The Los Angeles Dodgers are the hottest team in baseball at the moment, gaining complete control over the National League West. They will face the Cleveland Guardians on Wednesday, a team starting to see their hope to make the playoffs disappear.
The Dodgers have won eight of their last 10 games, expanding their lead in the NL West to 11.5 games. Their focus is officially on the World Series, with MLB lines set at +175 for them to win the NL Pennant.
The Guardians are second favorites on MLB odds to win the American League Central at +1000 and are five games back. Furthermore, they are 11 games back from the AL Wild Card spot. However, they won the first game of this series against the Dodgers, 8-3, scoring all their runs after the fourth inning.
Dodgers Hitting Under Regularly
It might be surprising, but despite the Dodgers‘ success recently, they have not done it through their heavy hitters. Over the last 10 games, they have only hit the over three times.
That is pretty surprising, given the talent in the Dodgers lineup. Mookie Betts has been the only reliable hitter recently, with a .524 batting average, three homers, and five runs batted in over the last seven days.
In the last series, the only game that hit the over was an 11-3 loss in the opening game against the Miami Marlins. The Dodgers did win the next two games in a doubleheader, with a 3-1 scoreline in each.
Guardians Struggle to Score Runs
Scoring runs has not been the Guardians‘ strength this season. They have scored the third-fewest runs, averaging 4.03 per game. On top of that, the lineup has hit the fewest home runs, 91, which is 24 fewer than the next team.
All this has led the Guardians to almost be an automatic under. They have hit the under 72 times in 2023 (59.4% of their games), making it a pretty solid option for most MLB picks.
— Cleveland Guardians (@CleGuardians) August 23, 2023
That trend has continued, with Cleveland hitting on the under in six of its last 10 games. But in the opening game of this series, the Guardians offense came alive for eight runs and two homers. This first game is an outlier compared to the rest of the season, and they will be facing a better pitcher in the second.
Clayton Kershaw (11-4, 2.48 ERA) vs Xzavion Curry (3-1, 3.24)
Taking the under only looks more like the best option when you see the pitching matchup.
The Dodgers will have Clayton Kershaw get the start. He has allowed three hits and one run off a homer through five innings in each of his two starts since returning from injury. Kershaw’s strikeout numbers are low for a pitcher of his caliber, just six through 10 innings. Even though he made two mistakes leading to home runs, that should not be a concern when facing the Guardians.
Xzavion Curry has spent a better part of the season being a relief pitcher, appearing in 31 games with six starts. He has been officially moved into the starting rotation, getting the start in his last three appearances. It has been a shift, leading to a 4.50 ERA through those games. However, in his previous game, he pitched six innings, allowing one run, trending in the right direction.
Best Bet Dodgers vs Guardians
The Guardians hit the under in 59.4% of their games. The recent offensive struggles for the Dodgers and the pitching matchup also favor a low-scoring game. Kershaw should be able to make quick work of a Guardians lineup that has struggled all season.