Dodgers at Rangers MLB Pick August 28
The Los Angeles Dodgers were finally able to generate a little bit of momentum over the weekend. After being swept in a crucial 3-game series at home by the St. Louis Cardinals, the Dodgers were able to take advantage of the lowly San Diego Padres with a sweep of their own. Now, with their deficit in the NL West down to just 2 games, the Dodgers will head southeast to take on the scuffling Texas Rangers. The Rangers dropped 2 of 3 against the Giants in San Francisco this past weekend, and anything but a last place finish in the AL West would be a surprise. The Rangers are now 6 games back of the Los Angeles Angels for fourth place in the division.
Walker Buehler will climb the hill for the Dodgers in this one against Texas right-hander Ariel Jurado.
Buehler has been instrumental in keeping the Dodgers afloat this season. The rookie has been in tremendous form of late despite the fact that the bullpen behind him keeps blowing leads. Buehler has allowed just one earned run over his last 3 starts combined. During that 20-inning stretch, the right-hander has racked up 23 strikeouts while issuing 7 walks. Unfortunately for him, the Dodgers are just 1-2 in those outings.
Buehler entered the season as one of the team’s very top prospects, and he’s shown why with his performance. On the year, he has a healthy 27.1 percent strikeout rate along with a manageable 6.1 percent walk rate. His 3.28 SIERA isn’t quite as strong as his 2.96 ERA, but both are still tremendous. Buehler has also kept the ball on the ground at a 49.6 percent clip, which is above-average.
One potential issue for him tonight is that he is getting a massive park downgrade going from Dodger Stadium into Globe Life Park, plus he’ll be facing an American League lineup, so he’ll have to battle with a DH instead of a pitcher. It’s also going to be warm and muggy in Arlington tonight, which means the weather clearly favors hitting over pitching. Still, there are plenty of strikeouts in the Texas lineup. The Rangers have the fifth-highest strikeout rate in the league this season (24.7 percent) against right-handed pitching.
Jurado, another rookie, hasn’t fared quite as well this season. In 6 starts for the Rangers this season, Jurado has a 6.40 ERA and a 5.35 SIERA. He has a comically low strikeout rate just over 8 percent and he has allowed hard hits at a 45.4 percent clip. One thing he has done well is keep the ball on the ground. Jurado’s 52.1 percent ground ball rate would be among the better marks in the league if it were to be extrapolated over the course of a full season.
Jurado has surrendered a hefty .453 wOBA this season against left-handed hitters. That will obviously come down, but it’s pretty evident that lefties have been seeing the ball well out of his hand. They have also accounted for half of the 6 home runs he’s given up. Righties have a .307 wOBA against him, so it’s not like they’ve really struggled all that much, either.
The Dodgers haven’t exactly lit the world on fire since the trade deadline, but their lineup top-to-bottom still looks like it could easily be the most potent in all of baseball. When you add in the fact that they get to employ a designated hitter tonight, it’s fair to say that the lineup 1-through-9 tonight will be looking fairly stacked. The potent left-handed bats of Cody Bellinger, Joc Pederson, Yasmani Grandal, Max Muncy and others figure to give Jurado plenty of problems. The right-handers (Manny Machado, Brian Dozier, Matt Kemp, Justin Turner) are in a good spot, too.
This just has the feel of a game that could get out of hand pretty early. We’ve seen the Dodgers’ offense explode a few times in the last couple of weeks, and I think this is a spot in which they may well do so once again. Jurado hasn’t shown much of anything to this point at the major league level, and the Ranger bullpen behind him is lacking after the departures of effective arms like Keone Kela and Jake Diekman.
Give me the Dodgers on the runline here. Covering 1.5 runs at -135 isn’t the most favorable spot from a profit potential standpoint, but this is a great spot for L.A. Buehler should be able to keep the Ranger bats somewhat in check, while they could have a field day offensively against a weak Rangers starter. You can also try to hit the over on 11 here, but I’m less confident considering how high the implied total is. The Dodgers on the runline looks like the far safer option.
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