MLB picks: Fernandez Holds Excellent Value In Marlins vs. Dodgers Matchup

Thursday, April 28, 2016 5:33 PM GMT

In what looks like a nice pitching matchup, Jose Fernandez and the Miami Marlins appear to hold all the value as underdogs on the MLB odds when they visit Kenta Maeda and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

 

MLB Record: 11-13-1, -0.79

The road underdogs look to hold value with one of the best young pitchers in baseball out on the West Coast late Thursday night when Jose Fernandez and those Florida Marlins (9-11, 7-4 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Kenta Maeda and the Los Angeles Dodgers (12-10, 4-5 home) at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA at 10:10 ET in a game televised nationally on MLB Network.

The posted money line at Bovada has Miami as a moderate underdog for this contest at current MLB odds of +117.

Miami Looking for Road Sweep
The Marlins were not off to a great start this season but they are now riding a four-game winning streak including winning the first three games of this series here in Los Angeles! This has only improved Miami to 9-11 for the year while in fourth place in the National League East, but this young team is heading in the right direction, and given its fine pitching it can be a dangerous club as long as Giancarlo Stanton remains healthy to carry the offense.

The Dodgers still lead the National League West, but being the losing MLB pick in all three games to begin this four-game series has dropped them to just 12-10 overall, only one-half game ahead of the second place San Francisco Giants with Arizona only 1½ back in third place. The NL West could be the tightest division in baseball by year's end if it is not already with last-place San Diego only five games out.

Fernandez Coming Off of Loss
Fernandez has not quite been himself through four stats as he is 1-2 with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA, and he even lost at home for the first time in his career in his seasonal debut after previously being 17-0 at Marlins Park. His second loss of the year occurred last time out when Jose was touched up for four runs on seven hits plus three walks in a 7-2 defeat to the Giants in San Francisco on Saturday.

Fernandez still has his electric fastball and power breaking ball, but his command has been off in the early going with 11 walks accompanying his great 32 strikeouts in 22.2 innings. To put that in perspective, he walked only 14 batters in 64.2 innings last season after making his comeback from Tommy John surgery. That command should return soon enough though, so now may be the best opportunity to grab Fernandez at seemingly bargain prices.

After all, he is a perfect three for three in Quality Starts in his career while posting a 2.84 ERA vs. the Dodgers including striking out 10 in seven innings the last time he faced them. He is also catching a slumping Los Angeles lineup that is batting .218 overall in its last 10 games.

Impressive Stateside Starts So Far
Now there can be no denying that the Japanese import Maeda has pitched great baseball in his first four starts stateside, as he has allowed one run in 25.1 innings with the run coming on a solo homer. Thus it looks like the Dodgers got a huge bargain with this signing, but while we are not saying that Maeda cannot be a great Major League pitcher, there are a couple of red flags to indicate that this kind of start does not figure to continue for very much longer.

The most obvious is the ridiculous 100 percent strand rate, resulting from the lone run he allowed coming on a home run with nobody on base. Newsflash: not every baserunner that Maeda permits will be left on base for the rest of the season! And that brings us to the second red flag, raised by the fact that Maeda has allowed so few baserunners due to surrendering an abnormally low .242 BABIP.

Once that BABIP stabilizes resulting in more men on base, we will see just how much the strand rate can hold up. Tonight could be a nice test with the Marlins being seventh in the Major Leagues in batting at .266, and that is without Stanton even getting on track yet.

Mattingly's Revenge
Finally, no other person in either dugout would get more satisfaction from a four-game sweep than Miami Manager Don Mattingly after the Dodgers decided not to bring him back as manager after losing to the New York Mets in the NLDS last year. Also, the Marlins are 28-12 in Fernandez's last 40 starts on grass and 10-2 in his last 12 starts vs. the National League West.

And while Maeda has certainly been impressive, we simply feel this is too good a price for a pitcher like Fernandez so look for Mattingly and the Miami Marlins to complete the road sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers Thursday night.

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Free MLB Pick: Marlins +112
Best Line Offered: at YouWager