Athletics Lineup Won't Slow Down Kershaw: Pick Dodgers -1.5

Mark Lathrop

Tuesday, August 18, 2015 11:40 AM GMT

In this article, our MLB Handicapper explains why Oakland doesn't stand a chance against the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw tonight as he makes his Tuesday MLB Pick.

The Oakland Athletics have a quick turnaround after getting swept in Baltimore, and waiting for them at home is no other than Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers had a nice finish to their home stand before taking to the road to face the AL West by sweeping the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend. At 51-69, the Athletics’ season is all but over and their motivation will be that of spoiler to the 67-51 Dodgers. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more Dodger fans than Oakland fans at O.Co. Coliseum tonight; well, if it was safe for a Dodger fan to be identified in Oakland that is. With Kershaw on the mound the Dodgers opened up as heavy favorites, posted at -200 on the money line at 5Dimes. That makes the Oakland Athletics available as underdogs on the run line at +105 at the same site. The O/U total is listed at 6.5 at multiple sites as most folks think that Clayton Kershaw won’t give up another run again this season.  

Serving as cannon fodder for the A’s is journeyman, Felix Doubront, who came over at the trade deadline from Toronto this year. Felix may have some good vibes coming into this game, as after all, he won his first MLB start against the Dodgers in June 2010. That’s about where the good things to say about Doubront end, as he has posted a 4.76 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, and .340 BAA this year. He pitched 6.1 innings in his last effort in long relief though, so there is an outside chance he can save the bullpen from getting too much work. It’s unfortunate that the A’s have lost Sonny Gray to injury since he was one of the bright spots going for them this year.

Although Kershaw has been absolutely dominant since May, he hasn’t faced Oakland since June 2012. Which is good for the Athletics because he owns a 0.66 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, and .159 BAA against them. I’m running out of superlatives to describe Kershaw’s stats, but they speak for themselves. He is currently posting a 2.39 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 205/30 K/BB rate, and .202 BAA. Kershaw is still on track to post a career high in strikeouts and he added eight more to his tally in his last start as he pitched 8 innings of shutout ball against the Washington Nationals (You could say he broke the Nats with that performance). New Oakland 3B, Danny Valencia, is the only player on the Athletics roster with more than one career hit off of Kershaw. Valencia is 2 for 3.

 

The MLB Pick:
This could get relatively ugly as many of the Oakland Athletics are seeing Kershaw’s stuff for the first time. But that thought goes both ways, as Kershaw doesn’t have the book out on the Oakland hitters either. But when you factor in that one of these teams is vying for playoff contention, and the other playing out their required schedule, I’ll give the first strike advantage here to Kershaw. Although I expect Kershaw to perform well, I am staying away from the O/U total of 6.5 as we don’t know how Doubront will do against this Dodger lineup with the addition of a DH. Again, it could get ugly. I’m also going to go against my typical suggestion of taking a home team getting +1.5 on the run line here. The Dodgers and Kershaw should roll in Oakland tonight, so take them as your Tuesday MLB pick.

MLB Pick: Dodgers -1.5 (-130) at 5Dimes