MLB picks: Dodgers vs. Astos, Padres vs. Giants
An intriguing two-game series gets underway at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night, when the Dodgers visit the Astros. It’s a rematch of the 2017 World Series won by Houston, a victory largely believed to be tainted by the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal.
In addition to that primetime affair, we’ll also handicap the Padres/Giants series opener.
Los Angeles Dodgers (2-2) at Houston Astros (3-1)
Wed, July 29 2020, 1:10 AM
HOU Astros[F. Valdez]
LA Dodgers[W. Buehler]
Walker Buehler will make his 2020 debut off a sensational sophomore season, in which he went 14-4 with a 3.26 ERA and received his first All-Star Game nomination.
Buehler’s opposite number will be Framber Valdez, who went 4-7 with a 5.86 ERA in 2019, yet the Dodgers’ moneyline odds hang suspiciously high.
We’ll head to the totals market for a play in this one.
The Astros’ lineup is solid, but Buehler posted an 11-1 record, with a 2.96 ERA and .212 opponent batting average, across 22 nighttime starts last season.
Valdez had decent home splits last year. He went 3-1 with a 4.54 ERA and .231 opponent batting average. He’s never faced L.A. before, and Mookie Betts is the only Dodger to ever step into the batter’s box against him (0-for-1).
Let’s take the bullpens out of the equation and utilize the wiggle room offered by oddsmakers in the first five innings total line.
MLB free play: Under 5.5 runs, first five innings (-120)
San Diego Padres (3-1) at San Francisco Giants (2-2)
Wed, July 29 2020, 1:45 AM
SF Giants[J. Samardzija]
SD Padres[Z. Davies]
Zach Davies should make his Padres debut a winning one when he faces Jeff Samardzija and the Giants on Tuesday night at Oracle Park.
Davies is 0-2 in four starts against San Francisco, but with a 2.05 ERA. The former Brewer was a better pitcher on the road than at home in 2019. He produced a 2.94 ERA over 16 starts outside Miller Park, compared to his 4.26 ERA in 15 starts on Milwaukee’s home field. Davies served up seven home runs over 85 2/3 innings on the road, compared to 13 over 74 innings at home in 2019.
Samardzija could have his work cut out for him against a patient Padres lineup that leads the majors in walks (23) and is tied for second in OBP (.383). Several of these San Diego batsmen have had success against “Shark." Corner infielders Eric Hosmer and Manny Machado are a combined 14-for-45 (.311) against Samardzija.
Though the sample size is small, it’s worth noting that the Padres’ bullpen has a .169 opponent batting average through 16 1/3 innings, while the Giants bullpen has surrendered a .258 opponent batting average through 21 innings. That gives San Diego a leg up early and late.