Dodgers at Mariners MLB Pick August 17
The weekend brings us an intriguing interleague series between a couple of teams in the thick of the postseason hunt. The Los Angeles Dodgers, who just dropped 2 of 3 at home against the rival San Francisco Giants, suddenly find themselves in third place in their own division. L.A., which has won the National League West in each of the last 5 years, is currently 2 games adrift of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the division, with the Colorado Rockies a half-game up. The Dodgers are also 2.5 games back of the Milwaukee Brewers, who currently hold the NL’s second Wild Card spot.
The Dodgers will head northwest to take on the Seattle Mariners, who are also on the outside looking in right now. Seattle is also third in their own division, 4.5 games behind the Houston Astros in the AL West. The Ms are also 2 games behind the Oakland Athletics for the AL’s No. 2 Wild Card position. An awful lot can change in the month-and-a-half the season has left, but the Dodgers and Mariners both have their work cut out for them.
Walker Buehler will toe the rubber for the Dodgers in the series opener against Wade LeBlanc for the Mariners.
Buehler showed in his last start why he’s the Dodgers’ top prospect. The 24-year-old brushed off the harsh pitching conditions at Coors Field and shut out the Rockies while allowing just 4 hits over the course of 7 dominant innings. He struck out 6 and induced 10 ground ball outs along the way. The Dodger bullpen would go on to blow the game in the ninth, but Buehler was still electrifying.
On the season, the right-hander boasts a strikeout rate of 26 percent along with a low walk rate just under 6 percent. He has kept the ball on the ground at a solid clip north of 50 percent, and the hard-hit rate against him of 34.7 percent isn’t egregiously bad or anything. Buehler’s SIERA of 3.34 is also right in line with his 3.32 ERA.
While he gets a negative league shift going into an American League park tonight to face a DH, this is still a pretty decent spot for Buehler. He has yielded a low .251 wOBA to right-handed hitters on the year, and most of the Mariners’ better bats swing it from the right side. None of Nelson Cruz, Mitch Haniger, Jean Segura and Mike Zunino will hold the platoon edge in this matchup. Robinson Cano is back, but he figures to be a little rusty after just having returned from an 80-game suspension. Cano, Kyle Seager and Dee Gordon are really the only lefties Buehler will have to worry about.
LeBlanc is a 34-year-old journeyman that has quietly given the Mariners some solid innings in 2018. He has a 3.80 ERA, but his 4.20 SIERA suggests the southpaw has been pitching over his head a little bit. LeBlanc has a middling 19.6 percent K-rate, which is nothing special. Walks and hard contact haven’t been a problem for him, but he’s also a pitcher with a pretty strong fly ball lean.
While LeBlanc has shown reverse batted ball splits over the course of his lengthy career, he has allowed quite a bit more power to right-handed hitters over the years. LeBlanc has conceded 72 home runs to righties compared to 29 to lefties. However, lefties have a .367 wOBA against him compared to a .316 mark for RHBs.
Dodgers of either handedness should be able to see the ball pretty well against him. L.A. recently upgraded its right-handed power with the trades for Manny Machado and Brian Dozier. Both players enter the series swinging hot bats, and I think both profile pretty well here against LeBlanc. Yasiel Puig may be out of the lineup due to suspension, but if he’s in there due to his appeal it’s also a pretty decent power spot for him. Another righty, Justin Turner, has been one of the hottest hitters in all of baseball recently.
The lefties like Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson should be fine, too, if they crack the lineup.
I think this is a decent spot to be picking the Dodgers. They’ll get the benefit of adding a designated hitter to the lineup, which should theoretically make things even more difficult for LeBlanc. He does have a solid bullpen backing him up, while the L.A. ‘pen has been ravaged in recent days. Still, I think Buehler can stifle this Mariners lineup while the Dodgers should score plenty of runs on the other side.
Give me Los Angeles on the runline here. The value on the moneyline (-120) isn’t awful, but there’s more profit potential at +125 on the runline.
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