MLB Regular Season
Matchup: Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Dodgers
Date/Time: July 28, 10:10 p.m. ET
Pitching Matchup: Sonny Gray (10-4, 2.30) vs. Brett Anderson (5-5, 3.33)
MLB Betting Odds From BetDSI Sportsbook
Moneyline: Los Angeles -120
Per the overnight lines, there are four games with totals of 6.5, including this one at Chavez Ravine between the Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Sonny Gray takes the ball against the league’s second-best offense against righties, while Brett Anderson takes the ball against the team with the worst record in baseball against left-handed pitching. Despite those two things, the Dodgers are a relatively small home favorite for this interleague battle of California.
The small market A’s took a big chance at the MLB Trade Deadline last season and were buyers, adding Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. At this year’s trade frenzy, the A’s are sellers. Scott Kazmir has already been traded. Tyler Clippard could be traded any second, as could Ben Zobrist. It’s entirely possible that Billy Beane may work on some more elaborate deals to shed some additional payroll. The Dodgers are interested in buying and they could use at least one, if not two starting pitchers. Cole Hamels has been the big name on their board, but they are expected to be players for David Price if the Tigers decide to sell. Two pitchers not going anywhere are Tuesday’s starters.
Oakland ace Sonny Gray will be on the bump for the A’s in this one. His last two starts have not gone particularly well. Gray gave up just two runs on nine hits against the dangerous Toronto Blue Jays after allowing five runs on five hits over six innings to the Minnesota Twins in his prior outing. Command seems to have evaded Gray all of the sudden. He has given up three home runs in his last two starts after allowing five home runs in his first 18 starts.
Overall, though, Gray is having a fantastic season. He has a 2.30 ERA with a 2.96 FIP and a 3.38 xFIP. He has a 115/35 K/BB ratio over 136.2 innings of work. Gray has improved his walk rate from last season and has learned how to better attack hitters. His strikeout rate has taken a modest step forward, but his ability to command the baseball has improved in a big way. He has done an excellent job of keeping hitters off-balance and has one of the lowest line drive rates allowed so far this season.
Former Oakland A’s left-hander Brett Anderson is back after leaving his last start with some Achilles tightness. It was a scary moment for Anderson, who has dealt with all sorts of injuries over his career. Now healthy, Anderson has given the Dodgers 19 quality starts and 110.2 good innings with a 3.33 ERA, a 3.56 FIP, and a 3.34 xFIP. He also has one of the league’s most extreme ground ball rates at 66.8 percent. That’s a good way to keep from getting in trouble because stringing hits together with ground balls is a lot tougher in the present day generation of OBP > BA.
Anderson is one of the few guys that has done a better job of limiting balls on the barrel than Gray. His 13.6 percent line drive rate is the lowest among pitchers with at least 110 innings pitched this eason. His former team is just 7-19 against left-handed starters this season and just 18-30 against teams .500 or better. The Dodgers are 44-23 against teams with losing records. The Dodgers are 47-34 against right-handed starters, due in large part to how good they have been offensively.
MLB Prediction: Los Angeles Dodgers
Sonny Gray is a fine pitcher, but he probably won’t get a whole lot of support in this start. Oakland is in selling mode and that definitely affects the way that a team plays. Not to mention, Gray’s recent command problems are a little bit of a concern against a Dodgers team that has hit righties extremely well. Gray is great, but the Dodgers have some value in this game by taking on a big name that has gotten a lot of love in the market this season.