Aug. 17 MLB Preview — Los Angeles Dodgers (82-42) at Atlanta Braves (72-52)

(Hyun-Jin Ryu photo courtesy Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

This is the full preview(s) as seen on the Winners and Whiners and Stat Salt websites. The confidence rating for all picks on a scale from 1 to 5 is in parentheses.

Note: The 5/5 does NOT represent the best overall pick of the day’s games when there are multiple games, simply the best pick(s) from each individual game.

When and Where: Saturday, Aug. 17, SunTrust Park, Atlanta, Ga. 7:20 p.m. EDT.

At the very least, Hyun-Jin Ryu has put the Los Angeles Dodgers in a position to win an overwhelming portion of his starts. Ryu himself, however, has not always been around to collect those victories.

The major league leader in earned run average looks to win back-to-back starts for the first time in over two months Saturday night when the NL West-leading Dodgers continue their series with the NL East leaders, the Atlanta Braves.

Ryu unbeaten since All-Star break but has only two wins in second half

Ryu’s 1.45 earned run average is nearly a full run better than the nearest pitcher in the majors, but the left-hander is only tied for 10th in victories and shares the team lead with Clayton Kershaw.

Ryu (12-2) carries a 13-inning shutout streak — bridged by a stint on the injured list between his last two starts — into this contest after scattering five hits in seven innings of a 9-3 win over Arizona on Sunday. It marked the 20th time in 22 starts the South Korean has permitted two or fewer runs as he improved to 3-0 with a microscopic 0.45 ERA in 39 2-3 innings over his six starts since the All-Star break.

“It’s an absolute display of the art of pitching,” Justin Turner told the Dodgers’ official website regarding Ryu’s 91-pitch effort. “He can pitch to all four quadrants, his command has been great all year. Vintage Ryu. Changing speeds, keeping guys off-balance. He’s like Houdini when he gets in trouble; he finds a way out of it.”

His level has not dropped off substantially on the road — Ryu is 3-2 with a 2.22 ERA in 11 starts outside Los Angeles. The southpaw has not registered in his last three road starts despite conceding only one earned run and three overall in 19 2-3 innings.

Ryu’s second and most recent career shutout came against Atlanta on May 7 when he fired a four-hitter in a 9-0 romp. He is 1-1 with a 1.98 ERA in four career starts against the Braves, though Freddie Freeman has given him some issues by going 4 for 10 in their matchups.

Foltynewicz out to win third straight start since coming off IL

They may have not been artful, but Mike Foltynewicz (4-5, 6.24) will take the wins that have come in both starts since missing six weeks with a sore throwing elbow all the same.

The right-hander fought his way through six innings Sunday in Miami, giving up four runs and eight hits in a 5-4 victory. Foltynewicz has been reached for seven runs and 13 hits in 11 1-3 innings in his last two starts, but the Braves have been generous offensively and backed him with 16 runs in those games.

“Sometimes we don’t have confidence in ourselves at that point in the game,” Foltynewicz told the club’s official website. “When a manager comes out and says, ‘How you’re feeling, I trust in you and you got a good matchup right here,’ it just picked me up instantly.

“I don’t know what came over me then, but when Snit said he was going to stick with me, [saying] ‘Get these guys out, I like the matchup,’ I knew I was going to get the outs no matter what.”

Foltynewicz did not have the same outcome after six innings against the Dodgers on May 8, serving up two home runs while allowing five runs and walking four. The righty has lost back-to-back starts to Los Angeles and is 1-2 with a 6.23 ERA in three career matchups.

Dodgers outfielder A.J. Pollock has been a nuisance, going 6 for 10 with a homer and a double in their matchups.

Notable Trends

The Braves are:

  • 1-11 in Foltynewicz’s last 12 starts vs. NL West teams.
  • 3-10 in Foltynewicz’s last 13 home starts.
  • 2-9 in Foltynewicz’s last 11 home starts vs. above-.500 teams.

The Dodgers are:

  • 8-1 in Ryu’s last nine starts vs. above-.500 teams.
  • 6-0 in Ryu’s last six starts vs. NL East teams.
  • 14-3 in Ryu’s last 17 Saturday starts.

*****5-Star Pick*****

Dodgers -1.5 runs (-110)

Ryu has been absolutely devastating against NL East teams this year, winning four of his five starts while recording a 0.47 ERA and conceding two runs in 38 1-3 innings. His hits allowed per nine innings ratio is also substantially better than his already-superb 7.32 overall — that number plummets to 4.93 in these five starts.

Foltynewicz has thrown more than 100 pitches in both of his starts since coming off the injured list, so there is no sense that he has been building to this start. And after already getting hit hard by the Dodgers in L.A., the expectation is for Ryu to continue his effectiveness.

****4-Star Pick****

UNDER 10 runs (-110)

The line bounced back to its original opening of 10 after a run at 9.5, and the half-run adds to the confidence in taking the under given Ryu’s dominance of NL East teams

The under has hit in his last four such matchups. It is also 5-1 in his last six starts during game two of a series and 11-6 in the Dodgers’ last 17 road games versus righties entering Friday night’s game.

Braves UNDER 4.5 runs (-131)

Considering opponents have scored five or more runs three times in Ryu’s last 20 starts, this is a solid play. Atlanta has yet to score more than four runs in any of the previous four games between the teams, and the Dodgers have yielded more than three just once in their last 10 contests.

Dodgers -0.5 runs first 5 innings (-125)

A confidence pick in the Dodgers offense versus Foltynewicz as much as Ryu. Los Angeles is 6-3-1 at the midway point in the South Korean’s 10 road starts and failed to score in three of those outings. Prior to his last two outings, the Braves were 2-7-2 at the five-inning mark in Foltynewicz’s previous 11 starts.

***3-Star Picks***

UNDER 5.5 runs (-115)

The hook, coupled with Ryu’s effectiveness, makes the under the play. The five-inning under is 10-5 in Los Angeles’ last 15 games overall, and the only two times it hit in Ryu’s last 11 starts came against Colorado.

The under is also 10-3 in Atlanta’s last 13 home games after narrowly pulling out a win Friday night.

Dodgers 3-way ML first 3 innings (+105)

The money line is offering a slightly better return than laying a half-run with the Dodgers, and the pick is worth a flyer given Ryu’s effectiveness in the opening three frames. He has yielded just 15 runs combined in the first three innings this season, while Foltynewicz sports an ERA of 4.00 or higher in each of the first three frames, including an 8.15 mark in the first.

Los Angeles has also had a lead after three innings in three of his five starts since the All-Star break.


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