Milwaukee Brewers (64-56) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (84-36)
It is a potential playoff matchup starting on Monday when the Milwaukee Brewers take on the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. This is a battle of two teams heading in opposite directions, as Milwaukee is 4-6 in their last 10 after dropping two of three to the Chicago Cubs over the weekend. The Dodgers are 7-3 in their last 10, including sweeping the Miami Marlins over the weekend.
These teams met in a four-game series in Milwaukee last week, where each team came away with two victories. Los Angeles enters as the favorite at -255 with the odds set for the Brewers at +205. When giving up 1.5 runs, Los Angeles is still the favorite at -115 while Milwaukee is at -105. The total is set at 8.0 (over: -105, under: -115).
Brewers Slump Has Them Chasing Wild CardThe Milwaukee Brewers are 4-6 in their last 10, including losing two of three to the St. Louis Cardinals two weekends ago (August 12-14). That now has the club focused on the wildcard chase instead of the NL Central title. Milwaukee is now 5.0 games behind St. Louis, who had won seven straight games entering Monday’s competition. Milwaukee is only 1.5 games behind Philadelphia for the final wildcard spot in the NL.
Milwaukee is 11th in runs per game (4.58), but it has been the long ball that has been driving this club. The Brewers are third in home runs (167), but are only hitting .235 as a team, 22nd overall, and have a .316 on-base percentage, 13th overall. However, this team is struggling offensively in August, posting a .201 batting average and a .293 on-base percentage. They have club 27 home runs in 18 games but are only averaging 3.89 runs per game this month.
Milwaukee starts left-hander Eric Lauer. Lauer is 8-5 with a 3.58 ERA in 22 starts. The lefty has allowed six runs in 20 innings in August and has allowed two runs or fewer in six of his last nine starts. His last outing was against Los Angeles, where he allowed two runs on four hits in seven innings, striking out seven. He did give up two home runs in that contest and has now given up two home runs in each of his last two starts.
Dodgers Cruising Toward Top RecordWhile Milwaukee has been struggling, the Dodgers have stepped on the gas and are rolling toward the top record in baseball. Los Angeles is 24-6 since the All-Star break, posting a 2.45 ERA. In August, the club has been absolutely spectacular, going 16-3 with a 2.11 ERA. That has enabled them to jump out to an 18-game lead over the San Diego Padres and hold a seven-game edge for the top record in the National League.
'To beat a guy like this says a lot for how good we can be.'— Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) August 22, 2022
The Dodger offense aces its test against NL Cy Young contender Sandy Alcántara in a 10-3 win.
Clearly, with numbers like that, it starts with pitching, and Los Angeles has one of their aces going on Monday. Left-hander Julio Urias is 13-6 with a 2.40 ERA in 23 starts. He tossed five shutout innings against Milwaukee (August 15), and has allowed two runs or fewer in 11 of his last 13 starts. The left-hander has allowed just one earned run in 18.0 innings in August.
The Dodgers are not just about pitching, however, first in runs per game (5.40) and in OPS (.788). The offense has been impressive in August, averaging 6.11 runs per game while hitting .277 with 31 home runs in 19 games. Los Angeles has the second-best OPS this month (.842) and the fourth-best on-base percentage (.339).
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
This has the makings of a great series. If last week was any example, it sure will be, as three of the four games were decided by two runs or fewer, and Milwaukee was outscored 13-11 in the four-game set. Lauer pitched a great game against the Dodgers, allowing two runs in seven innings, but took the loss as Tony Gonsolin tossed seven shutout innings. Urias tossed five shutout innings two days earlier as Los Angeles blanked Milwaukee.
That kind of low-scoring affair definitely favors the Dodgers, who have the superior pitching staff. They are allowing a little over two runs per game in August while Milwaukee has a 3.62 ERA this month. The games are going to be close, but expect the Dodgers to win by a couple of runs to cover the spread.
Full-Game Total Pick
It is surprising that the total is only set at 8.0 and just as surprising that it is just a slight favorite to go under that number. In two of the four games last weekend Milwaukee went under 8.0, with one right at that total, and one contest one run above that. That was in Milwaukee, however, which is much better hitters parked than Los Angeles and both teams struggled to score runs.
The Dodgers are averaging better than six runs per game in August, but they show they can be slowed down by the Milwaukee pitching staff. Lauer demonstrated he can go toe to toe with the Dodgers' best, so look for no more than six runs scored in this game.
Take Los Angeles to win, 4-1.