MLB Regular Season
Matchup: Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves
Date/Time: July 20, 7:10 p.m. ET
Pitching Matchup: Brandon Beachy (0-1, 6.75) vs. Matt Wisler (3-1, 3.10)
MLB Betting Odds From BetDSI Sportsbook
Moneyline: Los Angeles -140
Brandon Beachy had no idea if he was going to be able to start against his former team when the season started, but he has definitely had this game circled for a couple of weeks. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves meet on Monday night in the series opener between two teams in very different situations. The Braves will send Matt Wisler to the hill in this one, one of many pitching prospects brought in by then interim GM John Hart during last offseason’s fire sale. Another fire sale may be coming before the July 31 trade deadline.
The Dodgers just took two of three from the Washington Nationals in what could have been a National League Division Series preview. If the playoffs started today, those two teams would be traveling a lot in the first round of the playoffs. The Dodgers have had a very strange season. They are 53-40 with a 3.5-game lead in the NL West, but they have not had much success against good teams. The Dodgers are just 10-19 against teams with winning records. The Braves, however, are not a good team. They dropped to 43-49 with Sunday’s loss and have a lot of veteran players that are on the trade market.
It has been a long, rough road back to the Major Leagues for Brandon Beachy. He had Tommy John surgery for the time after missing half of the 2012 season and most of the 2013 season. This time it cost him the 2014 season. Beachy made his first start since August 20, 2013 when he took the ball on the Saturday before the All-Star Break. Beachy felt that the Braves did not handle his first surgery properly and was happy to cut ties with the team after his second procedure. Now, he gets a shot at redemption with his new team.
Beachy only made it through four innings against the Milwaukee Brewers in his last start, allowing three runs on five hits with three walks and a couple of strikeouts. It will definitely be a work in progress for Beachy, who may not get too many more starts at the Major League level. He posted a 2.65 ERA in four starts in Triple-A before getting the call, but had an 11/9 K/BB ratio. The stuff certainly wasn’t crisp in his first start, inducing just a few swings and misses and throwing only 37.7 percent of his pitches in the zone.
Matt Wisler, who was acquired from San Diego in the Justin Upton deal, has been a good pickup for the Braves. In his five starts, he has a 3.10 ERA with a 3.99 FIP and a 4.43 xFIP. He is a fly ball pitcher, so there could certainly be some regression in his home run rate, but extreme fly ball guys often manage low BABIPs because it’s harder to get fly balls to fall in for hits. Wisler didn’t have exciting strikeout numbers in Triple-A, so that’s a concern going forward.
Part of the issue for Wisler is that he doesn’t have much of a third pitch. He’s mostly a fastball/slider guy, though he will sink the fastball with a little bit of two-seam action. The Dodgers have the league’s top offense against right-handed pitching and they are 45-31 against right-handed starters this season after beating Max Scherzer on Sunday. That will certainly be a point of emphasis for Wisler entering this start.
MLB Prediction: Atlanta Braves
This number is entirely too high for a pitcher like Beachy. He’s making his second start in two seasons and showed poor control and command in his first start. It may come back, but it certainly isn’t there yet. The last thing a team wants to see is a high-stress environment for a pitcher coming back off a major procedure and Beachy is sure to put a lot into this start against his former team. That will be hurtful for him in this outing.