Dodgers vs. Twins Odds, Picks, Predictions: Healthy Clayton Kershaw Creates Clear Edge (April 13)
Norm Hall/Getty Images. Pictured: Clayton Kershaw.
Dodgers vs. Twins Odds
|Over/Under||8.5 (-115 / -105)|
|Time||1:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
The Los Angeles Dodgers look to take both games of a brief interleague series against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday afternoon taking the opener late last night. In what was a close game through the first seven frames, the Dodgers erupted for six runs in the eighth inning and took control.
Looking to bounce back, the Twins will hand the ball to Chris Paddack for his team debut. He draws the start against a familiar former NL West rival and veteran left-hander Clayton Kershaw.
Was the Dodgers’ eighth-inning eruption enough momentum to propel them to yet another win on Wednesday, or will the Twins strike back against Kershaw and split the season series?
Dodgers Offense Yet To Get Going
All signs point toward Clayton Kershaw taking the mound on Wednesday afternoon. There have been reports that his start may be pushed back due to inclement weather, though no official decision has been made yet.
The Dodgers have been focused on stretching Kershaw out and working him back to his normal workload. He threw a 75-pitch, five-inning simulated game last Thursday instead of being tagged as the Opening Day starter, so he’ll likely be on a pitch count in this game.
Despite a 3.55 ERA last season, Kershaw’s advanced metrics actually showed the southpaw was quite unlucky, with a 3.15 xERA and 2.87 xFIP over 22 starts. All of this came despite him having a career-worst 71.7 left-on-base percentage. Kershaw’s career average is nearly 8% higher, and he should have more success in 2022 — so long as he can stay healthy.
Starting pitching has not been the issue for Los Angeles. In the Dodgers’ opening series against the Colorado Rockies — at Coors Field — it was the offense that underwhelmed, to the tune of fewer than four runs per game. They finished 2021 with 5.05 runs per game, fifth most in MLB.
Outside of Gavin Lux, who has been phenomenal out of the gate, the rest of the offense has straggled behind. Even with Tuesday’s output, they were held to just one run over the first seven frames.
But this is a lineup that includes the likes of Mookie Betts, Max Muncy, Freddie Freeman and more. It’s only a matter of time before the Dodgers wake up and erupt on some unlucky starting pitcher.
Paddack Walking on Thin Ice With Two-Pitch Arsenal
The Minnesota Twins were one of the few teams that completely restructured their starting rotation this offseason, adding four new pitchers that could see time in the rotation this season. The most recent acquisition was Paddack.
The 6-foot-5 Paddack had a phenomenal rookie season in 2019 but has been unable to replicate any success since. He enters this year fresh off a career-worst 5.07 ERA in a season that saw him rank in the bottom 20 percentile in xBA, hard-hit percentage and curve spin.
Paddack doesn’t have a deep arsenal. He mostly uses two pitches — fastball and changeup — because his curveball has been largely ineffective. The problem? Opponents had a .303 xBA against Paddack’s heater last year. Spring training has followed a similar trend downward for Paddack, as he’s given up five runs over eight innings.
If you’re looking for a bright spot among the Paddack struggles, he’s heading to a new environment and ranks in the top 5% in walk rate. His xERA (4.69) and FIP (3.78) show room for positive regression, as well.
Unless his curveball develops under new coaching, though, he’ll have to rely on both his fastball and changeup working every time he takes the mound. If Paddack struggles to locate one of his two main pitches, it’ll be easy for hitters to hone in on the right-hander.
It also doesn’t help that his Twins debut comes against a former division rival. He’s given up 13 runs over 13 2/3 innings over the last two seasons against the Dodgers.
Assuming Kershaw is good to go, the Dodgers have the advantage both on the mound and offensively.
I used to be high on Paddack, but not only do his advanced metrics not back up his case, he’s severely struggled the last couple seasons. It’ll take a few starts under new coaching in Minnesota for me to consider coming around on him.
Not to mention that Paddack actually has reverse splits. Lefties hit just .214 off Paddack and slug .344. Right-handed hitters? A .325 average and .547 slugging percentage.
Kershaw will likely be on a pitch count and probably pitch five innings if all goes well. Minnesota will be hoping his start is pushed back and the Dodgers opt for a bullpen day instead.
But as long as Kershaw pitches, I like the Dodgers on the First Five run line (-0.5) here. They should force an early exit for Paddack en route to taking two out of two in Minneapolis.
Pick: Dodgers F5 (-0.5) to -120
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