The Los Angeles Dodgers were historically good in the shortened 2020 regular season on the way to winning their first World Series title since 1988. They were already favored to repeat when this past offseason began, but their odds got even shorter once reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer signed in free agency. The Los Angeles native will make his debut in Dodger Blue on Friday at the Colorado Rockies, who are +205 underdogs on the William Hill Sportsbook MLB odds behind Antonio Senzatela. The total of 12 is by far the highest on the board.
The Dodgers didn't "need" Bauer as they already had a loaded rotation – it's now so deep that former AL Cy Young winner David Price, who opted out of the 2020 season, is in the bullpen. However, Bauer's unique three-year, $102 million deal was too much value for the team to pass up. Bauer has opt-outs after each of his first two years and there are bonuses and opt-out deferment payments included in the complex contract.
It's essentially Bauer betting on himself on a year-by-year basis, and L.A. isn't beholden on some mammoth nine-year, $324 million deal like Gerrit Cole got from the Yankees in 2019. Plus, Bauer wanted to play in Los Angeles and the Angels apparently weren't an option (the Mets were the other finalists) – the right-hander went to Hart High School in Santa Clarita, an L.A. suburb, and played college baseball at UCLA.
Bauer was the runaway NL Cy Young winner last year for the Reds. He had just a 5-4 record due to poor run support but led the National League in ERA (1.73), WHIP (0.795), opponents' batting average (.159), opponents' BABIP (.215), adjusted ERA+ (276), hits per nine innings (5.1), shutouts (two) and complete games (two). He was second in strikeouts (100) and strikeouts per nine innings (12.3).
This spring, Bauer was 1-2 with a 4.24 ERA over 23.1 innings in six Cactus League games. The long-time American League has made three career starts vs. the Rockies and not since 2017, going 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA. His lone Coors Field start was June 7, 2017, while with Cleveland and Bauer allowed four runs on five hits in 3.1 innings and took the loss. Bauer entered the season as the +650 second favorite behind the Mets' Jacob deGrom (+400) to repeat as NL Cy Young winner.
Incidentally, the Dodgers' 8-5 loss as -215 favorites on Thursday means that L.A. is under .500 for the first time since June 2018. Yes, the Dodgers are still +350 World Series favorites at William Hill. One loss won't change that. Multiple loses won't.
As for the Rockies' Friday starter, Senzatela was 5-3 with a 3.44 ERA in 12 starts last season and 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA in three starts against the Dodgers. The right-hander is 3-0 with a 3.86 ERA in three career starts vs. Los Angeles at hitter-friendly Coors Field.
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