That’s probably the toughest beat I have taken in my sports betting career.
I took the under 7.5 in last night’s Game 3, and while it didn’t look good early as the Dodgers staked themselves to a 5-0 lead, the pick was right in line to hit with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and a 6-1 lead for the Dodgers. The only thing we couldn’t have happen was for Randy Arozarena to hit a meaningless home run off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen.
You know what happened next. Arozarena hit a frozen rope into the left field seats and just like that the total went over 7.5 in a 6-2 Dodgers win. It was the right pick all along as Walker Buehler dominated as expected while both bullpens did their thing as well. Charlie Morton could have been better, but the chances of us hitting that pick with one out to go were probably somewhere around 98-99%.
We’ll take that one on the chin and move onto tonight’s World Series Game 4 pick from Arlington.
Dodgers vs. Rays Betting Odds
- Dodgers (-164)
- Rays (+151)
- Dodgers -1.5 (-110)
- Rays +1.5 (-110)
- Over 8 (-115)
- Under 8 (-105)
Dodgers vs. Rays World Series Game 4 Breakdown
The Dodgers will send 24-year-old left-hander Julio Urias to the mound to start tonight’s Game 4 in what will mark his first career World Series start but also his fourth World Series appearance.
Urias pitched the Dodgers into the World Series with three perfect innings in Game 7 over the Braves after he hurled five innings of one-run ball with five strikeouts in the Dodgers’ Game 3 blowout win in that NLCS as well.
All told, Urias has pitched extremely well in these playoffs, allowing just one earned run – on a solo homer – across his four appearances and 16 innings, good for a cool 0.56 ERA in these playoffs while he’s worked to a 2.84 ERA across 31.2 career postseason frames to this point.
The fine postseason work comes on the heels of a productive regular season in which Urias worked to a 3.27 ERA/3.72 FIP. He allowed home runs at just a 0.82 HR/9 clip and owns a 0.68 mark for his career, but you wonder if he’s been fortunate in that department.
Urias posted a 6.9% HR/FB rate this season despite surrendering fly balls on a huge 45.6% of his contact allowed this season. He also allowed 38.5% hard contact – a figure well above his 32.7% career mark – but still was not bitten by the long ball. His 5.06 xFIP and 4.88 SIERA are both vastly above his 3.27 ERA on the season, so Urias would almost certainly have yielded fly balls at a higher rate moving forward in a normal regular season.
Furthermore, his 0.56 ERA this postseason comes alongside a .154 BABIP and 93% strand rate, both of which are wildly unsustainable.
You can’t argue with the results as Urias has been brilliant all season long, but the peripherals points to some serious regression, although it’s far from guaranteed it will take place tonight.
Both teams are rolling out left-handers for this start as the Rays send southpaw Ryan Yarbrough to the bump in search of evening the series.
Tonight marks his fourth appearance and second start of these playoffs, and the results have been fine so far. Although one outing came in a relief appearance, Yarbrough has twice pitched five innings of two-run ball in this postseason, one against the Yankees and one against the Astros. Add in his 0.2 innings of shutout ball in this World Series and Yarbrough owns a 3.38 ERA for these playoffs.
That said, the peripherals aren’t encouraging as he also owns a 6.85 FIP/6.26 xFIP while his K-rate of just 5.06 K/9 is subpar as well. He’s also stranded 100% of base runners in these playoffs while both of his runs allowed against the Astros came via the long ball.
It was a nice regular season for the lefty, however. Yarbrough posted a 3.56 ERA/3.80 FIP while posting an elite walk rate of just 1.94 BB/9 across 11 appearances (nine starts) and 55.2 innings. Yarbrough has been a reliable arm for the Rays between the rotation and bullpen since debuting in 2018 as he owns a career 3.94 ERA/3.87 FIP in 344.2 career regular-season frames.
He’ll look to lower his 47.2% fly-ball rate in these playoffs in tonight’s outing, but he posted a tiny 29.3% mark in the regular season while allowing only 25.1% hard contact as well, so his solid 0.81 HR/9 from the regular season makes sense.
The Dodgers showed why they were arguably the best offense in baseball against right-handed piching last night as they got to Morton early and often in that one.
Their .255 wOBA against righties ranked second and their .240 ISO first in the regular season, and they’ve teed off on both Tyler Glasnow and Morton in this series so far, two of the better right-handers in the American League.
That said, the left-handed Snell was able to keep the Dodgers’ offense in check in Game 2 and it makes sense as the Dodgers were noticeably worse versus left-handed pitching this season.
I mean, they weren’t bad by any means as they remained a top-10 offense versus lefties, but nonetheless the numbers were down across the board. They finished eighth with a .335 wOBA versus lefties and sixth with a .192 ISO against them. Again, still quality numbers but nonetheless far below their work against righties.
