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Dodgers vs. Padres Odds, Preview, Prediction: Back Max Scherzer, Los Angeles to Down San Diego (Thursday, August 26)

Dodgers vs. Padres Odds, Preview, Prediction: Back Max Scherzer, Los Angeles to Down San Diego (Thursday, August 26) article feature image

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images. Pictured: Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Max Scherzer.

Dodgers vs. Padres Odds

Dodgers Odds-132
Padres Odds+112
Time9:10 p.m. ET
Odds as of Thursday afternoon via FanDuel.

The San Diego Padres might have been the quietest team with playoff aspirations at the trade deadline. While other playoff contenders gleefully joined the arms race for assets, the Padres chose to stand pat and focus on their core group of players, unwilling to part with their prospects.

In contrast, the Dodgers were more willing to wheel and deal. They saw their strategy as twofold: acquiring the necessary assets to improve their team, while keeping those players away from their competitors.

That strategy has proven to be fruitful, considering how well Los Angeles has played since the deadline. The Dodgers are 17-5 during that span, while the Padres are just 8-14 in the that same stretch.

That said we’re left with with teams heading in opposite directions and this recent series further supports that notion.

Los Angeles, Scherzer Enter This Game in Stellar Form

Although Los Angeles won the first two games in San Diego, the Padres still hold a 7-5 advantage in the season-long matchup. And if we look at the Dodgers’ recent form, they’re now 11-1 in their last 12 games and seem to be playing with a renewed confidence since the trade deadline.

One of the players they added was Max Scherzer. The 14-year veteran is arguably pitching as well as he has at any other point in his career.

Scherzer, who was named to his eighth All-Star team, carries an 11-4 record into the series finale. His 2.65 ERA is outstanding, along with a 0.91 WHIP. While his 3.37 FIP points to some regression, this Dodgers team is much different from the Nationals in terms of their balance because they can overcome most blunders other teams can’t on the field.

However, that might not be necessary with Scherzer on the mound. In the four games since joining Los Angeles, he’s 3-0 and hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs per start. In fact, the Dodgers have won all four of his starts.

This will be his 14th career start against the Padres. Overall, he’s 4-2 with a 3.06 ERA against the club. Scherzer has already faced the Padres twice this season, getting roughed up for 11 runs in 10 2/3 innings. I don’t expect we’ll see him struggle in this spot for the third time, especially with the Padres’ offense struggling a bit of late.

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San Diego Pitcher Darvish Making Return

Yu Darvish returns to make his first start two weeks after landing on the Injured List with tightness in his back. The right-hander was forced to exit his last game after just 2 2/3 innings. While the back tightness might have contributed to the five runs he allowed against lowly Arizona, the truth is Darvish has been struggling the last few months. He’s lost his last five decisions and even had a 7.36 ERA in July.

He’ll enter this game with a 7-7 record, 3.70 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. Judging by his 3.71 FIP, Darvish’s numbers are right where they should be. The biggest leak in his game is that he’s been a bit susceptible to the home-run ball. He has a HR/FB rate of 13.9%, and 45.9% of his batted balls are fly balls. That’s a career high for him, and concurrently, his 0.79 GB/FB is a career low.

Part of me wonders if Darvish is being rushed back for this start against the Dodgers. San Diego once seemed to be playoff bound, but now it finds itself one game out of the final wild-card spot.

While I already mentioned how Darvish had struggled late, the Padres’ offense certainly deserves some blame for how the team has performed. If we look at their numbers since the trade deadline, they’re ranked 23rd with a below-average wRC+ value of 86.

Moreover, that value is the lowest of any major team within six games of a possible playoff spot.

Dodgers-Padres Pick

The Dodgers are relishing this opportunity to inflict some punishment on a Padres team that has gotten a bit mouthy over the last two seasons. And to make matters worse, they’re doing this in San Diego in front of the Padres’ home fans.

Earlier this season, it felt like San Diego was at times just going through the motions, but always seemed to find another gear when its faced Los Angeles. Now, the tables appear to have turned, with the Dodgers looking like the much more confident bunch.

The Padres are a young team, and they just haven’t maintained that level of consistency throughout the season. In comparison, the Dodgers have taught them a lesson in how to play the long game. While the Padres may have won some battles, it’s the Dodgers who look more poised to win the war.

The Dodgers’ front office deserves flowers for how it navigated the trade deadline. I think Scherzer will remind the Padres — yet again — of their lack of ambition in the trade market.

That said, take the Dodgers to complete the sweep as -132 favorites over at FanDuel in this battle of NL West combatants.

Pick: Dodgers ML (-132)

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