Advanced Stats Support MLB Picks 'Over' for Dodgers vs. Rockies Despite Kershaw Pitching

Mark Lathrop

Monday, June 1, 2015 2:51 PM GMT

With the weather unseasonably warm in Denver tonight, place your MLB picks knowing that the ball will fly even further than normal. We scrutinize Clayton Kershaw's season before betting.

The Colorado Rockies return to Coors Field on Monday night after feasting on the hapless Philadelphia Phillies over the weekend. The Rockies swept that four game series on their way to winning seven of their last eight games. Waiting to greet them are the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have already taken 7 games from the Rockies this season and are 7-2 against them in the season series. With Clayton Kershaw taking the mound for the Dodgers, the money line opened at a chalky -210 to back the former Cy Young winner. Even with Kershaw on the mound the O/U total opened at 9 though as we are still at Coors Field after all. Another reason for the relatively high total is the weather, with unseasonably high temperatures in the area and the thermometer reaching into the upper 80’s to low 90’s F in Denver the next few days.

Clayton Kershaw has an interesting start to his season, with several of the advanced statistic ‘luck’ factors going against him. One of those statistics is BABIP. Sometimes pictures speak volumes so I’ll just put this right here:

The BABIP statistic typically one of the most stable MLB bettors use as it indicates that the lucky bounces should start going Kershaw’s way in the very near future. Another statistic that is luck driven is the left-on-base percentage, or LOB%. For instance, a pitcher can give up 4 hits in a game, one in each inning, and have zero earned runs scored against him. That same pitcher can give up another 4 hits in another game, all in one inning, and have 4 earned runs scored against him. A pitcher can control how many hits he gives up, but not the series in which they occur.

When looking at Kershaw’s LOB% - well, just take a look:

Graphics Courtesy Fangraphs.com

Now I don’t know if there is talent involved to ‘keep out of the big inning’, but it appears that Kershaw has lost it over the first few months of the season.

Rockies starter Kyle Kendrick has faced the Dodgers twice this season and lost both times. Both starts were in Dodger stadium, with the last game being a 1-0 Dodger shutout. Somehow Kendrick pitched around five walks in that game and only gave up 1 run.  Of importance in this game, especially with the weather, is Kendrick’s tendency to give up the long ball. In half of his starts this season opposing batters have hit multiple dingers. That just won’t fly tonight in Denver… wait, I guess it will fly, fly away above the MLB odds if he keeps that trend up.

 

MLB Betting Verdict
With the weather an absolute nightmare for pitchers in Denver (there will be a breeze too), I think placing MLB picks over the 9 runs total is the play here even with Clayton Kershaw on the mound. Kershaw has faced the Rockies three times this season, and in each game there were 10 or more runs scored. The Dodger bats have struggled a bit over the last few weeks and this should be an opportunity for them to get healthy against a pitcher trying to get his ERA under 6. The Rockies have also scored 39 runs in their past five games at Coors Field. 

The MLB Pick: Over 9 +105 at Pinnacle