We had to wait a little while to get this pick out as I wanted to know who the Padres were going to start in this one and it turns out it’s Zach Davies toeing the rubber for the Friars in tonight’s Game 2.
The Dodgers carry a 1-0 series lead into this one as they turned on their offense late after being no-hit through five winnings while drawing a plethora of walks in the process.
With that in mind, let’s see what we have in store at its the Padres vs. Dodgers again tonight from Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
Padres vs. Dodgers Betting Odds
- Padres (+192)
- Dodgers (-210)
- Padres +1.5 (-120)
- Dodgers -1.5 (+100)
- Over 8.5 (-117)
- Under 8.5 (-103)
Padres vs. Dodgers NLDS Game 2 Breakdown
As noted, it’s Zach Davies who gets the nod in Game 2 and is tasked with shutting down a powerful Dodgers offense, but he’ll have to be a whole lot better than he was his last time out.
In his Game 2 Wild Card round start versus the Cardinals, Davies lasted just two innings while allowing four earned runs in five shits – including a homer – and a walk.
To some, if was an off-night for a pitcher that’s generally had a good year, but Davies has been out-pitching his peripherals for quite some time.
Last season, Davies worked to a 3.55 ERA as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers, but also a 4.56 FIP, 5.20 xFIP and a 5.43 SIERA. This season, he’s posted another excellent ERA at 2.73, but also a 3.88 FIP, 4.14 xFIP and 4.32 SIERA. His peripherals aren’t as poor this season, but they are well above his surface ERA nonetheless.
He didn’t allow hard contact much at all with a 28.9% hard hit rate on the season, but he also saw his fly-ball rate to rise to 37% and his soft-contact induced was at a career-low of 13.9%.
Davies actually did a nice job against these Dodgers this season, posting a 3.46 ERA across two starts spanning 13 innings, but also now owns a 5.09 ERA over his last five starts including that Wild Card effort.
In his career against the Dodgers, Davies has worked to a stout 2.37 ERA across eight starts and 49.1 innings and threw a clean innings against them in the 2018 NLCS.
If the Padres are going to avoid getting their back against the wall in this NLDS matchup they’ll have to defeat Clayton Kershaw, a future Hall of Fame pitcher coming off a fantastic outing against the Brewers in the Wild Card round.
Kershaw hurled eight shutout innings in that one, allowing just three hits, one walk and striking out 13 while pitching his club into this NLDS series with the Padres.
There’s no doubt postseason demons have gotten the best of Kershaw in the past. He owns a career 4.22 ERA/3.71 FIP in the postseason, numbers that are far above his 2.43 ERA/2.75 FIP in his regular-season work.
He returned to near vintage form in 2020, posting a 2.16 ERA/3.31 FIP with a 9.57 K/9 that sits right below his 9.74 career mark. He also displayed elite command in the form of a 1.23 BB/9 while Kershaw’s K/BB ratio of 7.75 ranked fifth in all of baseball and second in the National League behind only Kyle Hendricks and his 8.00 mark.
In his career against the Padres, Kershaw has posted an eye-popping 2.03 ERA in a whopping 40 starts and 261 innings against his division rival, although we can probably all agree that the Padres 2020 offense is far superior to the Padres offenses Kershaw has faced throughout his career.
Right from the get go, the Padres were one of the most electric offenses in baseball as they raked their way to a second place finish in the NL West behind these Dodgers.
While they were one of the best offenses in baseball versus right-handed pitching this season, the Padres slid towards the middle of the pack versus lefties on the whole.
Against left-handed pitching this season, the Padres tied the Toronto Blue Jays for 11th with a .327 wOBA – a number 20 points below their .347 mark against righties which approach the top-five in the league.
They moved up to ninth with a .187 ISO off lefties and their 37.6% hard-hit rate off lefties was the third-best mark in the league.
