Dodgers vs. Rockies Odds, Picks, Predictions: Walker Buehler Should Dominate Colorado
Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Walker Buehler.
- The Dodgers are a big favorite over the Rockies on Friday afternoon as both teams kick off their 2022 MLB seasons.
- Walker Buehler will get the ball for L.A. and should make quick work of the Colorado lineup, even in Coors Field.
- Get our full Dodgers vs. Rockies preview and picks below.
Dodgers vs. Rockies Odds
|Time||4:10 p.m. ET|
Los Angeles is once again a heavy favorite to win the NL West and for good reason given the starting rotation and lineup advantages they have over everyone in the division. Walker Buehler will get the opening day start for the Dodgers as they look to take care of business as heavy favorites.
The Rockies are in perpetual state of not having a plan. You could say they are rebuilding after letting Trevor Story go this offseason, but they just signed Kris Bryant to a large contract.
Additionally, they have no pitching to speak of with Kyle Freeland of all people getting the opening day start. Bottom line is, it’s going to be a long summer in Colorado.
Dodgers Reloading, as Always
The Dodgers lineup did lose Corey Seager in the offseason, but added Freddie Freeman, so Los Angeles should be one of the best offenses in baseball yet again. In terms of this matchup against Kyle Freeland, the Dodgers should have no problem against the lefty.
Los Angeles was just 10th in terms of wOBA against left handed pitching, but Kyle Freeland has a five pitch arsenal (fastball, slider, sinker, changeup, curveball) in which each pitch he throws at least 15% of the time. The Dodgers did struggle against breaking pitches last year (-17.3 run value against sliders and curveballs, per Fangraphs), but they have a +101.2 run value against fastballs, sinkers, and changeups.
Walker Buehler has established himself as one of the best starting pitchers in Major League Baseball because of how deadly his pitch combinations are. Buehler is mainly a fastball pitcher, which was by far his worst pitch in 2021, allowing a .330 xwOBA. However, his slider and curveball were outstanding, allowing under a .200 xBA and producing over a 34% whiff rate, per Baseball Savant.
Walker Buehler, 95mph Fastball and 85mph Slider, Overlay. pic.twitter.com/ukTQItPgEr
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 24, 2021
The Rockies really struggled versus breaking pitches, so Buehler should have a great matchup.
The Dodgers bullpen is projected to be one of the best in baseball again coming off a season where they were top seven in ERA, xFIP, BB/9 rate, and LOB%. They did lose Kenley Jansen, but added Craig Kimbrel to replace him.
Rockies Lineup in Trouble vs. Buehler
The Rockies lineup is likely going to struggle against Walker Buehler this afternoon. Last year Colorado was dead last in the MLB with 77 wRC+ against right-handed pitching. The main two pitches they struggled against? sliders and cutters. Colorado’s lineup had a combined -40 run value against those two pitches, which just happen to be Walker Buehler’s main two secondary pitches.
Kyle Freeland has turned the ship in the right direction after disastrous 2019 & 2020 seasons, bring his xERA and xFIP down under 4.50. The main reason for that is because he increased is K/9 rate by about two strikeouts and that to do with the improvement in his slider and curveball:
(via baseball savant)
As, you can see the xwOBA against those two pitches was over .320 in 2020, but he lowered it to under .280 last season. Considering those are the two pitches the Dodgers struggle with the most, he could have a decent matchup against Los Angeles today.
The problem for the Rockies is they had one of the worst bullpens in baseball and they are projected to somehow get worse in 2022.
With both of these starting pitchers having decent matchups against the opposing offenses, I think we are going to see a stalemate early on.
I also want to avoid a potential meltdown by one of the worst bullpens in MLB, so I like the value on under 6 runs for the First Five Innings at -120 (BetMGM).
Pick: First Five Innings Under 6 runs (-121)