MLB Picks: Cold Bats Will Lead To A Low Scoring Affair In Mariners vs. Angels Tussle

Saturday, April 23, 2016 11:00 AM GMT

The Angels have only dropped three home series to the Mariners in the last six years, but will need a win aginst their AL West rival's ace Felix Hernandez to avoid a fourth. Can they be our MLB pick for the game?

Seattle Mariners (8-8) - Felix Hernandez (1-1, 1.00 ERA)
Felix Hernandez missed yesterday's scheduled start with flu-like symptoms. Hisashi Iwakuma, originally penciled in for tonight's matchup, stepped in on four-days rest, guiding Seattle to a 5-2 win in 10 innings. It was the team's sixth victory in its last eight games. One has to wonder if “King” Felix is 100 percent healthy for this one.

Hernandez is certainly familiar with today's opponents. His 46 starts versus the Angels are second-most to any team outside of the Rangers (48). He's 14-14 lifetime, picking up 301 strikeouts and yielding 278 hits in 310.2 innings. Overall, he's compiled a 3.30 ERA.

The Mariners are just 9-14 when the Hernandez commands the hill at Angels Stadium, he and the bullpen gifting 3.8 runs on 7.9 hits per game. He's mystified many of the Halo's current batters, except for Mike Trout. Trout is hitting .354 against the former Cy Young winner with nine extra-base hits in 72 plate appearances (three doubles, two triples, and four home runs). The 2014 MVP has whiffed 21 times though.

Seattle struggled to produce runs last season. Although adding a slew of new players in the offseason (Nori Aoki, Chris Iannetta, Leonys Martin, Adam Lind, etc.), most are revered for the defensive prowess and many experts predict another tough year at the plate. They may be right. The Mariners' .226 batting average ranks 24th in MLB. The lineup is using the long ball to accrue 4.0 runs per game, a ploy not fit for the long haul. It's 3.3 home run percentage is eighth-best in the bigs.


Los Angeles Angels (7-10) - Héctor Santiago (1-0, 2.61 ERA)
The Angles are just 2-6 in their last eight games, failing to come by many runs in the stretch. The bats are dormant in Anaheim. L.A.'s 2.88 runs per game are the second fewest in all of baseball (Phillies). The good news for Angels backers is that the organization has won all three of Santiago's outings this season.

In fact, dating back to May 2015, L.A. Is 11-3 in Santiago's last 14 home starts, giving up a tidy 3.3 runs on 6.9 hits per game. Not too shabby for the No. 5 guy.

The southpaw is 2-2 in four career outings against Seattle. Whiffing 35 batters in 35.2 frames, he's yielded 13 earned runs on 32 hits for a 3.20 ERA.

Primarily a fastball, change-up pitcher, his fourseamer produces a high-number of flyballs. In fact, he owned MLB's lowest gorundball/flyball ratio last year. The downside is that Santiago is prone to give up dingers, yielding 29 last season and three this year.

The lefty will need to pitch away from Nelson Cruz. Cruz led the bigs last season with 27 road bombs. The 2014 home run leader is just two for 10 with a double in the matchup. Robison Cano, who has just one extra-base hit in 20 career plate appearances, is tied for fourth in the majors with six homers this year.

Final Analysis
Whenever an ace squares off against a career, bottom-of-the rotation guy who has just enough stuff to keep hitters off-balance, the lean is typically to the elite pitcher, especially when a short-priced dog on MLB Odds. Seattle's bats are just too untrustworthy in this tough spot on the road, though. In fact, both bats are ice-cold. Expect Santiago to have his better stuff squaring off against Hernandez. Under 7½ (+100) is the MLB pick on this game.

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Free MLB Pick: Mariners Under 7½ +100
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker