Brewers vs Dodgers Prediction Today
Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Bobby Miller of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Brewers vs Dodgers Odds
The Brewers are starting to pad their NL Central lead and have five wins in their past six games. However, they're now set for their first real challenge in two weeks as they head to L.A. to take on the Dodgers.
Can this offense find a way through young Bobby Miller, or will Milwaukee be overwhelmed by the NL West powerhouse?
Let's break it down in today's Brewers vs. Dodgers prediction.
The entire baseball world is excited about the Brewers, and rightly so. They have one of the best collections of pitchers in the Major Leagues and have started to get hot at the dish, scoring 17 runs in a three-game sweep of the White Sox in Chicago this past weekend.
I don't mean to be a party pooper, but we really do have to pump the brakes a bit here on Milwaukee.
The Brewers are only 3.5 games clear of the Cubs in the division, and they've spent the past week beating up on the lowly White Sox and Rockies. Prior to that, they dropped a series to the Nationals and split with the Pirates.
Given those four opponents, a 90 wRC+ over the last two weeks is severely disappointing, but it's not as if it's really a deviation from the norm. Milwaukee's 89 wRC+ for the season is the fifth-worst in the game, and the club is on pace to finish below average by that metric for the ninth time in the last 10 years.
Milwaukee is nothing more than a pitching factory with fleeting offensive talent, which has helped it win plenty of games but has held it back from reaching that top tier.
One of the rare arms that the Brewers haven't totally figured out how to develop is Adrian Houser, whose expected ERA once again sits above four runs. He has posted a career-best 7.6% walk rate this year, but the influx of strikes he's thrown has led to a .271 xBA.
Houser has profiled as a groundball pitcher in the past, which has led to nominal success. But he's been at 47.5% for the past two seasons — a number that puts him just a few points above the league average.
He's never allowed fly balls quite like he has this season, though, posting a 26.5% fly ball rate despite a career mark of 18.3%. For context, the league average is 23.4%.
It's pretty clear to see that Miller may, indeed, be him.
His 98th-percentile fastball has stifled hitters all season long, and he's turned in some special outings. With that said, the 24-year-old is still very much a raw pitching prospect who's trying to figure out how to pitch at this level.
Miller's whiff rate could certainly use some improving, sitting in the bottom 36% of the league, and he's generated swings and misses at just an 18% clip over his last two starts.
That may all be part of the plan, however, considering the righty has posted a groundball rate of 43% or better in his previous three starts. After a steady decline in groundballs, it seems Miller has attempted to pitch to contact a bit better with the increased use of his fastball and slider.
It hasn't all worked according to plan, considering Miller's expected batting average has shot up to .274 in August with some more hard-hit balls. But since strikeout rate generally takes a while to improve as a young pitcher, it's imperative to learn how to pitch to contact. They may not be softly hit, but at least Miller has kept the ball out of the air.
You may know at this point, but the Dodgers offense has really looked special in the second half of the season. This team has won 12 of its last 13, and over the last two weeks, ranks second in wRC+ with some special numbers around that all-encompassing metric.
L.A. has struck out in just 15.8% of plate appearances — an astounding number — and has hit .295 with a .320 BABIP. That's all come along with a 10.5% walk rate. This team can simply do no wrong at the plate.
Brewers vs Dodgers
Betting Pick & Prediction
Houser is a strange combination: a pitcher who doesn't strike very many batters out but also issues a ton of walks.
This couldn't be a worse team to face, considering the Dodgers are the most patient offense in baseball and one that will make Houser pay for all of the fly balls he's allowed this season.
On the other side of this matchup, the Brewers rank around the middle of the league in groundball rate over the second half of the season, but they more importantly rank second-to-last in hard-hit rate.
Hard contact has been an issue for Miller at times during his rookie season, particularly of late. The Brewers should help him successfully marry his increased groundball rate with a lower expected batting average given their lack of quality contact.
I think the Brewers will come back down to earth here against a legitimately good team. The step up in competition will be far too much to handle.
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