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Odds and Ends

MLB Best Bets for October 23

by Kenny Ducey
Updated On: October 23, 2021, 5:39 pm ET

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We've got just one game on the docket for Saturday, which is Game 6 of the NLCS between the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers. While it's a hard one to call, I do have a play on this game and will waste no more time in getting into it now.

Atlanta Braves (+110) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (-130) Total: 8.5

I'd already been leaning towards Atlanta in a closeout game at home, so when news broke late Friday night that Max Scherzer would no longer be getting the ball in Game 6 due to arm fatigue, it was all systems go.

Instead, the Dodgers are likely to look to David Price, who is expected to be added to the roster to replace an injured Joe Kelly. The 36-year-old lefty is a shell of himself these days, posting a 4.12 expected ERA this season according to Statcast and striking out just 17.8% of the hitters he faced.

Price's career average is 24.4%, and league average in 2021 was 22%, so that number is unseasonably low.

The lefty simply lacks the putaway stuff to make a real impact anymore. On top of that, he hasn't pitched since October, and when we did see him at the end of the year he was struggling, allowing some bad home runs.

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The Braves were once a weak team versus left-handed pitching, but the additions of Jorge Soler and Adam Duvall helped boost their performance in those situations, and Eddie Rosario is a proven reverse-splits hitter who can succeed against lefties as well. On top of all that, the Braves got Travis d'Arnaud back late in the year, who is great against lefties, and southpaws are the preferred handedness of Ozzie Albies as well.

I think this sets up great for Atlanta offensively, who has suddenly gone cold. The other side of the matchup could be tougher, but the Braves do have Ian Anderson going who has proven himself in October. While his numbers in his debut season last year were far better than what we saw in 2021, he's still been just fine in two starts this October with a 2.25 ERA.

Walks could be an issue for Anderson, particularly against a lineup that's so good at getting on base via the free pass, but I have enough faith here in the offense to get him a nice lead early. You also need to consider Will Smith and Tyler Matzek are fully rested, and the Braves have the option to bullpen this thing if they run into trouble.

I'd bet the Braves here to +100.

Edge: Braves +110

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Kenny Ducey

Kenny Ducey is a former member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, writing and editing for Sports Illustrated and Baseball Prospectus. His work also appears at DraftKings and The Action Network. Follow him on Twitter @KennyDucey.