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We are well aware of Clayton Kershaw’s (13-5, 2.46 ERA) postseason struggles, but we love his chances to turn things around in 2023. One reason is that the veteran will be facing a familiar foe in their NL West rival Diamondbacks. Kershaw faced the Diamondbacks three times this season, two of which came at home. In those home starts, he allowed just seven hits and two runs across 11 combined innings. In both of those starts, Kershaw struck out more than four batters.
Kershaw’s strikeout rates have dramatically dropped as he has gotten older, but most of them have come at home. He owns an impressive 7-1 record and a 1.58 ERA at Dodger Stadium this season, which will give him a significant advantage against the D-backs.
While Arizona showed good plate discipline during the season, they did strikeout 21 times in their two games against the Brewers. That was the second-highest total of the Wild Card round, and it shows that they may be pressing a bit harder in the postseason. That attitude will lead to more strikeouts tonight, especially with a red-hot Clayton Kershaw on the mound for LA.
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Bailey Ober (8-6, 3.43 ERA) has had a rocky August but bounced back to pitch well over his final four starts. However, those came against non-playoff teams like the White Sox and A's, and he will be up against one of baseball's most dangerous lineups today. Though Kyle Tucker, Alex Bregman, and Jose Abreu are incredibly streaky hitters, Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez are consistently great. Altuve has a .327 batting average since July 1, while Alvarez finished with the fifth-best OPS in baseball (.990).
We also love this bet because Ober has never pitched in a playoff game. That will be a significant disadvantage against an Astros team that has been to four of the previous six World Series. The lineup is filled with batters who have a history of success in the playoffs, and we see it leading to a lopsided win and a short night for Ober.
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The Rangers rediscovered their offense over the last month, and it was on full display as they outscored the Rays 11-1 in the Wild Card round. Their lineup is loaded with good hitters and Marcus Semien (.276 BA, 122 runs). The second baseman has had a great season and was a top-ten betting favorite for the AL MVP for much of the year. The reason for that is his ability to score runs, posting the fifth most in the league in 2023.
Semien is a talented hitter and base runner, but his run total is primarily due to the players behind him in the Rangers’ lineup. That includes Adolis Garcia and Corey Seager, who had a combined 203 RBIs during the season. It helped Semien score a run in both of their games against the Rays, and we think it continues against the Orioles today.
Orioles starting pitcher Kyle Bradish (12-7, 2.83 ERA) has had an incredible season. However, the 27-year-old is only in his second MLB season. That means this will be his first-ever playoff start, and it will come against an offense that is one of the best in the league. Considering how well the Rangers have been swinging the bat, we see them getting to Bradish early, posting another impressive run total today.
Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid and has turned that into a successful career. He cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams along with his Alma Mater Arizona State. He specializes in baseball betting, but has experience in football, basketball, and hockey as well. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children.More info on Michael Savio
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