Astros to go 2-0 with Interim Manager is MLB Pick

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, September 3, 2014 7:29 PM GMT

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an MLB overlay that has a better chance of cashing than its odds, offering long term value. Here is their Underdog Value Play for Wednesday.

 

After pulling an upset in their first game under an interim manager, look for a second upset in as many night for the home underdogs Wednesday night when Jered Weaver and the Los Angeles Angels (83-54, 36-30 away) again pay a visit to fellow right-hander Collin McHugh and those Houston Astros (60-79, 26-40 home) in the final game of a brief two-game series from Minute Maid Park in Houston, TX at 8:10 ET.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Houston as a moderate underdog for this contest at current odds of +121.


Out with the Bo, In with the New
The Astros fired Manager Bo Porter as well as bench coach David Trembley on Monday in what was clearly a clash with upper management, as after finishing with the worst record in the Major League each of the last three years, Porter actually had Houston playing some competitive ball this year as it looks like the ‘Stros will avoid another 100-loss season and they will hand over the dubious distinction of the league’s worst record to the Texas Rangers.

The Angels meanwhile have been the best MLB picks in the Major Leagues this year at 83-54 and they have now opened up a 4½-game lead over the Oakland Athletics in the American League West. However, that did not prevent the Astros from rewarding Tom Lawless with a victory in his first game as interim manager as they knocked off the Halos rather emphatically 8-3 last night.


Nice Season Under the Radar
McHugh has not gotten much national attention, which is what happens when you are 7-9 while toiling for an organization like the Astros. However, the reality is that he is actually having a very fine season as evidenced by his 2.99 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and fine ratio of 132 strikeouts vs. 40 walks in 126.1 innings. Most recently McHugh held those Texas Rangers to two runs in seven innings in a 4-2 victory last Thursday.

That marked the sixth straight start that McHugh has allowed two runs or less, and he allowed exactly one run in four of those outings. Many would call McHugh’s season a fluke because he had been awful in his few call-ups to the majors before this year, but his sabremetrics only serve to legitimize his ERA as he has a nice 3.26 FIP and 2.5 WAR. He has faced the Angels three times this year and allowed a total of four runs and just 10 hits in 16 innings.


Sabremetrics Do Not Add Up
Weaver is attempting to become the first 16-game winner in the American League, but unlike the probably undervalued McHugh, Weaver may actually be overvalued because of his 15-7 record and 3.57 ERA. That is because his sabremetric numbers paint an entirely different story.

For starters, Weaver has been consistently losing velocity on his fastball over the last several years and that has continued this year with a career low average velocity of just 85.8 MPH. That has led to a lower strikeout rate every year and that rate is down to 6.80 strikeouts per nine innings this season while Weaver is simultaneously posting a career high walk rate of 2.83 per nine frames.

Add in allowing more than one home run per game with 22 dingers allowed in 181.1 innings and Weaver has just a 4.24 FIP and 4.51 xFIP to go along with a very average 1.3 WAR. He has lived a charmed life while being bailed out by a low .265 BABIP allowed despite being a pronounced flyball pitcher with a poor 32.4 percent ground ball rate.


Trouble in Houston Last Time
Weaver was not so fortunate the last time he pitched in Minute Maid Park when the Astros reached him for five earned runs in 5.2 innings en route to a 7-4 upset win at +138 betting odds.

Look for another Houston upset vs. Weaver at home with Lawless improving to 2-0 as the interim head man Wednesday.

MLB Pick: Astros +121