It wasn’t easy, but the Dodgers edged the Padres by a 6-5 count last night despite leading 6-3 entering the ninth inning.
While Kenley Jansen’s ninth-inning struggles cost me my pick of the Dodgers -1.5 at +100, the Dodgers are nonetheless in the driver’s seat here up 2-0 looking to put the division rival Padres away tonight.
After plenty of fireworks in last night’s contest, it should be a dandy tonight as its the Dodgers vs. Padres in Game 3 from Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas!
Dodgers vs. Padres Betting Odds
- Dodgers (-161)
- Padres (+148)
- Dodgers -1.5 (-105)
- Padres +1.5 (-115)
- Over 9 (+100)
- Under 9 (-120)
Dodgers vs. Padres NLDS Game 3 Breakdown
It took a while, but the Dodgers announced rookie right-hander Dustin May as the starting pitcher for this one looking for him to pitch them into the ALCS in a hurry.
It will mark May’s second outing of this series as he pitched two shutout innings in Game 1 of the series and struck out three of the six batters he faced.
The excellent postseason work comes on the heels of a fantastic rookie campaign that included a 2.57 ERA across his 10 starts, 12 appearances and 56 innings pitched.
That said, while the ERA is nice, he also posted a 4.62 FIP, 3.98 xFIP and a 4.29 SIERA. While not totally poor, those peripheral numbers indicate May could be in for some regression moving forward.
He benefited from a low .234 BABIP against and also stranded 89.1% of his baserunners this season, both of which are unsustainable figures.
That said, he allowed just 28.8% hard contact and generated ground-balls at a 54.7% rate in the regular season, quite the recipe for success.
Prior to his two scoreless frames in this series, May posted a 2.63 ERA in three starts spanning 17.1 innings against the Padres this season.
The Padres’ starting pitching situation has been all over the place in these playoffs – especially this series – and manager Jayce Tingler will go to left-hander Adrian Morejon in what will be his first career postseason start although he threw three scoreless innings across two relief appearances against the Cardinals in the Wild Card round.
Morejon made four starts and nine appearances spanning 19.1 innings for the Padres this season, working to a 4.66 ERA/5.93 FIP but also a 3.02 xFIP given the fact he allowed home runs on a whopping 38.9% of fly-balls allowed and posted a 3.26 HR/9 as a result.
Tingler mentioned Morejon could go as many as five innings if all goes well in that one, although he went as deep as just three innings as a starter this season – his first outing of the season in this very ball park no less.
As a starter, Morejon posted a 4.82 ERA/5.01 FIP with a 2.90 xFIP, but allowed just a .216 average, .742 OPS and .310 wOBA in the process.
The stuff was good, however, as Morejon posted a big-time 11.64 K/9 on the season against just 1.86 BB/9, good for a stout 6.25 K/BB ratio.
Morejon made one appearance against the Dodgers this season, allowing one earned run – on a solo homer – in two innings of work with zero walks against three punchouts.
The Dodgers haven’t exactly exploded on offense through two games, although they have still managed 11 runs between the two games. Just when it may seem like they’re more or less being held in check, they can still hang five or six runs on you.
While the offense ranked second in the regular season against right-handed pitching, the offense slipped a bit versus lefties but remained a top-10 group nonetheless.
The Dodgers finished the regular season ranked eighth with a .335 wOBA but their .192 ISO versus lefties – although a strong number itself – is well below their .240 mark against lefties.
In layman’s terms, I would suggest the Dodgers’ offense goes from flat-out elite versus righties to well above-average versus lefties.
While Mookie Betts put up an MVP-type season in his first year with the Dodgers, it’s mind-boggling to see him struggle to the tune of a .200 average, .018 ISO, .531 OPS, .248 wOBA and 56 wRC+ versus lefties. He recorded just one extra-base hit – a double – against left-handers in 55 at-bats against them, although he did steal seven bags off a lefty as well.
I think we can now begin to understand the decision to go with the southpaw Morejon in this one.
The Padres ended up getting to Clayton Kershaw for three runs in his six innings last night as both Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer hit solo homers towards the end of his outing.
That said, this offense is superior versus right-handed pitching.
The Padres ranked fifth with a .347 wOBA against right-handed pitching this season and third behind only these Dodgers and the Braves with a .219 ISO off righties as well.
It’s a Padres offense that couldn’t get much going against the right-handed Buehler in Game 1 and they’ll face another hard-throwing righty in May in Game 2.
The Padres actually bring the best power/speed combination to the table against righties as they also led all of baseball with 55 stolen bases on the season.
It’s an offense that refused to go quietly last night and I would be shocked if that wasn’t the case again tonight.
As I’ve noted in my series preview and my pick from Game 2, this Padres bullpen has been used a ton in these playoffs.
They received just 4.1 innings from starting pitching in their three-game Wild Card round versus the Cardinals and pitched seven innings in Game 1 of his NLDS followed by three more last night.
The bullpen got a three-game break from the Wild Card round to the beginning of this NLDS on Tuesday, however these relievers just aren’t used to being used this often in 2020 as teams were largely careful with overtaxing their bullpen after such a short summer camp.
The Padres bullpen was a little better than league average this season as they tied for 13th with a 4.38 ERA, but also put forth nice peripherals in the form of a 10th-ranked 4.08 FIP and fifth-ranked 4.15 xFIP.
It’s a group that’s done admirable work this season and their memorable Game 3 effort against the Cardinals got them into this matchup, but this is an overworked bullpen at this point.
The Dodgers were one of the very best bullpens in baseball this season, but they made it difficult last night.
Not only did Jansen allow two runs in the ninth, but there would have been two more off flame-thrower Brusdar Graterol had Cody Bellinger not robbed Fernando Tatis Jr. of a home run over the center field wall.
It’s a deep group that had nine relievers post an ERA of 3.86 or better in the regular season, but manager Dave Roberts isn’t committing to Jansen as his closer at this point, and for good reason. For what it’s worth, of those nine relievers, Jansen’s 3.33 ERA in the regular season ranked eighth.
The two runs allowed by Jansen last night were actually the first runs the Dodgers’ bullpen has surrendered in these playoffs after they went four games and 11 innings without allowing a run prior to that.
Padres vs. Dodgers NLDS Game 3 Pick
To me, this one is tough. You have to like May’s regular-season work, but the numbers point towards some notable regression. Additionally, the Padres led all of baseball with those 55 steals this season and May allowed five steals in his 56 innings this season, an elevated number to be sure. They will rest him if they get on base.
You also look at the Dodgers’ offense and some of their best bats just hasn’t hit lefties well this season. If Morejon can get deep into this one, he’ll give his team a chance to stay alive.
The Padres’ offense is also notably superior versus right-handed pitching and their numbers versus righties are also superior the Dodgers’ against lefties.
The Padres’ bullpen is concerning and is the second-best bullpen in this series, but the Dodgers had some bullpen issues themselves last night.
I took the Dodgers to sweep the series when I assumed they would see three right-handed starters, but I think Morejon actually has the ability to quite this offense down and give his team a chance to get something going at the plate in the meantime.
I’ll take the Padres in this one, but I’ll buy a run and a half on the run line.