Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers Odds, Pick: Is Los Angeles Overvalued In Clayton Kershaw’s Return? (Monday, September 13)

Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers Odds, Pick: Is Los Angeles Overvalued In Clayton Kershaw’s Return? (Monday, September 13) article feature image
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Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images. Pictured: Clayton Kershaw

  • The Dodgers are heavy home favorites in Monday night's game against the Diamondbacks.
  • Clayton Kershaw returns from the IL for Los Angeles and will be opposed by Zac Gallen.
  • Is there value on Arizona against the behemoth Dodgers? Read below for the full analysis and betting pick.

Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers Odds

Diamondbacks Odds +235
Dodgers Odds -300
Over/Under 8 (-105 / -115)
Time 10:10 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Dodgers are coming off a three-game sweep against the Padres behind another dominant performance by Max Scherzer. Scherzer recorded his 3,000th career strikeout on a day where he took a perfect game into the eighth inning.

Los Angeles went on to win the game 8-0, though it still wasn’t able to make up any ground on San Francisco in the NL West. The Giants won their seventh straight game to maintain a 2.5-game lead over the Dodgers.

LA will try to keep the pressure on when it hosts a Diamondbacks team with the second-worst record (47-96) in baseball. Arizona does have a two-game winning streak and will hand the ball to Zac Gallen, who’s pitched well of late with only six earned runs in his last 24 2/3 innings.

Gallen will be opposed by Clayton Kershaw, who will make his first start in two months after recovering from a forearm strain.

If there were ever a time where Kershaw could be vulnerable, it’d be this start off a long layoff. Let’s dig into the numbers to find the best way to extract value on the Diamondbacks.

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Arizona Diamondbacks

For the first time in his career, Gallen could surpass the 100-inning mark if he pitches more than two innings on Monday night. He might have reached the milestone last year if not for the pandemic-shortened season.

Before this year, Gallen was 6-8 overall with a 2.78 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. This season, he’s 2-9 with a 4.32 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. Although almost half of his career losses occurred this season, his advanced numbers suggest he’s pitched a bit better than his record would show. The New Jersey native’s 3.67 xERA and 4.00 xFIP both point to some positive regression. He’s struggled at times with walks (3.77 BB/9), but he’s done a decent job navigating the danger with 10.47 strikeouts per nine innings.

Gallen’s ability to strike hitters out is key because he’s not necessarily a groundball pitcher, as evidenced by his 1.18 GB/FB ratio. In fact, 15.5% of his fly balls end up as home runs. He has done better to allow only two home runs in his last four starts, but walks continue to be an issue with seven free passes during that stretch.

Nonetheless, he posted a 2.19 ERA and 2.88 FIP in those games.

This will be Gallen’s sixth meeting against the Dodgers. He faced them once this season and pitched a quality start with two earned runs in six innings.

A glance at the batter vs. pitcher splits reveals the Dodgers lineup hasn’t fared all that well against Gallen in their 70 at-bats. They’ve only managed to produce a .186/.269/.314 slash line with a .129 ISO.

That could bode well for Arizona, as Gallen is currently in his best form of the season at the moment.

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Los Angeles Dodgers

Kershaw’s last outing was on July 3rd before he went on the IL. His injury wasn’t expected to be that serious, but the Dodgers ended up moving him to the 60-day list.

Trying to get a handle on the exact nature of the injury has been difficult. It seemed to progress from just soreness to elbow inflammation to a forearm strain. As a result, I’m not sure what to expect from Kershaw in this return. He made only one rehab start with Triple-A Oklahoma City and allowed two runs in three innings while throwing 49 pitches.

If healthy, there’s no question of the quality of the future Hall of Famer. He’s 9-7 with a 3.39 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP this season. Like Gallen, Kershaw also shows a slight positive regression given his 3.23 xERA and 2.92 xFIP. He’s benefitted from an impressive 10.75 K/9 ratio. It’s his highest in the past six years and the first time in the past four years that he’s reached double digits with that mark.

Kershaw’s definitely displayed more movement in his pitches at this stage in his career. Per FanGraphs, batters are chasing 35.6% of his pitches that are outside the strike zone. That’s the second-highest mark in his career, and as a result, he’s been able to thrower fewer pitches in the strike zone (43.3%).

Yet, when he does pitch inside the zone, he’s limited hitters to an 80.8% contact rate, which is the second-lowest of his career. He’s done this all with impeccable command, as he’s allowed just 1.61 walks per nine innings.

However, if there’s one area where perhaps Kershaw’s been slightly vulnerable, it’s with the long ball, as 14.3% of his fly balls allowed have been home runs. The Arizona lineup does have some success hitting for power against Kershaw. They’ll hope that with a .203 ISO, they can overcome a .195/.261/.398 line against him.

The Diamondbacks’ splits also offer some promise as they have a .252/.327/.419 line against left-handers vs. .229/.303/.367 vs. right-handers.

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Diamondbacks-Dodgers Pick

It’s probably no surprise that the Dodgers are as high as a -300 home favorite. However, despite their 91-53 record, if you backed them at home every game this season, you’d be down -4.09 units.

I think it’s worthwhile to ask questions about Kershaw in this spot. He was probably shaky at best in his lone rehab start, and perhaps Los Angeles is rushing him back early so he can have at least a few starts at the major-league level before the postseason gets underway.

As for Gallen, we know the Dodgers’ lineup hasn’t exactly teed off on him as they do with the rest of the league. He’s already had a quality start against them this season, and his teams are 3-2 against the Dodgers when he starts, with both losses being by only one run.

Los Angeles knows it must keep winning games should San Francisco falter. As a result, I expect we’ll continue to see a max effort from them. Although, they may be vulnerable in the first five innings where Kershaw is 2-5 (-3.65 units) against the run line in his last seven starts.

Arizona just took two of three against a Mariners team that is in the thick of the AL wild-card hunt. I think they can keep things close with Gallen, at least in the early frames. You can get Diamondbacks +1.5 through the first five innings at -120.

With the Dodgers needing a two-run margin to beat me, I’ll gladly take a shot with the underdogs to play spoiler — at least for the first five frames.

Pick: Diamondbacks First Five Innings Run Line +1.5 (-120)

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