Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#4971 Los Angeles Dodgers vs.
#4972 San Diego Padres
Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 4:10pm EDT
Written by Eric P.

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The Los Angeles Dodgers take on the San Diego Padres in game three of their three-game series on Sunday afternoon from Petco Park in San Diego. With Saturday’s game-ending after publishing time, the Dodgers were ahead going into the eight in a low-scoring game, ahead just 1-0. Assuming a Dodgers win, that would mean eight in a row for them and 13 of their last 14 overall. This is a crucial series for the Padres to show they belong in the NL West, but a potential sweep to the hands of their rivals to the north might already spell a focus on the wild card berth for them. Can the Dodgers continue to beat up on little brother, or will the Padres respond with some fight at the end of the weekend?

Dodgers Versatility Showing Through

The Dodgers won in an incredible game on Friday night that fans and reporters alike didn’t want to end. A Cory Seager home run ended up being the difference in extra innings to continue his hot start. Justin Turner continues to be the offensive leader and is still flirting with a batting average of around .400 which is close to tops in the National League. Luke Raley is quickly looking like a great bench player after his home run on Friday and fellow youngster, Zach McKinstry, is hitting .300 himself as he continues to earn more starts. Cody Bellinger will likely continue to remain out with his leg issue but the offense shouldn’t miss a beat with Mookie Betts and Chris Taylor offensively and in the field.

According to MLB.com, Trevor Bauer is slated to get the start on Sunday afternoon in what will be his fourth start of the season. Bauer is off to a great start on the year, sitting at 2-0 with an ERA of 2.7 and 29 strikeouts. The beginning of games has been dominant for the righty, allowing only two hits on the season before entering the seventh inning. Bauer has also struck out at least nine in every start and should be able to rack them up again against the Padres. In spring training Bauer only went 1-2 with an ERA of 4.24 but has stepped it up during the regular season so far. The former first-rounder though has only faced the Rockies and Athletics on the season so far, so will get his toughest test by far against the San Diego lineup.

Bauer hasn’t faced the Padres since an August start in 2019 while he was with the Indians. In that start, Bauer took the loss to the line of seven innings pitched, five hits, and two earned runs, but did have 11 strikeouts. Before then he went five innings against the Padres in July of 2017, taking the loss again after allowing three earned runs in five innings, but that lineup was much different than the one he’ll see on Sunday. According to ESPN, only seven San Diego hitters have at-bats against Bauer in their career, adding up to 71 total plate appearances. In that span, Bauer has allowed 21 hits and seven walks, good for a batting average against of .202. He also has 20 strikeouts against current San Diego hitters.

Padres Looking To Show Fight

It only took a few at-bats for Fernando Tatis Jr. to take the baseball world by storm in the biggest series that MLB fans have seen this year. His fifth-inning home run on Friday lit a spark under the Padres bench that allowed them to at least hang around with the Dodgers. Jake Cronenworth is off to a great start, hitting .351 at the dish, with veteran Eric Hosmer right behind him at .340. Hosmer also has three home runs and leads the team in RBIs, while Tatis Jr. brings quite a bit of power to the order but is struggling to make the contact, shown by his batting average still sitting below .200.

According to MLB.com, Blake Snell will get the ball on Sunday in game three as he looks to get his first decision of the year. He hasn’t had his typical sharp stuff in the early going of the season, including failing to get out of the first inning last time out against the Pirates. The former first-rounder, who is in his first year in the National League, had an exceptional spring training, going 3-0 over 14.1 innings, allowing only five hits and striking out 13. The regular season hasn’t been nearly as kind, failing to get a win against the Diamondbacks, Giants, nor Pirates, and has an ERA of 4.35. Against the Pirates, he threw two outs in the first but gave up three hits and three runs before being pulled.

The last time Snell faced off against the Dodgers was in last year’s World Series, where he memorably got pulled in game six despite having a shutout going at the time. In that, he ended up being charged with one earned run after striking out nine in 5.1 innings. In game two of the series, he went 4.2 innings, allowing three hits and two runs, striking out another nine. According to ESPN, Los Angeles hitters have 26 at-bats against Snell all time, with 23 of those from Mookie Betts during their times facing off against each other in the AL East. Across those 26 at-bats, the Dodgers are only hitting .076 against Snell, striking out only four times but struggling to get much going when they do make contact.

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A lot is being made of Blake Snell making his first start since last year’s World Series controversy in game six. While revenge can be a great thing, it might overshadow what the Dodgers are capable of in this game and be a distraction to Snell himself. Snell has really struggled in the early goings of the season and the Dodgers’ group of bats is the last thing he wants to see to try to right the ship. Even with injuries and some players starting off the season cold, talent keeps sprouting up in the form of some talented youngsters. The Dodgers will also be throwing Bauer out there who has been great to open games and as the season progresses, Dave Roberts will have a better idea of his flow and rhythm and not to keep him in too long and get hit hard in the late innings.

Prediction: Dodgers (-125)

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Both of these offenses have too much pop in their bat to not get some runs across, regardless of how elite Bauer and Snell are. As Tatis Jr. co rubies to get at-bats in his return he’ll continue to be more and more dangerous at the plate. The Dodgers’ offense has continued to impress and put up runs no matter who is in there. Additionally, according to covers.com, the under is 6-0-1 in the Dodgers’ last seven Sunday games. For the Padres, the under is 4-0 in their last four final games of the three-game series, is 6-1 in their last seven against NL West Opponents, and is 6-1 in their last seven home games.

Prediction: Under 7.5
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Written By Eric Ploch , "Eric P."

Eric grew up surrounded by sports, whether it was spending the weekend catching games in person or on tv, or heading out to the fields to play whatever sport was in season. What started as a hobby, soon became a passion, as he became the sports editor of his high school newspaper, then wrote for his university newspaper during his undergrad years.  After obtaining a degree in Sports Operations and Promotions, and spending 8 years deeply immersed in the sports world, Eric decided to take his love for analytics and predictions, and his experience, to online sports fans everywhere. We are glad to have Eric on OUR Team.