It’s lefty-on-lefty this Friday when the Los Angeles Angels host the Los Angeles Dodgers. Which southpaw will beat the MLB odds?
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Los Angeles Angels
Friday, July 15, 2022 – 09:38 PM EDT at Angel Stadium
A Tale of Two Cities
It’s good to be the Los Angeles Dodgers. You get to be in Los Angeles, for one. You also get the biggest payroll in all of Major League Baseball – a hefty $260.9 million this year. They know how to use that money, too; the Dodgers (57-30, plus-1.34 betting units) have the best record in the National League heading towards the All-Star break.
Compare and contrast to the Los Angeles Angels (39-51, minus-18.79 units), who haven’t won much of anything since their unlikely World Series title in 2002. The Angels are ninth this year in payroll ($190.2 million), so it’s not for lack of spending. It’s more the revolving door of ineffective GMs, four of them since 2007.
Okay, maybe that’s not fair to the most recent GM. Perry Minasian only got this job in 2020, after successful stints working under Alex Anthopoulos for both the Toronto Blue Jays and Atlanta Braves. Minasian just might be the one who finally takes the Angels out of the Dark Ages and into the wonderful world of analytics – he even fired old-school manager Joe Maddon last month.
These things take time, though. The Halos started the month of July by losing nine of their first 10 games, and they’ve got injury problems up and down the lineup as they prepare for Friday’s tilt with their crosstown rivals. And the sportsbooks took their sweet time, but the MLB odds finally hit the board Thursday night with the Dodgers as –202 road faves at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review).
Is Mike Trout Playing?
It’s very rare a positional player is important enough to delay the odds – and I’m not convinced Mike Trout (.967 OPS) was the reason things took so long. The three-time American League MVP was fully expected to play Friday after sitting out the last two games of their three-game set with the Houston Astros.
Maybe a little caution was warranted, though. Trout got the hook Tuesday night after experiencing back spasms, which can be very tricky to manage. And there is a considerable gap in the outfield between Trout and AAA-Salt Lake City call-up Jo Adell (.698 OPS), who needs to find some discipline at the plate before he’ll be in any MVP conversations.
Who’s Starting for Los Angeles?
We know the identities of both starting pitchers for Friday’s contest. Clayton Kershaw (2.91 xFIP) is due up for the Dodgers opposite Patrick Sandoval (3.71 xFIP), in a battle of two southpaws who couldn’t be much more different.
Sandoval (7-7, minus-1.76 units, Under 8-4-2) is only 25, but he has a lot of catching up to do if he’s going to match Kershaw. The Mission Viejo native is a fringe big-league starter who broke through last year with a sweet change-up, but his fastball is eminently hittable, and he’s walked 4.01 batters per nine innings this season.
Is it possible Sandoval is undervalued here? His 2.95 ERA is obviously lower than it “should” be, but his .321 BABIP allowed is certainly a candidate for positive regression. Too bad his bullpen ranks No. 23 on the WAR charts at FanGraphs, well behind the Dodgers in fifth.
Does Rest Advantage Matter in Baseball?
Not much. Baseball isn’t as physical a sport as others; FiveThirtyEight value a day of rest at 2.3 Elo points, which is hardly anything. Playing at home is worth 24 Elo points to the Angels, or about a third of a run, and they don’t have to travel for Friday’s game, which would have cost somewhere around four points.
That extra pressure on the Halos relievers has to be factored in, though. Sandoval’s a good candidate to go five or six innings; L.A. burned through four relievers Thursday night at one inning apiece, after needing a combined eight innings from their firemen in the first two games of their series against Houston.
With that in mind, let’s consider putting the Angels in our MLB picks for a small sum – but on the run line, where they’ll be spotted that valuable +1.5. The Halos were 6-17 in one-run games heading into Friday; that’s bad luck as well as bad relief, but let’s not put too much faith in their bullpen to seal the deal.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.