Lo Duca: Should Bettors Expect Another Pitching Clinic In Brewers-Dodgers Game 5?
Benny Sieu, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Wade Miley
Betting odds: Milwaukee Brewers at Los Angeles Dodgers
- Brewers moneyline: +170
- Dodgers moneyline: -180
- Over/Under: 7 (-120/+100)
- First pitch: 5:05 p.m. ET
- Channel: FS1
>> All odds as of 2 p.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time MLB odds and track your bets
Both the Brewers and Dodgers burned through their bullpens in Game 4 on Tuesday night. The pitching was superb as the two teams combined for just three runs on 15 hits in 13 innings. Will it be more of the same on Wednesday?
Both of the starters in Game 5 have already pitched in this series with varying results.
Clayton Kershaw came undone in Game 1 for the Dodgers, allowing five runs — four of them earned — on six hits and two walks in three innings. The generational left-hander allowed a home run to pitcher Brandon Woodruff in the third inning and never really recovered.
Kershaw was forced to work a little harder than usual thanks to some shoddy defense by LA, but it was still a stumble from the three-time Cy Young Award winner.
Journeyman Wade Miley, on the other hand, twirled a gem in Game 2. The 31-year-old southpaw limited the Dodgers to just two hits in 5.2 scoreless innings on Saturday.
The fact that we’re talking about Miley starting Game 5 of the NLCS is insane, but “that’s baseball, Suzyn.”
While I think Kershaw will improve on his Game 1 start, I can’t see Miley putting up zeroes again.
Miley’s back-of-the-baseball-card numbers this season were strong but they are also very misleading. He posted a 2.57 ERA in 80.2 innings, but under the hood, there’s some cause for concern.
He struck out just 5.58 batters per 9 innings, issued 3.01 walks per 9 and his BABIP (batting average on balls in play) is .269. If those numbers don’t suggest regression looms, this one definitely does. Only 5.2% of the fly balls Miley surrendered went for home runs (MLB average is around 10%).
Miley has been able to succeed despite those numbers thanks to a superb 52.8% groundball-rate. The rest of Miley’s batted-ball profile doesn’t sparkle, but if you induce ground balls like he has this season you’ll succeed.
Keep in mind that Miley is on short rest — something he’s done only once and hasn’t done since 2012 — and the Brewers will likely need to get through this game without Josh Hader. Milwaukee’s most dynamic reliever could come in for a big out or two, but he’s thrown two days in a row now, so Brewers skipper Craig Counsell will have to think twice before summoning him from the pen.
With Hader and Corey Knebel gassed, it will likely be up to Woodruff, Xavier Cedeno and Jeremy Jeffress to get big outs later in the game.
That’s not a bad group, but it’s beatable.
On the other side, Dave Roberts emptied his bullpen in Game 4. The only pitchers who didn’t come into the game were Hyun-Jin Ryu, Walker Buehler and Kershaw.
Dylan Floro and Alex Wood both pitched in Games 3 and 4 while Kenley Jansen threw 34 pitches last night. None of the other relievers worked up much of a sweat, but they still worked.
This game has plenty of ingredients for crooked numbers. One starter is on short rest, the other is coming off a bad start and both bullpens are far from 100%. I’m playing the Over 7 but still think there’s value in 7.5 if it ticks up a half-run.
The Bet: Over 7 (-120)