Thursday MLB Odds, Picks and Predictions: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Milwaukee Brewers Game 2 (Oct. 1)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Brandon Woodruff
- The Los Angeles Dodgers take on the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 2 of their MLB playoff series on Thursday.
- The Dodgers are big favorites behind Clayton Kershaw on Thursday night, but BJ Cunningham has faith in Brewers ace Brandon Woodruff to keep his team in the game.
- Check out Cunningham's full preview with updated odds below.
Brewers vs. Dodgers Game 2 Odds
|Brewers Odds||+195 [Bet Now]|
|Dodgers Odds||-245 [Bet Now]|
|Over/Under||7.5 (+100/-121) [Bet Now]|
|First Pitch||10:08 p.m. ET|
After taking Game 1 with a convincing 4-2 victory, the Dodgers will send Clayton Kershaw to the mound to try and close out the Milwaukee Brewers.
Will Kershaw finally expel his playoff demons this year? Or will the Brewers be able to pile on the narrative that Kershaw is not built for October?
Advanced Stats Glossary
FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.
wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.
wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.
BaseRuns is a formula designed to estimate how many runs a team would be expected to score (or allow) given their underlying offensive (or defensive) performance. In other words, BaseRuns is a context-neutral run estimator used to evaluate teams. Major League average for an individual batter per game is 0.50 BaseRuns and a for a pitcher its 0.52 BaseRuns per inning.
Milwaukee’s lineup has been below average all season, checking in with a .307 wOBA and 89 wRC+. They’ve also been struggling over the past two weeks, too, accumulating a .293 wOBA and 80 wRC+ in that span.
The good news for Milwaukee backers is that the Brewers boast a .330 wOBA against Southpaws in 2020. Kershaw has been fantastic this season, but the Brewers are a tricky matchup for the future Hall of Famer.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers lineup was great all season but they really stepped it up over the last two weeks of the regular season, tallying 28 home runs in that span.
This is a matchup featuring two great pitchers, but the Dodgers offense, like the Brewers against Kershaw, is set up for success against Brandon Woodruff.
The Dodgers owned right-handers in 2020, reporting a .355 wOBA and an MLB-best 126 wRC+ against righties. Mookie Betts, Will Smith and Corey Seager are three of the best players in the MLB when it comes to facing right-handers, as they all posted a wOBA better than .415 during the campaign.
Starting Pitching Matchup
Brandon Woodruff vs. Clayton Kershaw
2020 Stats (via Fangraphs)
Brandon Woodruff, RHP
Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)
Woodruff has been fantastic this season, posting a 3.05 ERA and a 3.29 xFIP. He’s been a strikeout machine with a 11.1 K/9 rate. He does his best work with his fastball, which sits above 96 MPH and can top out at 100 MPH.
Woodruff’s heater kept hitters at bay all season, allowing a .175 batting average against and producing a 33.6% whiff-rate. Woodruff’s fastball is terrific, but his slider is actually his best pitch. It was quite literally un-hittable in the regular season, as he has allowed only two hits and produced a 47.1% whiff rate on 132 sliders in 2020.
Sliders have been the one pitch the Dodgers have struggled with this year, so I expect Woodruff to use it early and often in Game 2.
Clayton Kershaw, LHP
Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)
Kershaw has been really good again in 2020, posting a 2.16 ERA and a 3.05 xFIP. He has been on point with his pitch arsenal, allowing a wOBA under .290 with each pitch.
Over the past few years his fastball has lost a lot of velocity, going from an average of 94.2 MPH in 2015 down to 91.8 MPH this season. However, that big dip in velocity hasn’t seemed to make difference on its effectiveness, as it’s only allowing .203 average to opposing hitters in 2020.
If you want to nitpick, the one thing Kershaw struggled with this year is the longball. His HR/9 rate came in at 1.23 for the season and that is the second-highest of his career, with 2019 being the highest.
Milwaukee has had the league’s best bullpen all season long, ranking first in terms of xFIP. However, they were dealt a massive blow coming into the playoff, as Devin Williams was left off the roster due to arm issues. The Brewers still have Josh Hader and a solid group of relievers. But losing Williams will be too much to overcome.
The Dodgers counter with a bullpen that led MLB in ERA (2.74) and was second in xFIP at 3.88. So, they will have the advantage in this series, since the Brewers are without Williams.
Looks like it will be a beautiful evening in Southern California, so the weather shouldn’t be a factor.
Projections and Pick
I think that Woodruff and the Brewers lineup can stay in this game early on. The Brewers have had success against lefties, so they have a shot at plating a few runs against Kershaw.
Also, Brandon Woodruff has the talent to slow down the Dodgers high-powered offense.
I am going to back the Brewers for the first five innings at +185, but I wouldn’t go any lower than that.
The Bet: Brewers First-5-Innings +185
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