A three-game battle for Los Angeles is set to begin tonight, with the Dodgers making the short trip down to Anaheim to take on the Angels. We’ll preview the opening game of this series before going over why I’ll be targeting the total for the first five innings.
Entering tonight, the Los Angeles Angels are sitting in second place in the AL West, and for the first time in years, it looks like we may avoid the nonstop “Will they be sellers at the deadline?” segments on TV. Before their off day yesterday, the Angels picked up their fourth straight series win, beating the Royals on Sunday with a final score of 5-2. Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout hit back-to-back home runs in that game, which should strike a bit of fear into the rest of the AL.
Left-hander Tyler Anderson gave the Angels five strong innings on Sunday, and tonight they will hand the ball to another lefty in Reid Detmers to make his 13th start. Detmers has turned in two straight outings in which he’s allowed just one earned run, which has helped lower his ERA to 4.48 in 62.3 innings. Command remains an issue with Detmers, as he averages 2.1 walks per game over his last ten starts.
Detmers will face a Dodgers team embarrassed by the Giants at home over the weekend. Not only did the Dodgers get swept in the series, but they were outscored 29-8 over the three games, culminating on Sunday with a 7-3 loss. Los Angeles finished the game with one more hit than the Giants, but they left 23 runners on base and failed to score more than one run in an inning.
While the Dodgers could not score more than one run, the Giants put up a four spot in the six of Tony Gonsolin, which knocked him out of the game. As they look to get back in the win column, Clayton Kershaw will take the ball for his 14th start. In 76.3 innings, the veteran lefty is pitching to a 2.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts and 19 walks.
The total for the first five innings of this one is currently set at 4.5, and I’ll be taking the over for my play in this one. The matchup features a battle of two lefties on the mound, but both teams have hit lefties exceptionally well over the past month. The Angels and Dodgers also rank 4th and 5th in average runs per game in the first five innings, so I think the scoring could get started early tonight in California.
When facing the lefty on the road over the past month, the Dodgers rank 1st in wRC+, wOBA, and OPS, so this is an ideal matchup for them following an off day and off one of their worst series of the year. Standing 60 feet and six inches away from them will be Reid Detmers, who has a 4.65 ERA and .288 opponent batting average at home this season.
The Angels' lineup ranks 4th in OPS and 5th in wRC+ and wOBA when facing a lefty at home over the past month. Their opponent, Clayton Kershaw, has a large disparity in his stats on the road versus at home. The veteran has a 4.27 FIP and .314 BAbip when pitching on the road, which don’t mix well with his 8.1% decrease in strikeout percentage and 6% increase in walk percentage in this spot.
F5 Over 4.5