MLB playoff picks: Kershaw looks to push past postseason struggles
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You have got to be kidding me.

In the most unlucky and painful fashion imaginable, we closed out Wednesday 0-3. Reds batters combined to leave 14 runners in scoring position, twice leaving the bases loaded in extra innings before losing in the 13th. The White Sox scored a meaningless run with two outs in the top half of the ninth to push the game over by half a run. And the Yankees had all the luck in the world on their side in their ninth-inning comeback.

I haven't seen luck that bad in a long time. Three brutal beats and we were on every one of them. Let's quickly put that behind us and focus on Thursday.

Cincinnati Reds (+125) @ Atlanta Braves (-145)

It's a tough ask for these two lineups to bounce back so soon after yesterday's 13-inning marathon, especially when you consider who's on the mound. Luis Castillo gets the ball for the Reds and he's been all sorts of dominant this season, with a 2.65 FIP suggesting there was some bad luck baked into his still impressive 3.21 ERA. Castillo also managed a terrific 11.44 K/9 rate and surrendered just five home runs in 70 innings. He will be asked to pitch deep into this game given the work the bullpen needed to put in Wednesday, and that won't be a welcome sight for Braves hitters.

Atlanta counters with sensational rookie Ian Anderson, who has done nothing but impress through his first six MLB starts. He's allowed one run or fewer in four of his six outings - giving up just two and three runs, respectively, in the other two starts - and has surrendered just two runs in three combined starts at Truist Park, all against playoff teams. Anderson's also surrendered just one home run in 32 1/3 innings. The Reds' offense is built on the long ball but they will have to find other ways to score in Game 2, which is bad news considering Cincinnati finished last in MLB this season with a .212 average with runners in scoring position.

Pick: Under 7.5 (-110)

Milwaukee Brewers (+205) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (-225)

Playoff baseball hasn't been kind to Clayton Kershaw. He melted down in his last postseason appearance during Game 5 of the NLDS against the Nationals last season, par for the course considering his 9-11 postseason record and 4.43 ERA. Kershaw gets the start in Thursday's elimination game opposite Brewers starter Brandon Woodruff, who famously homered off Kershaw in Game 1 of the 2018 NLCS at Miller Park.

Woodruff won't be going yard against Kershaw tonight, but he will go pitch-for-pitch with him. The 27-year-old is coming off an excellent campaign (3.05 ERA, 3.20 FIP, 11.12 K/9) and is playing as well as he has all season coming into the playoffs, throwing eight shutout innings of two-hit ball with 10 strikeouts against the Cardinals on Saturday. He's pitched at least seven innings in three of his last four starts and is exactly who the Brewers want on the mound with their season on the line. There's too much value to pass up on this line given Woodruff's recent dominance, Kershaw's postseason struggles, and the Brewers' success against lefties.

Pick: Brewers (+205)

(Odds source: theScore Bet)

Alex Moretto is a sports betting writer for theScore. A journalism graduate from Guelph-Humber University, he has worked in sports media for over a decade. He will bet on anything from the Super Bowl to amateur soccer, is too impatient for futures, and will never trust a kicker. Find him on Twitter @alexjmoretto.

MLB playoff picks: Kershaw looks to push past postseason struggles
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