Giants vs. Dodgers: King Josiah?

 

Josiah Gray #83 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches.  Harry How/Getty Images/AFP

Josiah Gray #83 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches. Harry How/Getty Images/AFP

Josiah Gray may or may not debut for the L.A. Dodgers this Tuesday when they host the San Francisco Giants. Does that alter our MLB picks?

 

San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Tuesday, July 20, 2021 – 10:10 p.m. ET at Dodger Stadium

 

The Los Angeles Dodgers have a hole in their starting rotation. Both Clayton Kershaw (strained forearm) and Trevor Bauer (administrative leave) are unavailable this week; David Price has been “promoted” from the bullpen into the No. 4 spot, but that leaves L.A. uncertain at press time who will start Tuesday’s game against their National League West rivals, the San Francisco Giants. DraftKings aren’t waiting around to find out who gets the nod. They’ve opened the Dodgers as –145 home favorites on their MLB odds board, which presents us with an interesting opportunity: Do we take L.A. at these odds, with the distinct possibility that they’ll hand the ball to Josiah Gray, their top pitching prospect in the minors? Or do we wait for confirmation on their starter, and deal with whatever odds come up at that point?

The Answer Is 42

I wouldn’t be writing this article if I were recommending the second option. Gray (3.98 FIP in three starts with AAA-Oklahoma City) is just too good a prospect to pass up here; part of that massive Yasiel Puig trade with the Cincinnati Reds in 2018, Gray is the No. 42-ranked overall prospect at MLB Pipeline, and already gifted with both a quality fastball and slider. He is the real McCoy. He’s also thrown just 15.2 innings since 2019. Gray spent all of 2020 at the Dodgers’ secondary site at USC, then was limited earlier this year by a shoulder impingement. If he pitches at all Tuesday, it will probably just be a handful of innings – maybe after an “opener” takes care of the first few batters. Not a problem; the Los Angeles bullpen ranks seventh in the majors with a collective 3.86 FIP. Talented arms will be on the hill Tuesday night, one way or the other.

Giant Steps of course, there’s a second team playing in this contest, and they’re pretty good. The Giants went into Monday’s action a game up on L.A. in the National League West at 58-34, racking up 19.03 betting units in earnings. That makes San Francisco the most profitable team on the senior circuit. And their projected starter, Alex Wood (3.75 FIP), has the Giants up 2.51 units this year on a team record of 10-5. Fun fact: Wood was also sent from Los Angeles to Cincinnati in the Puig trade. Which makes San Fran a viable fade candidate in this one particular matchup. As well as they’ve performed, their plus-118 run differential thus far is quite a bit lower than the Dodgers at plus-154. Convert those numbers to Pythagorean records, and L.A. “should” have 64 wins right now, four more than their NorCal counterparts. Maybe we’ll see some regression to the mean on Tuesday – and a healthy dose of Josiah for good measure.

MLB Pick: Dodgers at 145 at DraftKings

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