Cincinnati Reds vs Los Angeles Dodgers Pick

by | Apr 15, 2019 | mlb

Cincinnati Reds (5-9 SU, 6-8 RL) at Los Angeles Dodgers (9-8 SU, 7-10 RL)
Time: 10 pm ET
Where: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
Listed Pitchers: Cincinnati: Luis Castillo (1-1, 0.92 ERA, 0.66 WHIP vs. Los Angeles: Clayton Kershaw (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP)
TV: ESPN
Moneyline: Reds +145/Dodgers -155
Over/Under: 7.5

The Reds return to the United States after playing two home games in Monterrey, Mexico, and they come back to face a slumping Dodgers squad that had dropped six in a row, giving DZ the winner, before salvaging the finale of their series against the Brewers. Can Cincinnati finally win a true road game, or will Los Angeles start building some momentum in the right direction again with Clayton Kershaw’s return?

MLB Betting Odds

The line opened at -185 for the Dodgers and has slightly shifted toward the Reds, even after the Dodgers beat Milwaukee and Cincinnati fell to St. Louis in Sunday’s games. The over/under started at 7 but increased to 7.5, as nobody knows what to expect from Kershaw in his first start at the major-league level this season.

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Reds vs. Dodgers Setup

The Dodgers were expected to be the National League’s best yet again after two consecutive pennants, but the case has to be made that to this point, they’re behind both the Brewers and the Cardinals after going a combined 1-6 against those squads. The Dodgers look like the best team in the National League West, but considering that the Padres are the only division rival above .500 (as well as the one NL West team the Dodgers haven’t played yet), that’s not saying a lot at this point. The Reds, meanwhile, have struggled to start the season, which wasn’t unexpected given their inexperience and the quality of the teams above them. Cincinnati started the year by going 1-8 against Milwaukee and Pittsburgh, and while the Reds have won four of their past five, three of those were at home over Miami, which barely counts as beating a major league team.

Monday’s Starting Arms

The Reds stunned everyone when they announced Castillo would be their Opening Day starter, but since then, he’s made them look brilliant. In 19.2 innings of work, he’s allowed a mere five hits and eight walks against 25 strikeouts, and he’s conceded just two earned runs. In all three starts, he’s pitched well enough to win, and his one loss was a 1-0 shutout against Milwaukee where he got no run support despite seven strong innings. Castillo’s pitching in his first road game of the year, but his success isn’t just a factor of pitching at home. Not only is it hard to pitch well in hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park, but Castillo’s last three road starts last year resulted in just one earned run crossing the plate in 21.2 innings.

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Incredibly, it’s Kershaw, the three-time Cy Young Award winner, who’s the bigger question mark in this matchup. Kershaw has been sidelined with a shoulder injury since spring training and has made two rehab starts. In his most recent outing, he struck out six and gave up two runs for Double-A Tulsa, and when he’s at his best, he’s the type of pitcher who can win a game by himself.

Monday’s Batting Splits

The easiest way to say this: in 2019, the Dodgers can hit and the Reds can’t. At .203, the Reds have the fourth-worst batting average in the majors, and out of the 10 Cincinnati hitters with at least 30 at-bats, only two — third baseman Eugenio Suarez and catcher Tucker Barnhart have a batting average above .250. The Dodgers, on the other hand, are one of only two teams to score at least 100 runs this season and boast a team batting average of .282, just four points lower than Suarez’s batting average by himself.

The Bullpens

Pitching isn’t where Cincinnati gets beat, and that holds true with the bullpen as well. With an ERA of 3.51, the Reds’ bullpen has performed admirably, ranking eighth in the majors and winning four of the team’s five victories. The Dodgers, however, can’t be trusted to hold leads. Los Angeles’ ERA sits at 5.14, in large part because the Dodger bullpen has given up 10 home runs, one of just six teams in the majors to hit double digits in that category.

Totals Report

  •  The under is 8-0 in the Reds’ past eight games against a left-handed starter.
  • The under is 8-2 in the Reds’ past 10 series openers.
  • The under is 4-0-1 in Kershaw’s past five home starts.
  • The over is 4-1 in the Dodgers’ past five home games against a right-handed starter.

Free MLB Pick

I don’t know what to make of the Reds at this point in the season. Given that they’ve played only division games and Miami, which appears as terrible as advertised, it’s difficult to tell if the Reds are a poor team or they’re just stuck in a good division. The Dodgers are the more talented team, and I don’t want to go against Kershaw here. Kershaw’s abilities are well-known to the world, and there’s little doubt that he’s going to be motivated to prove that the extension he signed after the World Series was a great move for the Dodgers. I think Castillo will pitch admirably in this contest, and if I thought I could trust the Reds’ offense in any way, I’d take a gamble on Cincinnati as a road dog. Since I have no faith in the Reds’ offense, I’ll reluctantly lay the odds with the Dodgers and Kershaw.

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