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Padres vs. Dodgers Odds, Preview, Prediction: Back Buehler at Home (Tuesday, September 28)

Padres vs. Dodgers Odds, Preview, Prediction: Back Buehler at Home (Tuesday, September 28) article feature image

Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Walker Buehler.

  • The Dodgers are strong favorites against the faded Padres tonight in Los Angeles.
  • Walker Buehler takes the mound for LA against San Diego's Yu Darvish.
  • Continue reading for a full breakdown of the matchup, including a betting prediction.

Padres vs. Dodgers Odds

Padres Odds +155
Dodgers Odds -185
Over/Under 7.5 (-115 / -105)
Time 10:10 p.m. ET
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Two series — and six total games — remain for the Los Angeles Dodgers. That’s all the time they have to make up a two-game deficit in the NL West and avoid the fate of a one-game playoff for the NL wild card. With division leader San Francisco drawing Arizona this week, wins surely will be at a premium for Los Angeles, and they probably can’t afford to lose another game this season.

Luckily, the Dodgers will throw Walker Buehler in this one and run into Yu Darvish, whose struggles have been well-documented. Will Darvish have a long night against his former team, or will the Dodgers and Padres deliver yet another memorable game? Let’s dig into the numbers and find the answer.

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San Diego Padres

For a moment, it appeared Yu Darvish was all better. The savvy veteran shut down the mighty St. Louis Cardinals just over a week ago, spinning seven scoreless innings with just three hits against him and nine strikeouts. Then, reality set back in when Darvish was shelled at the hands of the Giants at home.

The right-hander has been consistently bad since the All-Star break, going 1-7 in 11 starts and pitching to a 6.28 ERA in 57.1 innings. He’s allowed 15 home runs, and this month in particular more hitters have gotten away from him with an 8.4% walk rate. Allowing walks and homers generally isn’t a good strategy to make it through the Dodgers’ lineup.

On top of Darvish’s specific struggles, this team has won just three times in its last 16 games. A 106 wRC+ — which rates as the 14th-best in the league over the last two weeks — offers some hope, as does a very low 16.7% strikeout rate.

San Diego also ranks sixth in hard-hit rate during that period of time and third in contact rate. It seems they are having good at-bats, which would make sense considering they’ve scored a lot of runs lately.

So, why all the losses? Well, the team’s had to dip into the Triple-A pool for starting pitching, and the bullpen has pitched to a 5.10 ERA in the last 14 days. A bad start from Darvish is the last thing San Diego needs.

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers have been a well-oiled machine of late, and unlike the Padres, the Dodgers are trending up. Everything seems to be clicking aside from that famous offense, yet with the strength of its pitching and situational hitting, L.A. has remained in the fight for the NL West.

The Dodgers own the best bullpen in baseball since the All-Star break with a 2.66 ERA, and they check in at sixth over the past two weeks. It’s not often they need to rely on the relievers with so much tremendous starting pitching, but it’s nice to have that security blanket with Clayton Kershaw still trying to get back up to speed and with Tony Gonsolin pitching every fifth day.

Walker Buehler isn’t a guy who normally needs much help from the bullpen, though his September could be going better. He allowed six earned runs in San Francisco on Sept. 6, getting the hook after just three innings, allowed three earned over six in Cincinnati a couple of weeks ago and gave up five runs at Coors Field, failing to make it out of the sixth inning.

Sandwiched between all of those starts was a dominant seven-inning performance against the Padres at home on Sept. 11.

Buehler loves these spots. He is 9-2 with a 2.19 ERA at home this year, compared to just 5-2 with a 3.08 ERA on the road. He’s also pitched to a 2.03 ERA in four starts against the Padres, striking out 26 in 26.2 innings. A home start against the Padres should be just what Buehler needs to finish the season strong.

Padres-Dodgers Pick

You can be doing everything right, and it still won’t matter against a guy like Walker Buehler. He is an expert at limiting the damage done by hard-hit balls, and his strikeout stuff and low walk rate make it very difficult to get traffic on the basepaths.

So, despite San Diego’s positive underlying numbers, I still don’t love this matchup — particularly with Buehler’s great numbers at home and against the Padres.

Darvish and this bullpen are a huge liability for the Padres, and while the Dodgers haven’t been quite as mighty as they have been in months and years past, they’re still having great at-bats with a 19% strikeout rate. They should put the bat on the ball and force the issue with Darvish and the rest of these struggling arms.

I like a bet on the first five innings here to fade Darvish against these Dodgers bats and back the solid trends we’re seeing with Buehler.

Pick: Dodgers First Five -0.5 (-121)

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