MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Dodgers vs. Padres: Can Trevor Bauer Stop a San Diego Sweep? (Wednesday, June 23)
Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images. Pictured: Jake Cronenworth (center) celebrates his home run with Manny Machado and Wil Myers.
- The San Diego Padres host the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday in the series finale between the NL West rivals.
- San Diego has taken the first two games of the series, and reigning Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer will look to prevent the sweep.
- How should you bet this one? Michael Arinze breaks it down below.
Dodgers vs. Padres Odds
|Over/Under||7.5 (+100 / -120)|
|Time||10:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Wednesday morning and via DraftKings.|
The Dodgers might not want to admit it, but the Padres are becoming a real thorn in their side. Los Angeles came into this series on a three-game winning streak and won six of their last seven. Yet, it suffered its second straight loss on Tuesday to give the Padres the series win along with their sixth win in the last seven head-to-head matchups.
This has to be a concern for the Dodgers, especially if both teams were to meet again in the postseason.
Los Angeles will try to right the ship and avoid the series sweep by sending Trevor Bauer to the mound on Wednesday. Bauer will be opposed by Joe Musgrove, who has pitched much better than his 4-6 record would show.
This game will only be the second time in the Dodgers’ last 153 games that they’re underdogs. The first instance actually occurred in the series opener on Monday.
Perhaps the oddsmakers are on to something involving these two teams, so let’s dig into this matchup to see if we can identify what’s tipped the scales and if there’s any value to be had on either side.
Bauer Also Benefited From An Increased Spin Rate
For quite some time, Bauer has been doing a lot of chirping on the use of foreign substances by pitchers to improve their spin rate. This began with a tweet in 2018 where he didn’t specifically mention any names. Still, it was widely speculated that the organization he referred to was the Houston Astros and their offseason acquisition of Gerrit Cole via trade.
If only there was just a really quick way to increase spin rate. Like what if you could trade for a player knowing that you could bump his spin rate a couple hundred rpm overnight…imagine the steals you could get on the trade market! If only that existed…
— Trevor Bauer (トレバー・バウアー) (@BauerOutage) May 1, 2018
Cole averaged 2,163 RPM on his four-seamer in 2017 compared to 2,332 RPM after just one month with the Astros. Bauer seemed to have an idea of how Cole’s spin rate improved so dramatically since it was something he’d been researching following his rookie season in 2012. In an essay posted on The Players’ Tribune, he would later conclude that the only way to increase his spin rate was to use foreign substances.
It seems that Bauer began this crusade on speaking out about foreign substances because he truly felt it didn’t belong in the game of baseball. But when MLB did nothing to stop it, Bauer became a conspirator in the same problem he was trying to rid baseball of. He even admitted it during the pandemic shutdown last year. Still, with so many other pressing concerns for baseball, his admission seemed to go unnoticed.
I was using foreign substance to increase the spin rate illegally https://t.co/pnzgUR1NjV
— Trevor Bauer (トレバー・バウアー) (@BauerOutage) April 9, 2020
Bauer then went on to win the NL CY Young Award during the 60-game season.
Lower Spin Rate Could Suggest Bauer Has Been Overvalued
With MLB now cracking down on the use of foreign substances by pitchers, there was a noticeable decline in spin rate during one of Bauer’s recent starts.
Trevor Bauer’s average four-seam fastball spin rate this season entering today: 2,835 RPM.
Bauer’s average spin rate on 18 four-seam fastballs through three innings today: 2,613 RPM.
That’s 222 RPM below average.
Each of the Braves’ three hits have come off a fastball. pic.twitter.com/3mJRaNFoEB
— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) June 6, 2021
Why is this all relevant? Well, before his shutout performance against a listless Diamondbacks team, Bauer hasn’t looked as dominant as we’ve seen in the past. He’s still very much a quality pitcher, as evidenced by his 2.45 ERA, but his 3.67 FIP is more than a full run higher. He’s walking almost an additional batter (3.01 BB/9) every nine innings compared to last season’s 2.10 BB/9 ratio.
Furthermore, the Dodgers have had consecutive wins in his back-to-back starts only once this season.
As a bettor, you tend to look for consistency in the data, but right now, I’m not sure we can trust what we’re getting from Bauer, especially with this foreign substance controversy that puts him in the forefront.
Thus, there’s too much uncertainty at the moment to confidently get behind him without any reservations.
Musgrove and the Crowd Factor
I don’t think Musgrove will have much of a problem with Bauer getting all the attention coming into this matchup. After all, the El Cajon native has quietly gone about his business, allowing just seven runs in his last seven starts. His advanced numbers suggest that he’s actually been a better pitcher than Bauer when you consider the following ratios: 1.94 BB/9, 1.03 HR/9, and 1.39 GB/FB.
Musgrove comes into this game as the more in-form pitcher, and he was the first Padres pitcher to start at home when the stadium returned to full capacity on June 17th.
All Musgrove did that night was pitch seven innings of shutout baseball.
For a series such as this one, with a rivalry so intense, you better factor the capacity crowd into your handicap. Just look at what it meant to the fans at Petco Park on Tuesday when Ha-Seong Kim hit a pinch-hit solo home run off Clayton Kershaw in the bottom of the fifth inning.
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) June 23, 2021
Rhythmic chants of “Beat L.A.!!!” quickly broke out around the ballpark. If Bauer truly enjoys being the center of attention, he won’t find a better audience than the one he’ll get on Wednesday night.
I think you can throw out all the numbers because this series is being played on pure emotions. Emotions that elicit feelings of true disdain and hatred for the opposing team. That animosity is what fills the crowd, and they feed it right back to the players.
The Padres are the new kids on the block, and they don’t want respect from the Dodgers.
They want to take it.
It’s evident baseball fans have been itching for the opportunity to fill up ballparks once again. They’ve shown that they can really make an impact, especially when facing a rival opponent.
We saw an example of that when the Cubs faced the Cardinals at Wrigley Field at the same time when the stadium returned to full capacity. Chicago pulled off a three-game sweep of their rivals, and I expect that with help from the crowd, San Diego will achieve the same feat on Wednesday.
I always like to leave you with a trendy nugget, so here’s something I found about the Dodgers’ recent run as an underdog.
While you might be thinking about all the value you can grab with the Dodgers as an underdog, in their last 17 games, they’re only 5-12 for a loss of 6.27 units in this spot.
Those results justify the decision by oddsmakers to price them accordingly, given the 12 outright losses. I agree with that adjustment for this matchup as I could only look to back the home favorites at the short price of -110 over at DraftKings.
Pick: Padres ML (-110)