Marlins at Dodgers MLB Pick April 24
The 2018 season hasn’t gone exactly according to plan for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but they were able to squeeze past the .500 mark on the season by beating the Miami Marlins on Monday night. Walker Buehler put forth a strong effort in the first start of his big league career, striking out 5 while allowing 4 hits over 5 shutout innings. He didn’t pick up the win after the Marlins tied the game late, but L.A. was able to pick up the W thanks to a Cody Bellinger sac fly in the bottom of the 8th.
L.A. will look to push their record to 12-10 tonight against Miami with Kenta Maeda on the mound. As is often the case with Maeda, he’s been solid this season despite the fact that he rarely pitches deep into games. He has a 2-1 record with a 3.77 ERA in 4 outings, which includes 3 starts. He’s shown massive strikeout upside, picking up exactly 10 punchouts in 2 of those outings against the Giants and Padres, respectively.
Last time out in San Diego, he fanned 10 while allowing 4 earned runs on 8 hits in 5.2 innings of work. He did throw a career-high 108 pitches, though, which shows that Dave Roberts may be willing to give him a longer leash than we’re used to seeing. Last season, Maeda reached the 100-pitch plateau just twice in 25 regular season starts.
Maeda is in a strong spot again tonight against a watered-down Miami offense. We know this team traded Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon over the winter, so Don Mattingly is essentially rolling with an everyday lineup that features very few recognizable names. Justin Bour is probably their best hitter at this point, which is just sad. Nothing against Bour, but if he’s your most potent bat, you’re probably not going to win many games.
The Marlins have mustered just 70 runs on the season, which is good for 28th in the league ahead of only the Twins and Royals. They’d be even worse if Minnesota didn’t already have 4 postponed games. The Twins have scored their 69 runs in just 16 games, while the Marlins’ 70 have come across 22 contests. The Fish are dead-last in slugging percentage (.305), 26th in on-base percentage (.298) and 29th in homers (13).
The Dodgers, who haven’t exactly been lighting the world on fire with the sticks this season, will go up against Marlins southpaw Dillon Peters. The left-hander has made 4 starts this season and has gone 2-2 with an unsightly 6.98 ERA. The ERA is a bit skewed by one brutal start in which he was blasted for 9 runs on 9 hits in only 2.2 innings in an eventual 20-1 loss to the Phillies. He’s allowed 6 earned runs across his other 3 starts, which isn’t too shabby.
We only have a 10-game sample size with which to work, but Peters has struggled tremendously with control at the big league level since debuting in 2017. He has a below-average K-rate (17.1%) along with an awful walk rate of 13.2%. He’s also posted a WHIP of 1.71 through 4 starts this season, which means he’s almost constantly been dealing with traffic on the base paths.
Again, small sample, but Peters has shown a pretty dramatic reverse-split thus far in the majors. He has a 1.55 strikeout-to-walk ratio against righties compared to a 0.57 mark against lefty hitters. He’s also held righties to a .230 batting average, while southpaws have hit .350 against him. Then again, all 7 homers he’s allowed in his career have come against righties, so perhaps the reverse-split numbers are somewhat noisy.
This doesn’t look a whole lot like the Dodger lineup we saw breeze their way to the World Series last season. The team is currently without arguably its best overall hitter in Justin Turner, while mainstays like Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor and Corey Seager have come out of the gates swinging cold bats. The only consistent production the team has gotten from the lineup has come from Yasmani Grandal and Matt Kemp, who were actually traded for each other just a few years ago.
I’m not exactly a believer in Peters’ talent level, but until we see the Dodgers start to swing the bats with some consistency, I’m not particularly bullish on their offense, either. The implied total on this game is set at 7 1/2 runs, and even that may be a bit high considering this game environment. Maeda is in an excellent run-prevention spot against a weak Marlins’ offense, while the Dodgers’ old struggles against left-handed pitching have reared their ugly heads again this season.
I think the play is the under on 7 1/2 runs in this one.
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