MLB Regular Season
Matchup: Los Angeles Dodgers at New York Mets
Date/Time: July 23, 7:10 p.m. ET
Pitching Matchup: Clayton Kershaw (7-6, 2.68) vs. Bartolo Colon (9-8, 4.86)
MLB Betting Odds From BetDSI Sportsbook
Moneyline: Los Angeles -190
The best way to bounce back from a deflating loss is to win the next game. The New York Mets are in that kind of position on Thursday. The problem is that they face Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers rallied to salvage a game in their series against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday, while the Mets were busy suffering a bullpen meltdown that cost them a huge game against the Washington Nationals. Kershaw and the Dodgers are significant road chalk and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the line go higher.
Both the Mets and Dodgers have had interesting seasons to date. The Mets roared out to a 15-5 start in their first 20 games, but they were just 23-17 after the next 20. Fifty-five games later, the Mets are 49-46, 12 games under .500 since April 28. They lost seven in a row from June 17 to June 24 to fall below .500, but have not been under since. The Dodgers have not flirted with a losing record since April 11. They won seven straight after falling to 2-3. For having a $200M+ payroll, the Dodgers have hardly been impressive in building a 54-42 record. They are just 10-19 against teams that are .500 or better and they are 20-25 on the road. Only the Colorado Rockies have a worse road record in the NL West.
But, Clayton Kershaw is on the mound for the Dodgers on Thursday and he’s the cure for just about anything. Some unfortunate sequencing luck and a bit of a command hiccup has turned Kershaw into slightly superhuman as opposed to the video game character that he was last season. Last year, Kershaw was 21-3 in 27 starts with a 1.77 ERA, a 1.81 FIP, and a 2.08 xFIP. This season, just to make every other pitcher in the league feel better, Kershaw is 7-6 with a 2.68 ERA, a 2.21 FIP, and a 1.93 xFIP.
The scariest thing is that Kershaw is posting the best strikeout rate of his career this season with a 33.7 percent punchout rate. He hasn’t been able to replicate last season’s absurdly-low walk rate of 4.1 percent, but 5.2 percent is not too shabby either. After allowing nine (!!) home runs in 198.1 innings last season, Kershaw has already given up 11 in 131 innings this season. He has never allowed more than 16 in a season and doesn’t appear interested in setting a new career high. He hasn’t allowed a home run over his last four starts.
Ageless wonder Bartolo Colon is still an effective Major League pitcher, but he has run into some unfortunate sequencing this season. Colon sports a 4.86 ERA entering this start, but his 3.55 FIP and 3.69 xFIP show just how unlucky he has gotten with trunners on base. After stranding 70.2 percent of his runners late season, Colon has stranded just 64.5 percent this season. Opposing batters are reaping the benefits of a .347 BABIP with men on base and a .356 BABIP with runners in scoring position.
Colon has a tough assignment in this one, as the Dodgers sport the league’s second-best wOBA against right-handed pitching. Not only that, but the Mets don’t exactly light up the scoreboard offensively and they have to face Clayton Kershaw. The Mets are 27th-ranked wOBA against southpaws this season and, as we know, not all left-handers are created equal.
MLB Prediction: Los Angeles Dodgers
But, as you know if you listen to The Bettor’s Box, I’m very reluctant to lay anything over -140 on a baseball game. As a result, I’ll recommend the Mets team total under, as well as the Dodgers team total over. Colon has shown some major command flaws throughout the season and the Dodgers trail only the Coors Field Rockies in slugging percentage against righties.