While his splits were quite likely to narrow if the season were longer, Mookie Betts turned in horrible numbers versus lefties this season, notching just one extra-base hit against them as part of his .018 ISO, .531 OPS, .248 wOBA and 56 wRC+ against them while pummelling right-handed pitching. Betts homered against left-hander Josh Fleming in this series, but he’s nevertheless scuffled big-time versus lefties despite wielding a hot bat at the moment. Betts is also just 2 for 13 (.154) in his career against Yarbrough dating back to his days with the Red Sox.
We’ll probably see a couple of players who hit lefties well in AJ Pollock and Enrique Hernandez re-enter the lineup tonight, but it’s no secret that the Dodgers fare far better versus righties, especially in the power department.
Contrary to the Dodgers, the Rays actually benefit from seeing a left-hander tonight.
They couldn’t do much off Clayton Kershaw in Game 1, but the Rays were significantly superior versus lefties in the regular season.
While they ranked in the middle of the pack against righties, the Rays ranked sixth with a .343 wOBA and fourth with a .217 ISO on the season against left-handed pitching.
Randy Arozarena, Brandon Lowe, Willy Adames, Hunter Renfroe and Yandy Diaz all raked lefties and all posted a wRC+ of 116 or better against them this season. We’ll see if Mike Brosseau will enter the lineup for the first time this series after he mashed lefties for a .405 ISO and 1.121 OPS in the regular season. If the Rays are looking for an offensive boost coming off a two-run effort last night, Brosseau should certainly be in the starting lineup while I could see Joey Wendle starting this one on the bench and Yandy Diaz shifting from first to third to maximize the opportunity against the southpaw.
While the Dodgers have the best overall offense, I would give the offensive advantage to the Rays in this one, at least as far as the starting pitching matchup goes.
I have a feeling we’ll see a good chunk of these bullpens tonight.
Urias went five innings in his NLCS start versus the Braves, and while he actually went at least six innings in five of his 11 appearances this season, I don’t anticipate he’ll get deep into this one.
I expect the Rays to generate some offense off of him, and as know the leashes are shorter than ever once October rolls around. If Urias gets into trouble I expect Dave Roberts to go right into his deep and effective bullpen. Roberts used his back-end trio of Blake Treinen, Brusdar Graterol and Kenley Jansen to hammer down last night’s win, but after an off day on Thursday it’s a rested bullpen with everyone available.
It’s a bullpen that’s been good in these playoffs and one of the best groups in baseball throughout the regular season.
The Dodgers ranked second with a 2.74 bullpen ERA this season and also second with a 3.45 FIP. It’s not a bullpen that racks up a ton of strikeouts as their 8.85 K/9 ranked near the bottom of the league, but it’s a bullpen that commands the ball better than any other in the form of a 2.57 BB/9 that was by far the best mark in the big leagues.
Expect this Dodgers ‘pen to be hard on the Rays again in tonight’s Game 4.
The Rays needed more of their bullpen last night after the Dodgers knocked Morton out after just 4.1 innings. That said, Kevin Cash didn’t go to his big guns while facing a signifiant deficit but rather turned to the likes of John Curtiss, Ryan Sheriff, Ryan Thompson and Shane McClanahan.
Therefore, his best relievers will now be available on at least two days rest as Jake McGee, Diego Castillo, Nick Anderson and Pete Fairbanks all haven’t pitched since at least Wednesday in Game 2.
Like the Dodgers, the Rays posted some of the best bullpen numbers in baseball. Their 3.37 ERA finished just one spot behind the Dodgers at third and their 3.65 FIP checked in at fourth. They also threw the third-most innings in the league and combined with the excellent results the Rays tied the Minnesota Twins for first with a 3.6 fWAR on the season.
In all likelihood, we’ll see Cash roll out his big arms in this one as the Rays should pull out all the stops in an effort to prevent a formidable 3-1 series deficit.
Dodgers vs. Rays World Series Game 4 Pick
Unlike Games 1 and 3, I think we have a close game in this one tonight. I see both starts going maybe 3-5 innings before the bullpens duke it out from there.
That said, I’m with the Rays in this one as they could very well even up this series tonight.
I’m a big fan of the matchup with Urias. While he’s been excellent in these playoffs, the numbers tell me there is regression on the horizon, and the Rays punish southpaw pitching to begin with. While it’s not a guarantee, I do expect the regression train to make a stop at Globe Life Field in Arlington tonight.
Yarbrough will still have his hands full in this one, but his leash will also be short before Cash deploys that lights-out bullpen.
With the expectation that the Rays get to Urias and Yarbrough out-pitches his counterpart, I like the Rays tonight. That said, I’m going to buy a run and a half and take Tampa Bay at +1.5 on the run like this evening.