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Sunday MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Padres vs. Dodgers: Don’t Step in Front of Scherzer Train (Sept. 12)

Sunday MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Padres vs. Dodgers: Don’t Step in Front of Scherzer Train (Sept. 12) article feature image

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images. Pictured: Max Scherzer #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

  • The Los Angeles Dodgers take on the San Diego Padres in Sunday's Major League Baseball action.
  • Standout Max Scherzer heads to the mound for the Dodgers, who have continued their NL West dominance.
  • Michael Arinze breaks down the matchup below and unveils his top selection.

Padres vs. Dodgers Odds

Padres Odds +135
Dodgers Odds -160
Over/Under 7.5
Time 4:10 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

On July 30, Los Angeles was 2.5 games ahead of San Diego in the NL West. The Dodgers went crazy at the trade deadline, acquiring Max Scherzer and Trea Turner, while the Padres stayed relatively quiet. Today, L.A.’s lead is up to 15 games.

In fact, the Padres had a 7-3 lead in the head-to-head season series at the trade deadline. Since then, they’ve lost all five games against the Dodgers.

Now the Padres will get another glimpse of what they could have had with Scherzer facing them on Sunday. Los Angeles is deservedly a heavy home favorite in this series finale.

Padres’ Snell Hasn’t Been Great, But Is Finding Form

With a burgeoning roster ready to compete, the Padres have been trying to figure out how to usurp the mighty Dodgers in the division. That’s why they traded for Blake Snell in the offseason. Snell, of course, faced the Dodgers in the World Series last year with the Rays. He allowed three runs in 10 innings of work during the series. While he pitched well during the pandemic-shortened season (4-2, 3.24 ERA) last year, he hasn’t really been able to replicate the form of when he won the Cy Young award in 2018.

This season, he’s 7-6 with a 4.22 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. His advanced numbers are seemingly at odds with one another. On the one hand, his 4.87 xERA points to further regression. Whereas his 4.01 SIERA would suggest that he’s pitched slightly better than his current ERA would show.

But since Snell isn’t a groundball pitcher, so his xERA is penalized even more based on the quality of contact, such as exit velocity and launch angle. I think this is applicable for Snell particularly because his average exit velocity of 89.3 mph is the highest of his career. Opponents are also barreling him up at a staggering rate of 11.1%.

Now, he is striking out 11.95 batters per nine innings. However, he has to do an awful lot of extra work thanks to a 4.85 BB/9 rate. That’s a big reason why he’s averaging fewer than five innings per start.

To his credit, Snell has been better of late. He’s completed at least seven innings in each of his last three starts and four of his last six. Those performances haven’t always resulted in victories, as San Diego went 2-2 in those outings when he could pitch deep into the ballgame.

Scherzer on Fire Since Joining Dodgers

Good luck trying to find a pitcher who has been better than Scherzer since the trade deadline. He arrived in Los Angeles with an 8-4 record and a 2.76 ERA. Since then, all he’s done is go undefeated, and reduce his ERA by almost a half-run. He’s 5-0 with a 1.05 ERA and a 0.77 WHIP in a Dodgers uniform. The Dodgers have also won all seven of his starts.

If we look at his overall numbers, he’s 13-4 with a 2.28 ERA. Unlike Snell, his advanced numbers are more in line with one another when you consider his 2.97 xERA and 2.80 SIERA. While both point to some regression, they’re still good enough to be regarded as elite.

Even though Scherzer was tremendous through the first four months of the season, it’s clear that he’s turned things up a notch since joining up with the Dodgers. He’s more than justified why teams were in the hunt for him at the trade deadline. It’s almost like he had a Kevin Durant moment and said, ‘I’m Max Scherzer. Y’all know who I am.’

Perhaps he’s able to pitch more aggressively with a potent Dodgers lineup behind him. I think he’s been rejuvenated being on a team that has a chance to compete for another World Series title. Thus, I have no problem placing a heavier reliance on what Scherzer’s done with the Dodgers. Let’s take a look at how those numbers compare to his overall season numbers:

  • K/9 ratio is up to 13.19 from 12.27.
  • His walk rate is down to 3% from 5.6%
  • HR/9 ratio is down from 1.17 to 0.42
  • Hard% on batted balls is down to 25% 33.4%
  • His barrel rate is down to 3.1% from 9.1%.

The advanced stats show quite an improvement for a pitcher who was already considered one of the best among his peers. This is a scary proposition if you’re a Padres fan. It’s even more demoralizing to think they were also fairly close to acquiring him at the deadline.

Padres-Dodgers Pick

My model makes the Dodgers a -168 favorite in this matchup. There’s been a steady stream of Padres’ money come in this morning as they look to avoid the sweep. Snell also pitched well against the Dodgers in his last outing. He lasted 7 2/3 innings and allowed one run on three hits. However, the Padres couldn’t take advantage of his performance and lost 5-3 in extra innings.

I was all set to play Los Angeles on the run in the first five innings. However, with San Diego being bet up, the market is now giving me a small value on the Dodgers moneyline for the full game. The Padres’ offense has been poor over the last 30 days. Their wRC+ value of 78 is the worst in the majors during that stretch.

As a result, I can’t bring myself to stepping in front of the Scherzer train at the moment. Since late June, his teams have been on a 9-0 run as a favorite. BetMGM has the best line with Los Angeles as a -160 favorite, so I’ll look to place my action there.

Pick: Dodgers ML (-160)

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