Dodgers Will Leave Boston Singing the Blues After Game 2

Rainman M.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018 12:14 PM UTC

Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018 12:14 PM UTC

Boston hosts the Dodgers for Game 2 of the Fall Classic on Wednesday night. Los Angeles' bats will show very clearly that Boston’s Game 2 starter isn’t nearly as good as Game 1’s. 

World Series Game 2: Los Angeles Dodgers (0-1) at Boston (1-0)Wednesday, 8:09 p.m. ET (FOX)Free MLB Pick: Dodgers MLBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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Los Angeles left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu (7-3, 1.97 ERA) looks to bounce back from his last outing in Milwaukee. Because it was an elimination game, the crowd was exceptionally hostile. This hostility affected many Dodgers players in that game — not just Ryu, but Manny Machado, for instance. While the Dodgers had the opportunity to bounce back in Game 7, Wednesday presents an opportunity for Ryu. He has already demonstrated that he can do well against playoff teams, in the postseason, and on the road in postseason. In the regular season, he faced two playoff teams, Colorado and Oakland, and shut them out over a combined 13 innings, winning both games. His career postseason ERA is 3.56 despite his debacle in Milwaukee. He had also performed well on the road before; in his last postseason experience before this year, he threw six strong innings in St. Louis. The Dodgers are 7-2, yielding +4.5 units, when he faces off with a southpaw.

Ryu relies primarily on his fastball, although he throws it with only 33 percent frequency. It lacks velocity, but it can still supersede the reaction skills of the batter because of its deception. He allows his fastball and cutter to share very similar vertical and horizontal release points so that the batter struggles to discern which pitch approaches him. Opponents are batting .207 and slugging .328 against it. But, his most effective pitch is actually the change-up. Its change of pace is relatively strong in that it averages 10 mph fewer than his fastball whereas most change-ups differ between seven and eight mph in velocity. Also, it’s more elusive with stronger glove-side motion and a sharper drop. Plus, he locates it better, throwing it with 66 percent frequency in the furthest lowest-right five spots in the zone.

The Red Sox are less successful against southpaws than against right-handed pitchers. They yielded +3.4 units against the former compared to +35.4 against the latter. They were much more familiar with the southpaws whom they faced until now — New York’s J.A. Happ, who they crushed, and Houston’s Dallas Keuchel, who they struggled against. Boston has mustered only 16 career at-bats against Ryu. Ryu’s stuff is fairly unique particularly in the negative vertical and horizontal movement of his curveball, which generates the highest rate of whiffs per swing of all his pitches. Seeing Ryu for the first time will be tough for Boston, though, above all because of Ryu’s effectivity.

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Boston’s David Price (16-7, 3.58 ERA) is coming off a rare strong postseason outing. He has a solid 85.2 innings of postseason experience, but has repeatedly shown that his quality of performance diminishes in October. His career postseason ERA is 5.04. He had allowed combined seven runs in 6.1 innings before his last start. He has had a couple good outings before, but never followed it up with another good start. That one good start came on the road. Price, however, has struggled in his last three home starts dating to the regular season, in which he’s allowed combined five home runs.

Machado is very familiar with Price because he played for a different AL East team. Likewise, Brian Dozier is familiar with Price from Dozier’s days in the AL. In 41 at-bats, Machado is slugging .683 in his career against Price. In 39 at-bats, Dozier is slugging .487 against him. Perhaps they can lend their teammates some tips on hitting Price. But they are already a much better bet in terms of units yielded against lefties than righties.

For these reasons, the Dodgers ML looks appealing on the MLB odds board and makes for a strong MLB pick.

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