My first official pick of the MLB season was a winner, although we needed to sweat it, of course.
We had the Brewers to grab a win on the run line (-1.5) and it looked fairly good early on the team scored a pair of second-inning runs. It wasn’t a safe bet from there on out, however.
The score remained 2-0 all the way into the eighth, but that’s when the Orioles tied the game at two, putting our pick in serious jeopardy. However, the Brewers bounced right back and scored a pair ninth-inning runs before Josh Hader slammed the door in the ninth to earn his third game of the season already.
We’ll chalk up the win and move onto a Reds vs. Dodgers MLB Pick from Dodger Stadium!
Reds vs. Dodgers Betting Odds
*Odds courtesy of BetOnline
Over 8.5 (-112)
Under 8.5 (-108)
Starting Pitching Matchup
Reds – Luis Cessa (R): 2 G, 0-0, 0.00 ERA/4.48 FIP
Don’t be fooled by the starter going for the Reds tonight as this will amount to a bullpen game for the road side as Cessa is very much an opener for the first of four between these two clubs from Los Angeles.
Cessa has made a pair of relief appearances for the Reds this season, pitching 2.2 innings of shutout ball in that time. Both outings came in the club’s season-opening series with the Braves last week as he struck out only one and walked a pair in that span as well.
This is the first time Cessa has started a game since the 2018 season when he started five for the Yankees. The right-hander posted a strong 2.51 ERA/3.39 FIP across 53 appearances and 64.2 innings between the Yankees and Reds.
Otherwise, we’ll have to see how Reds skipper David Bell deploys the remainder of this bullpen after Cessa logs an innings or two to get things started.
Dodgers – Walker Buehler (R): 1 GS, 1-0, 3.60 ERA/2.18 FIP
There’s no doubt about what is in store on the bump tonight for the Dodgers as ace Walker Buehler makes his second start of the season in this one tonight.
Buehler’s first start was a solid one as he turned in a five innings of two-run ball with five strikeouts and a pair of walks in that one. The fact that he yielded just a pair of runs at Coors Field in Colorado makes that start a successful one in the game’s hitter-friendliest venue.
An annual Cy Young threat, Buehler is coming off a 2.47 ERA/3.16 FIP from the 2021 campaign, finishing fourth in NL Cy Young voting in the process. He generated punchouts at a solid 9.19 K/9 clip but impressed more with his control as part of a 2.25 BB/9 that was right in line with his 2.29 career clip.
Buehler was particularly dominant at Dodger Stadium a season ago, turning in a 2.05 ERA at home versus a 3.08 mark on the road. Buehler kept homers in check at 0.95 HR/9 at home despite Dodger Stadium’s propensity of giving up homers with the best of em’.
Seven shutty one-hit innings with seven punchouts. Walker Buehler was nasty tonight. pic.twitter.com/TlFVSVQUpp
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) May 18, 2021
A career 2.30 ERA pitcher at Dodger Stadium, Buehler owns a 3.23 ERA across five starts and 30.2 innings in his career against the Reds, but has gone just 1-3 in that time.
The Reds underwent a major overhaul this offseason, unloading plenty of talent both at the plate and on the mound.
Speaking for the offense, slugger Nicholas Castellanos opted out of his contract in favor of free agency, eventually signing with the Phillies. The club then traded Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez to the Mariners, erasing their two best bets from a season ago in Castellanos and Winker.
Thus, an offense that actually tied these Dodgers for sixth with that .329 wOBA is now much thinner and off to a poor start, unlike last season when they exploded out of the gate.
The Reds enter this one ranked 28th with a .265 wOBA on the young season, hitting for very little power with a .120 ISO that sits 23rd in baseball. Some key bats such as Joey Votto, Jonathan India, Tommy Pham, Nick Senzel and Mike Moustakas are all off to sluggish starts at the dish.
The club’s run production is actually quite strong with 27 runs on the season which sits in a tie for ninth in baseball with the team scoring at least five runs in four of their six games so far. That said, something has to give as they’re also hitting just .198 as a team, good for 27th in the league.
Certainly one of the most feared lineups in baseball, the Dodgers have been solid if unspectacular at the dish in the early going.
