Trust Kershaw to Lead Dodgers Past Brewers for NLCS Game 1 Pick

Rainman M.

Thursday, October 11, 2018 12:21 PM UTC

Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018 12:21 PM UTC

Milwaukee hosts the powerhouse Dodgers on Friday at 8:09 ET on FS1. The Dodgers have made it back to the NLCS, but there’s still work to do before their mission is complete. 

NLCS Game 1: LA Dodgers at MilwaukeeFriday, 8:09 p.m. ET (Fox Sports 1)Free MLB Pick: Dodgers MLBest Line Offered: BetOnline

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3647652, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,238,19,93,180], "LineTypeId":2, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

L.A.’s Clayton Kershaw (9-5, 2.73 ERA) has somewhat of a reputation for being stronger in the regular season than in the postseason. He responded to doubters in his last start against Atlanta with one of his best postseason performances ever. He yielded two hits and zero runs, enduring eight innings with only 85 pitches. He was extremely efficient and now he’s very fresh. He’ll pitch with six days’ rest, in which scenario he’s even more unstoppable, yielding a career 1.78 ERA.

Kershaw relies on a fastball-slider combo. Both pitches compose 83 percent of his arsenal. His slider is his most effective pitch. He throws it with over 22 percent frequency in all scenarios. In the regular season, opponents batted .181 against it and slugged .287. His slider is hard—almost as hard as his fastball. Its movement is very unusual with strong vertical movement and decent glove-side movement. Besides its intense movement, its consistent location makes it by far his favorite ground ball-inducing pitch. He places it with 35 percent frequency in the three lowest-left spots in the zone. His fastball is the only other pitch that he relies on so frequently. Like his slider, he uses it often in all scenarios, but preferably earlier in the count. His fastball and slider combo creates deception because both pitches share similar horizontal and vertical release points, so that the batter struggles to discern which pitch is leaving his hand. His fastball’s key feature is its immense spin rate, which makes it hard for the batter to track its movement. Spin gives his fastball the appearance of rising action, so that batters tend to swing underneath it. The Braves hit .111 against his fastball. In two starts against Milwaukee, the Brewers went 4-for-22 (.182) against it.

Milwaukee got to see Kershaw twice in a very short time frame. Nonetheless, they only managed three earned runs in 12 innings. Only a sparse number of Brewers have decent career numbers against Kershaw. Lorenzo Cain, who was Milwaukee’s second best hitter in terms of BA, is 3-for-14 against him. Travis Shaw, Erik Kratz, and Jesus Aguilar are combined 1-for-19 against him.

[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "

The #Dodgers have been one of the best offenses in the 7th inning and beyond. Now they face one of baseball's best bullpens in the #NLCS.

— Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) 11 de outubro de 2018

Behind Kershaw L.A. has a strong bullpen which yielded a 2.88 ERA in September. When Milwaukee lost two of three to the Dodgers, they managed a few runs against L.A.’s bullpen, nearly all of which came when they were down 6-0 and the game was effectively decided. L.A.’s bullpen hasn’t yielded a run in the postseason so far. Key players like Pedro Baez, Caleb Ferguson, Ryan Madson, and closer Kenley Jansen have combined 7.1 shutout innings. Ferguson has allowed only one hit and zero runs in four innings against Milwaukee.

Dodgers hitters produced 19 runs against Milwaukee pitching in three games in Milwaukee. In three of four games against Atlanta, their lineup produced at least five runs—which is a solid run total given how strong their pitching is. Above all, Justin Turner is hot, batting .357 and slugging .429. He didn’t contribute much to his team’s regular season success in Milwaukee due to injury. But in the past three years, he’s hit .373 and slugged .647 against Milwaukee pitching. It won’t take much hitting to secure the win, but also watch for Yasiel Puig, who is 3-for-9 so far in the postseason and is batting .400 and slugging .867 against Milwaukee pitching.

The Brewers will likely start Jhoulys Chacin (15-8, 3.50 ERA). The Dodgers are very familiar with him because he used to pitch for the Padres, who are in the same division as the Dodgers. In 2016, his ERA against L.A. was 8.31 in one start. In 2017, it was „only“ 4.56. In 2018, it’s 16.62. Watch for Cody Bellinger, who is 5-for-12 (.417) with a triple and two homers against Chacin (1.083 slugging).

Update: In a surprise move, it's lefty Gio Gonzalez for Game 1. He didn't pitch at all in the NLDS and had a 4.21 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in 171 regular-season innings between the Nationals and Brewers.

The Dodgers couldn’t be more formidable with Kershaw on the mound. So if the price on the MLB odds board is too chalky, simply take them on the run-line for your MLB Pick.

comment here