MLB Odds, Predictions: Dodgers vs Angels Pick Today
Patrick Smith/Getty Images. Pictured: Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani.
Dodgers vs Angels Odds
The second game of the three-game Freeway Series features American League MVP favorite Shohei Ohtani on the mound as the Angels look to rebound against the Dodgers on Wednesday night.
Tuesday night's matchup between Reid Detmers and Clayton Kershaw was a true pitchers' duel, with both pitchers tossing seven scoreless innings and dominating the opposing lineup. The Dodgers scored two runs immediately off the Angels' bullpen in the eighth to take the first game, 2-0.
It's not often that the Angels have more wins (41) than their local rivals (40) this far into an MLB season. They have the clear pitching advantage on Wednesday with Ohtani on the mound, but the Dodgers maintain a clearly better lineup given the injuries in the Angels' infield at the moment.
The Dodgers' bullpen is also decently well-rested, which is a major key given their clear lack of depth at the back end of the bullpen this season.
Injuries have been one of the biggest issues for the Dodgers all season, and no group has been more affected than the starting rotation. The Dodgers had to pitch two bullpen games in Philadelphia last week and really have only three trusted starters in the current rotation with Tony Gonsolin, Clayton Kershaw and Bobby Miller.
As of Wednesday morning, the Dodgers haven't announced a starter yet, but the market is pricing in Michael Grove as the bulk pitcher on Wednesday. It remains a question whether or not they'll use an opener to try to get through the heart of the Angels' lineup — Mike Trout and Ohtani — before turning it over to Grove in the second.
The underlying peripherals are really trending in the right direction for Grove, even as his ERA sits at 8.10. His strikeout rate has been below average for the season at 21.9%, but his increase in fastball velocity and improvement in Stuff+ data has led to more whiffs and strikeouts in the last month.
Grove's fastball in his first four appearances of the season averaged 94.1 mph. His last three outings have been 96.7, 95.5 and 95.4. That extra velocity has led to much higher swinging strike rates and 16 strikeouts in 14 innings against the White Sox, Phillies and Yankees in the last month.
Grove's xERA is hardly encouraging at 5.10, but a lot of that is driven by the unsustainably high 2.4 HR/9 that he's allowed this season. All of the projection systems besides The BAT have him between a 4.6-4.8 ERA pitcher, and the market seems to be pricing him worse than that here.
Ohtani has allowed more home runs this season than last, and as a result, his xERA, FIP and overall ERA projections are higher as a pitcher in 2023 than they were last year. Despite that, Ohtani has maintained elite strikeout rates, and his Stuff+ is comparable to last season sitting in the top five among all MLB starters.
His high Stuff+ rating likely means he'll better suppress homers in the future — he's allowed 1.21 per 9 this year but is projected to allow about 1.05 for the rest of the season by most systems.
The Dodgers do project much better against right-handed arms than lefties because of the lefty-hitting outfielders they feature. When you flip them around and force them to platoon against a lefty, the lineup becomes marginally weaker. The matchup against a right-handed arm also hurts the Angels' lineup, which generally features big righty bats that crush left-handed pitching.
Brandon Drury and Hunter Renfroe are projected to hit fourth and fifth, and both come with solid platoon splits in their careers that are better against lefties.
The other issue for the Angels is the infield injuries. The RotoChamp lineup projection has Chad Wallach behind the plate again, Andrew Velazquez at shortstop, Luis Rengifo at third base and Kevin Padlo at first. Although Padlo had solid numbers in Triple-A, all four project as clearly below-average hitters in the back half of the lineup.
Wallach, Velazquez and Padlo all have a projected wRC+ of 78 or lower. That will really hurt any consistent run production for the Angels.
Dodgers vs Angels Betting Pick
Evan Phillips pitched on Tuesday night and earned the save, but he wasn't used on Saturday or Sunday in the Dodgers' blowout losses to the Giants. He should be fully available once again on Wednesday, along with the rest of the bullpen after Kershaw pitched so deep into Tuesday's game.
That's critical for the Dodgers' attempts at run suppression on Wednesday against this suboptimal Angels lineup. Grove is likely to pitch only four or five innings, and whoever fills out the other innings is key in projecting the total for the game.
There's some positive regression looming for the Dodgers' bullpen, which is unlikely to maintain its ranking near dead last in bullpen ERA going forward. Combine that with Grove's improved fastball and strikeout rates and a neutral park factor for Angel Stadium, and I'd bet the under 9 (-120 or better) or under 8.5 (-105 or better)