The club enters this one ranked 13th with a .318 wOBA on the season, but many of the team’s key bats have yet to get going. Mookie Betts and Trea Turner are a couple of players that have yet to get going but we’re talking about a five-game sample size at this point.
The club’s offense was more or less on point with expectations last season, but didn’t reach the highest tier league wide. They tied for sixth overall with a .329 wOBA and fared better at home where they raked for a .339 wOBA at home which sat alone in sixth spot.
We don’t know how the pitching matchups will sort out as this one moves along, but we’ll note that the Dodgers once again ranked sixth with a .328 wOBA off right-handed pitching and — you guessed it — sixth at home versus right-handed pitching.
Perhaps the offense is feeling it a bit entering this one. After averaging 3.67 runs per game in scoring 11 times across their first three games, the club hung seven on the Twins in both of their two-game set in Minnesota concluding yesterday.
It was a tough for the Reds’ bullpen last season.
The club finished last season ranked 27th with a 4.99 ERA on the season while home runs were a major problem by way of a 1.45 HR/9 that tied for the second-worst home run rate in baseball.
The club most notably traded former closer Amir Garrett to the Royals after a poor 2021 showing and current closer Lucas Sims is on the 10-day IL at the moment with an elbow injury.
There are some quality arms in that group this season and they’ve been decent so far in turning in a 3.95 ERA, good for a share of 19th league wide. A 3.95 figure is normally well into the top-half of the league, but slips down the rankings this time of the season with a general lack of offense in large part due to cold weather in many parks across the league.
It’s difficult to know where this group will go this season but if they’re to have any hope of a successful season they’ll need far more from their bullpen.
The Dodgers figure to sport a quality bullpen once again if only because they almost always do.
They lost long-time closer Kenley Jansen to the Braves on the open market, but went out and traded for future Hall of Famer Craig Kimbrel from the White Sox to team up with the likes of Blake Treinen and Brusdar Graterol in getting the key late-game outs for the club this season.
The Dodgers finished last season ranked second with a 3.16 ERA on the season and third with just 0.89 HR/9 allowed despite the homer-friendly confines of Dodger Stadium.
This season, the ‘pen is off to a nice start with a 2.91 ERA that sits 11th in baseball at the moment. They’re once again suppressing the long ball with a 0.83 HR/9 while excelling in the control department with a 2.49 BB/9 to boot.
Expect this group to be among the game’s best again this time around.
Reds are 5-0 ATS in their last five on the road
Reds are 4-10 in their last 14 on the road
Over is 6-1-2 in the Reds’ last nine overall
Over is 5-1-2 in the Reds’ last eight vs. a right-handed starter
Dodgers are 19-2 in their last 21 home games
Dodgers are 110-46 in their last 156 vs. a team with a losing record
Over is 9-2 in the Dodgers’ last 11 home games
Over is 3-0-1 in the Dodgers’ last four vs. a team with a losing record
Head to Head
Dodgers are 9-4 in the last 13 meetings
Dodgers are 35-17 in the last 52 meetings in Los Angeles
Over is 5-2 in the last seven meetings
When I successfully took the Brewers to win on the run line last night, it was on the back of Corbin Burnes and a very good Brewers bullpen dominating an inferior offense. I’m going with that same mindset in this one, only with the backing of what should be one of baseball’s very best offenses.
Walker Buehler is clearly a top-tier pitcher in this league and a top-four pitcher in the National League last season as per the Cy Young voting. He’s dominant at home and has been since day one.
The bullpen is going to be very good and it’s a well-rested group after Clayton Kershaw threw seven perfect innings in yesterday’s win in Minnesota.
At the same time, expect this Dodgers offense to provide the pitching staff more than enough run support. Their 5.5 projected runs scored is the highest mark on the evening schedule for a game not being played at Coors Field. The Reds own a 3.3 run projection.
We’re in good hands across the board for another run line victory tonight.
Brenton is a lifelong sports fan who specializes in hockey and baseball as his main focus at GamlingSites.org. Brenton’s biggest goal is to deliver readers with the picks and advice that can build their bankroll. He takes great pride in his success and loves nothing more than to share that success for the benefit of everyone involved. …
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