There aren’t too many Dodgers that have has success against Kershaw outside of Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer. Machado has a pair of homers in 18 at-bats against Kershaw and Hosmer has hit .333 with a homer and two doubles off the lefty, but current Padres hitters have combined to hit just .228 with a .624 OPS and .274 wOBA in their career against Kershaw.
Of course, when we talk about the Dodgers’ offense we are talking about one of the best offenses in baseball.
The Dodgers finished the regular season ranked second with a .355 wOBA on the season against right-handed pitching, but they also ranked first with a monster .240 ISO off righties.
Not only were the Dodgers a top-two offense versus righties and by far the most powerful offense against righties, they did so while posting the second-best offense against right-handers with a 20.2% K-rate against them.
The Dodgers were actually being no-hit for much of last night’s game – through five innings – before getting some offense going late in that one and ending up with a 5-1 win.
This is an offense that hasn’t quite found its groove after they scored just seven runs in their two-game Wild Card sweep of the Brewers before adding another five last night for an average of just four runs per game in three postseason contests so far, well under their 5.8 runs per game from the regular season as they paced baseball with 349 runs scored this season.
The Padres have received some serious work from their bullpen this season. Through four postseason games so far, the Padres have yet to get more than 2.1 innings out of a starting pitcher while they have combined to throw 28.1 innings in the span including 17 innings over their last two games.
There was a three-day break between their Wild Card-clinching win on Friday and last night’s NLDS opener, but this is nonetheless a bullpen that has been taxed so far in these playoffs, although they’ve pitched quite well after a tough outing in Game 1 against the Cardinals.
It’s a Padres bullpen that tied for 13th with a 4.38 ERA during the regular season, although their peripherals were real good in the form of a 10th-ranked 4.08 FIP and fifth-ranked 4.15 xFIP. They racked up strikeouts at a real nice 10.03 K/9 clip and displayed quality command with a 3.53 BB/9 while their resulting 2.84 K/BB ratio ranked seventh league wide.
They have a real nice lefty/righty combination at the back end in Drew Pomeranz and Trevor Rosenthal, but lately the Padres have utilized their entire bullpen in getting the ball to that duo late in ball games.
It’s a bullpen that allowed five runs in eight innings last night, a testament to how difficult it is to get this Dodgers team out while there could certainly be some tired arms in that ‘pen after not pitching a ton – or this often – throughout the truncated 2020 regular season.
The Dodgers’ bullpen pitched a shutout last night in their six innings of work, continuing a theme from their Wild Card performance against the Brewers.
In fact, the Dodgers’ bullpen has been perfect in not allowing a run in their 13 innings of work in these playoffs after seven clean innings in their two-game sweep of Milwaukee.
It’s not all that surprising, however.
The Dodgers ranked second with a a 2.74 ERA and 3.45 FIP in the regular season while their 3.88 xFIP was the best mark in baseball.
Of the nine full-time relievers on their NLDS roster, all of them posted an ERA of 3.86 or better while four of them notched an ERA of 2.66 or better while all throwing at least 19 innings this season.
As the Padres found out, it’s awfully difficult to play from behind against this bullpen, so it would be wise to hunt Kershaw if at all possible tonight.
Padres vs. Dodgers NLDS Game 2 Pick
One tidbit to Kershaw’s outing against the Brewers is that it came at home at Dodger Stadium. He’s generally pitched better at home both in the regular season and postseason, and while the Dodgers are the home team in this one, the game is being played at the Texas Rangers’ shiny new Globe Life Field.
Whether that hinders his performance remains to be seen, but if I were to bet on whether Kershaw puts his postseason woes behind him or not moving forward, I’m betting on him.
This is not only one of the best left-handed pitchers of all-time, but the very best of his generation. He’s yet to win a World Series ring, and he’s locked in on doing so to be sure.
When we add in a struggling Davies coming in off a terrible outing after scuffling down the stretch against an elite Dodgers offense, this one is tilted towards the Dodgers.
Add in a white-hot Dodgers bullpen and a tired Padres bullpen that regressed some last night and I feel comfortable enough with the Dodgers -1.5 on the run line tonight.