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Over 6.5 (-115): 3-Star Rating Out of 5
So let's focus on the other guy, Mikolas, because for this to get to the over, we likely need the New York Mets' offense to do work against him.
The St. Louis Cardinals' righty has been solid through his first 15 1/3 innings this year, sporting a 3.58 SIERA. But Mikolas really struggles to miss bats, recording a meager 17.7% strikeout rate in 60 innings since the start of 2021.
He's done a great job suppressing hard contact in that time (30.9% hard-hit rate), but that's going to be challenging to do today against a Mets attack that ranks among the league leaders in wOBA (.334) and home runs (16) in the early part of the campaign.
We project the Mets to push across 4.27 runs, and while Scherzer should have success in his outing, we have the Red Birds plating 3.61 runs. That's 7.88 total runs, and we give the over a 64.1% chance to hit, rating it as a three-star bet.
Dodgers -1.5 (-118): 1-Star Rating Out of 5
While there are some reasons to be worried about Buehler and reasons to be into Kelly's fast start, there's no doubting how difficult Kelly's matchup is today -- and, conversely, how friendly the matchup is for Buehler.
Kelly entered this season with a career 20.2% strikeout rate but has fanned 28.6% of hitters in his first 15 1/3 frames of this year on his way to a dazzling 0.59 ERA. His average fastball velocity is up a bit (0.8 MPH), but Kelly's swinging-strike rate is only 9.4% -- which is actually lower than his swinging-strike rates from both 2019 (9.8%) and 2020 (9.7%).
Kelly might be better this year -- especially if he's able to maintain his improved batted-ball profile -- but he's not going to sustain his current strikeout rate or ERA.
A matchup with a loaded Los Angeles Dodgers lineup will put Kelly's quick start to the test. And let's not forget how big of an issue dingers have been for Kelly in his MLB tenure. He came into this season allowing a 42.7% hard-hit rate and 1.33 jacks per nine in his career.
Most of what we said about Kelly, we can stay the opposite for Buehler. He boasts a 4.57 SIERA and 16.2% strikeout rate through 15 2/3 innings, and both of those would be career-worst marks by some distance.
But Buehler's swinging-strike rate is an excellent 12.2%, and he's been nothing but superb since debuting with the Dodgers, dominating to the tune of a 3.60 SIERA in 590 innings. We're going to need more than a slight dip in his heater (0.3 MPH) to start thinking he's anything other than one of the game's elite arms.
Buehler is most likely fine, and he's got a cozy matchup tonight with an Arizona Diamondbacks offense that sits 22nd in wOBA (.281) with the 4th-highest strikeout rate (25.5%).
We project LA to win by a score of 5.75-3.82, and we give the Dodgers a 57.0% chance to cover as 1.5-run favorites.