talented offenses. I respect both pitchers enough to where I think the over on 9 runs is a bit too risky, which has me leaning toward betting on the Dodgers on the runline.
While it’s not an ideal matchup for Ryu in terms of strikeouts, it’s also hard to imagine he gets blown up. Assuming he can successfully weave his way around Trout, I think he’ll put the Dodgers in position to win tonight. The lefty-heavy lineup should fare decently well against Canning, so I like the Dodgers to cover the 1½ runline at -110 on Monday night.
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