MLB Picks 6/7 – LA Dodgers @ Cincinnati Reds
The Los Angeles Dodgers (35-26) are on the road facing the Cincinnati Reds (28-33) in the second of a three-game set tonight. Cincinnati stunned Los Angeles 9-8 last night in walk-off fashion after scoring 3 runs in the bottom of the 9th, they trailed 8-3 after 4 innings. It was the Dodgers third straight loss. Tonight’s starters are Noah Syndergaard (1-4, 6.54 ERA) for Los Angeles and Brandon Williamson (0-0, 4.29 ERA) for Cincinnati. Williamson started the year as a middle reliever but entered the starting rotation after ace Nick Lodolo suffered a stress reaction in his left tibia. Tonight, will be Williamson’s fifth start of the year.
Last night’s game could end up being a significant moment in baseball history as highly touted 21-year-old infielder Elly De La Cruz made his major league debut for the Cincinnati Reds. He was called up from Triple-A Louisville where he hit 12 homers and stole 11 bases in 38 games. Cincinnati inserted De La Cruz into the clean-up spot in his debut, he went 1-for-3 with a double, two walks and a run scored. De La Cruz is ESPN’s No. 1 rated prospect.
Moneyline: Los Angeles -172, Cincinnati +144
Run Line: -1.5 (-114) +1.5 (-105)
Run Total: over 11 (-118) under 11 (-104)
Over the last decade, you could make the case that the Los Angeles Dodgers have been the most successful franchise in any sport as they’ve made the postseason 10 straight years, won the National League West 9 times, set franchise records for wins in a season three times, made 3 World Series appearances and won it all in 2020. The Dodgers won a franchise-record 111 games last season but were upset by division rival San Diego in the second round of the playoffs. After getting off to a 9-10 start, the Dodgers now find themselves in their accustomed role at/near the top of the NL West.
The Dodgers are among the league leaders in home runs, runs scored and run differential, and have a slew of offensive weapons at the plate. First baseman Freddie Freeman’s .329 batting average leads the team, he’s also hit 11 home runs and driven in 43. Freeman hit a grand slam in the fourth inning of last night’s game. Six-time All-Star and 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts continues to produce at a high level hitting .258 with 15 homers and 36 RBI. Third baseman Max Muncy leads the team with 18 homers, and his 43 RBI is tied for the team lead.
The biggest surprise for the Dodgers and one of the bigger storylines of the season is the resurgence of 35-year-old outfielder J.D. Martinez. The Boston Red Sox let Martinez walk in free agency after his 5-year contract ended last year. Martinez hit just 16 home runs for Boston in 2022, after averaging about 36 home runs/year in his previous 3 full seasons with them. In his first season in Los Angeles, Martinez is already up to 15 homers, along with a team-leading 43 RBI and a .277 batting average across 45 games. Martinez belted a 2-run homer in last night’s loss.
While the Dodgers spent the past 10 years dominating MLB, the Cincinnati Reds have been the complete opposite, their last postseason appearance following a full season was 2013. They made the playoffs in the COVID-shortened 2020 season where 16 teams qualified for the playoffs. Cincinnati finished 62-100 last season.
Even at 28-33, Cincinnati has some hope for the season and possibly the future due to the arrival of 21-year-old phenom Elly De La Cruz and a weak National Central division. The Milwaukee Brewers sit atop the NL Central division with a 33-28 record, which is worst among all division leaders. Cincinnati is just 5 games behind Milwaukee.
Cincinnati has several other young and talented players who have All-Star potential, in addition to De La Cruz. 25-year-old first baseman Spencer Steer’s .290 batting average and 8 home runs lead the team. 26-year-old second baseman Jonathan India (the fifth overall pick in the 2018 draft) is hitting .279 with 6 homers and 30 RBI in his third season as a major-leaguer. India won the 2021 NL Rookie of the Year.
23-year-old starting pitcher Hunter Greene was the second overall pick in the 2017 draft out of high school, he actually committed to UCLA as a high school freshman and was ready to attend UCLA until Cincinnati drafted him. He started 24 games as a rookie last season and is 1-4 with a 3.92 ERA in 2023. Greene has struggled in terms of his win-loss record (6-17 as a big leaguer) but he has tremendous ability which is why he has remained in the starting rotation.
Despite the 3 straight losses, the Dodgers are a lot better than the Reds and will be out for revenge after last night’s tough loss, I like the Dodgers on the moneyline!
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