Rockies at Dodgers Game 163 MLB Pick October 1
It all comes down to this. 162 games wasn’t enough to determine whether the Los Angeles Dodgers or Colorado Rockies would win the National League West, so they will go toe-to-toe at Dodger Stadium on Monday afternoon in the 163rd game of each team’s regular season. The Dodgers got a much-needed sweep at the hands of the San Francisco Giants over the weekend, while the Rockies took 2 of 3 games from the Washington Nationals. Those results left the two teams with identical 91-71 records, so one more game is needed to break the tie.
The Dodgers went 12-7 against the Rockies during the regular season, which is why Los Angeles gets home field advantage for this one. L.A. took 6 of the 9 meetings with Colorado at home this season, and they swept their division foes in a 3-game set in their most recent series in mid-September. The pitching matchup for game 163 couldn’t really get any better. The Dodgers will throw fireballing rookie Walker Buehler to the mound, while the Rockies will counter with German Marquez, arguably baseball’s most improved pitcher this season. First pitch is set for 4:08pm Eastern.
Buehler was the Dodgers’ top-rated pitching prospect coming into the season, and the right-hander began the year at Triple-A before getting the call to the big leagues in late-April. The plan wasn’t necessarily to keep him at the top level for good, but he was so dominant that the Dodgers had no choice but to keep him around. In 23 outings, 22 of which have been starts, Buehler has a record of 7-5 with a 2.76 ERA.
Buehler’s SIERA of 3.20 is a bit higher, but that’s still a stellar mark. He boasts a strikeout rate of 28.6 percent on the season alongside a low walk rate of 6.6 percent. The hard contact allowed over 35 percent is a tad high, but the fact that he’s kept the ball on the ground at a 50 percent clip helps mitigate that number. Buehler has only allowed 12 homers in just over 130 innings, as well.
The Rockies have a lineup full of big-name hitters, but the overall quality here is diminished whenever they’re away from Coors Field. Buehler has held right-handed hitters to a .251 wOBA, while lefties sit at just .250. Colorado also has a team strikeout rate over 23 percent on the season against right-handed pitching, which is one of the highest marks in the league. The Rockies also have a team wOBA of just .289 away from Coors this season, which is the fourth-worst mark in all of baseball. Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon and Trevor Story are All-Star caliber hitters, but I expect Buehler to put forth yet another dominant showing here today.
Marquez was essentially an average pitcher until he turned a corner with an incredible outing at Dodger Stadium in late-May. Marquez struck out 8 while limiting the Dodgers to just a run on 2 hits in 7 innings that day, and he has taken off from there. Kyle Freeland has been the Colorado pitcher to get most of the Cy Young buzz this season, but Marquez has actually been even better.
The right-hander has struck out at least 11 hitters in 5 of his last 6 starts, which is just silly. He has faced largely weak competition in that span, but it’s still worth noting. Marquez has an ERA of 3.76 this season, but his 3.33 SIERA is even better. This is all the more impressive when you account for the fact that he pitches half of his games in the most hitter-friendly environment in all of baseball.
Marquez has a strikeout rate of 27.8 percent with a manageable walk rate south of 7 percent. He allows a rather high amount of hard contact (over 36 percent), but he’s another guy that generates enough ground balls (over 47 percent) to where the hard hits don’t always hurt him. Marquez has yielded 22 homers in 32 starts, but again, Coors has a lot to do with that. 9 of those blasts have come on the road.
Marquez does have a tougher matchup than Buehler here. The Dodgers have one of the deepest lineups in all of baseball, which we saw in full force during Sunday’s 15-0 drubbing of the Giants. Marquez has been incredibly tough against his fellow righties (.255 wOBA allowed), but lefties have enjoyed a good bit of success against him. Left-handed hitters have a .337 wOBA at Marquez’ expense, and we know Dave Roberts has no shortage of quality left-handed hitters with which to attack the right-hander. Joc Pederson, Yasmani Grandal, Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy are all capable of doing plenty of damage. Justin Turner, Manny Machado and Matt Kemp are quality righties Marquez will have to deal with.
This should be a fascinating game between two of the game’s brightest young starters. However, I think the combination of home field advantage plus the overall better lineup has me liking the Dodgers just a bit more today. You can get the Dodgers to cover the 1 1/2 runline at +125, which is excellent value.I wouldn’t necessarily be shocked if Colorado were to win this game, but I think the Dodgers come through and advance to the National League Division Series here. The Rockies will have to settle for the all-in Wild Card Game on Tuesday night.
Give me L.A. -1 1/2 at +125.
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