Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres MLB Pick July 9
The Los Angeles Dodgers have pulled themselves out of their early season funk, but there is still work to do. Following a disastrous start, L.A. is now a respectable 48-41 on the year, though they remain a game adrift of the Arizona Diamondbacks atop the National League West. The Colorado Rockies and San Francisco Giants are both 3.5 back of first, so the playoff run in the second half of the season in this division should be fun.
The Dodgers are still prohibitive favorites to overtake the Diamondbacks and win the division, and with good reason. This is still arguably the most talented roster in the National League, and Los Angeles is currently riding a streak of 5 straight NL West titles. If they can stay healthy after the All-Star break, they figure to be a shoo-in to at least nab themselves a playoff spot.
There is still business to be done before the break, however, beginning with a 4-game series starting tonight in San Diego. After a recent slide the Padres find themselves 11.5 games behind the Diamondbacks, so their playoff hopes are likely on ice for another year. Still, the Padres haven’t quite been the doormat many expected them to be. This is a team that could start making some noise, even as early as 2019.
For now, the Pads will likely have to settle for playing spoiler for some of their divisional bunkmates. Luis Perdomo will climb the hill for San Diego in Monday’s series opener against Dodger ace Clayton Kershaw.
Perdomo has only made 5 starts at the big league level this season. He struggled early in the campaign before the Padres decided to demote him to the minors so he could work out some kinks. The right-hander performed well while down on the farm, so the team recalled him to the majors for a start last weekend in Oakland. Perdomo limited a powerful A’s lineup to 2 runs on 4 hits in 5.2 innings of work in his return.
The 25-year-old has never been much of a strikeout guy. Perdomo’s career strikeout rate at the big league level is just 16.4 percent. That’s up to 19.6 percent this year, albeit in a tiny sample size. Instead, Perdomo is a guy that keeps the ball on the ground to get his outs. He has a career ground ball rate north of 59 percent in the majors, which is excellent.
One issue with Perdomo to this point is that he tends to get hit hard. He has yielded a hard-hit rate of nearly 39 percent so far this season, and his career-to-date mark stands at 33.2 percent. He’s also a righty with a pretty wide platoon split, which is potentially problematic against a Dodger lineup with several potent left-handed bats.
Perdomo has allowed a career wOBA of .361 to lefties along with a .345 mark to righties. He projects as a guy that should be able to handle right-handed bats fairly well, but his ground ball rate plummets against left-handers. Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, Joc Pederson, Yasmani Grandal and other Dodgers figure to give him some issues in this spot. The Dodgers have boatloads of power.
The Padres hitters will have the tall task of taking their hacks against former Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw has battled injuries for much of the year, which has left him sidelined for well over a month in all. The southpaw has made just 11 starts to this point with mixed results. His numbers are still stellar by normal pitcher standards, but he hasn’t reached the lofty heights we’ve grown accustomed to seeing from Kershaw.
Kersh still doesn’t walk anybody, and his strikeout rate nearing 26 percent is still stellar. That said, this is a guy with a 28 percent career K-rate that has hovered near or above 30 percent for the last several seasons. His 3.24 SIERA so far this season is also his highest mark since 2012.
The Dodgers have been careful with him since he came off the DL after a back injury a few weeks ago. In the 3 starts since his return, Kershaw has topped out at just 74 pitches, which came in his last start against the Pirates. He hasn’t enjoyed even one start this season in which he shut out the opponent, which is very un-Kershaw like.
The Padres aren’t necessarily the doormat of an offense they have been in years past, but there are still plenty of strikeouts to be had. While Kershaw’s strikeout numbers have taken a dive this season, it would still be a surprise if he didn’t get through tonight’s start with at least a handful of Ks. San Diego has a 24.4 percent strikeout rate as a team against left-handed pitching this season, which is the third-highest mark in all of baseball.
Considering the Dodgers profile well against Perdomo and the Padres may have their issues against Kershaw, this looks like it may be a fairly lopsided matchup this evening. Strange things can always happen, and the Pads do have a few capable right-handed hitters, but I like the Dodgers side of this one quite a bit. I think the runline here is attackable. -144 isn’t the greatest number from a profit potential standpoint, but I do think it’s fairly safe. Give me L.A. -1 1/2 here.
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