Padres vs. Dodgers MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: San Diego Has Edge in LA (Sunday, Sept. 4)
Harry How/Getty Images. Pictured: Mike Clevinger
- The Dodgers host the Padres on Sunday Night Baseball as they look to improve on their MLB-best 91-41 record.
- Los Angeles will send rookie Ryan Pepiot to the mound while San Diego will counter with veteran Mike Clevinger.
- Tanner McGrath breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.
Padres vs. Dodgers Odds
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When the Padres made their big-name deadline moves, these are the moments they had in mind. They wanted to compete with the Dodgers, their Big Brother who hasn’t let them win yet.
Since the deadline, the Padres are 15-14 while the Dodgers are 21-8 as the lead in the division has grown to 18 during this stretch.
The Dodgers are also 4-1 against the Padres since the August 2nd deadline date, including a double-digit clobbering just last night.
Will Smith – Los Angeles Dodgers (20)
— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) September 4, 2022
Comparing your team to the Dodgers is a futile endeavor, but the Padres haven’t been world-beaters in any sense of the word. They’re hanging on to the second Wild Card spot by one game over the Phillies, although Philadelphia has a three-game lead over the next-best team in Milwaukee.
Either way, the games grow ever more important for the Padres. Can they beat Big Brother on the sport’s biggest stage tonight?
Soto, Padres Hitters Need to Step Up
Let’s talk about Juan Soto.
Nationals got their guy ‼️ pic.twitter.com/vadKDxnTuV
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) September 3, 2022
I don’t want to drag Soto for accumulating 0.9 War in just 24 games (about a six-WAR pace over a full season), but his debut in SoCal has been slightly underwhelming. He’s hit some uber-long home run balls, but he’s only hit three of them in 24 games. A .250/.417/.417 slash line is better than most, but is a .833 OPS worthy of the great Soto?
But what does Soto do better than anyone?
As Billy Beane says: He gets on base.
Soto has walked 24 times to 13 strikeouts during his time with the Padres. That is staggering, and it’s helped keep him afloat during a .265 BABIP period, which has kept his average to .250 and his extra-base hits down.
Don’t worry, Padres fans, brighter days are ahead with this generational superstar.
The rest of the offense is slightly worrisome. Manny Machado is tremendous, but not a single other Padres hitter (outside Soto) has an OPS+ above 111. Consistently stringing together offensive performances across the lineup has been a problem for San Diego this season.
Starting Pitcher: Mike Clevinger (RHP)
The Padres have a solid pitching staff which has been boosted by the acquisition of Josh Hader.
I spent the last year living in San Diego, and all Padres fans could talk about during April was the return of Mike Clevinger to an already-talented rotation. He’s mostly impressed, pitching to a 3.50 ERA over 16 starts and 85 innings (5 1/3 innings per start).
Almost every Clevinger start has been a quality performance. He consistently eats innings and has allowed more than three runs in a start just three times. He gives his team a chance to win, and the Padres are 11-6 in his starts.
I’m not going to oversell him, however. He’s your typical right-handed pitcher who relies on a four-seamer and mixes in four other pitches. He’s seen mixed results across every pitch, and his Baseball Savant stats don’t pop off the page.
Clevinger is also due for some regression, with an xERA north of 4.10 and an xFIP close to 4.50.
Dodgers Enjoying Dominant Stretch
The Dodgers are a force of nature, and there’s not a single weak point on this roster. They’ve won 46 of 59 games dating back to June 29th (.779) as they have been historically hot over that span.
It’s the reason why the Dodgers can provide some time off for Tony Gonsolin and Mitch White and instead rely on Ryan Pepiot in this start.
But what do the Dodgers want?
FanGraphs currently projects the Dodgers to finish with 109 wins, and Baseball Prospectus is at 107. They could make a run at the 116-win record.
I doubt they do, but that doesn’t make their accomplishments any less impressive.
Justin Turner has been destroying the ball recently, having posted a 1.132 OPS with a 216 wRC+ over the last two weeks. He’s cut his strikeouts down during this stretch by about 3%, and he has taken advantage of the extra contact by posting a .515 BABIP.
If only Max Muncy or Cody Bellinger could get it together. Sadly, no team is perfect — just ask the Yankees.
Ryan Pepiot (RHP)
New Starting Pitcher: Caleb Ferguson
— Dodger Yard (@DodgerYard) September 4, 2022
Pepiot has a bright future, if only because he’s being developed by the Dodgers. This organization’s ability to develop guys like Tyler Anderson and Tony Gonsolin never ceases to amaze me.
Pepiot has a real changeup — a literal double-plus changeup by most scouting reports. It’s held batters to a .091 average over 151 pitches with a 30% Whiff Rate.
He pairs it with a decent fastball, but Pepiot needs to develop a better secondary breaking pitch if he has a chance to jump up among the Dodger elites.
But behind his two most-used pitches, Pepiot has posted real strikeout numbers — over 10 K/9 — in both the minors and majors. But he’s walking too many guys (6.32 BB/9), his Ground-Ball Rate is too low (21.3%), and his xERA is above 4.50.
There’s a lot of work to be done, but there’s no reason the Dodgers won’t develop Pepiot into a great middle-rotation guy.
But will Pepiot win this game?
I guess Pepiot won’t actively hurt the Dodgers, but I am suspicious that LA is laying such a large moneyline number against a divisional rival with a rookie on the mound.
The Dodgers own the Padres, but this price seems a little absurd, especially after factoring in Clevinger’s overall success rate and a Padres bullpen that’s 12th in reliever ERA since the trade deadline (3.40).
Our Action Network MLB expert Sean Zerillo projects San Diego at +146 for the full game, giving us plenty of value on the early +185 line that PointsBet has posted.
I’m happy siding with that and betting the Padres down to around +150.
Pick: Padres ML (+150 or better)