Baseball Picks of the Day for Saturday, July 8th

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Mark Lathrop

Saturday, July 8, 2017 12:24 PM GMT

Two late games out west sure seem to have value to our MLB handicapper, Mark Lathrop. Read on as he breaks down two late games on the Saturday MLB card for his MLB Picks of the Day.

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Oakland Athletics vs Seattle Mariners

The Oakland Athletics are calling up a 36-year old journeyman reliever that has had some success at the major-league level. This will be his first start in the MLB after bouncing around the minors and independent leagues for 11 seasons. He will be the oldest first-time starter in Oakland Athletics history.

The back of Chris Smith’s baseball card is a story of perseverance. After getting drafted 116th overall in the 2002 June Amateur Draft he hurt himself in an ATV crash and missed most of the year. Smith then made his first MLB appearance as a reliever in 2008. He’s bounced around since then, and spend the 2012 and 2013 seasons in the independent leagues. A crafty low-velocity righty, he actually has a career .220 BAA against lefties and a .221 BAA against righties. He keeps the ball in the yard with a 6.8% HR/FB rate and doesn’t walk people. He pitched six innings as part of a combined no-hitter in AAA this year to earn this spot start with Oakland.

Andrew Moore starts this game for the Mariners and he has pitched well since coming up from AAA this year. The most impressive stat is that his first 2 starts of his career were 7 and 8 innings each – and he has yet to walk an MLB batter. He has a high fly ball rate at 54.3%, but also induces a lot of weak contact with a 29.8% hard hit rate. Both of these pitchers avoid big innings, which is why I like the Under in this matchup with the best betting lines currently offered at Bookmaker.

Free MLB Pick: Under 9.5 Runs (-115)Best Line Offered at Bookmaker

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See Jason Lake's Breakdown on the Athletics vs Mariners

Cincinnati Reds vs Arizona Diamondback

It’s freakin’ Game of Thrones night in Arizona on Saturday. The Cincinnati Reds must know – that Winter is Coming.

The Taijuan Walker/Jean Segura trade is currently a tie, as both players have been performing well this season. Walker has really turned a corner by curbing his dinger problem and has reduced his HR/FB rate from 17.6% in 2016 to 7.0% in 2017 over 76.1 innings pitched. He’s sitting at 3.53 FIP on the season and has pitched well with men on base. His BAA with the bases empty is .253, men on base .230, and with men in scoring position and excellent .188.

Walker will face the fireballer prospect from the Reds, Luis Castillo. Castillo is a fast riser whose fastball has ranged from 95.2 to 100.1 this year. The problem with his fastball is that it gets crushed to the tune of a .385 batting average against. He’s got one of the fastest fastballs, and some of the worst results. You can see why the Reds are putting him through his paces in their lost season though. I expect another solid start from Walker in this game and for Castillo to struggle again. I’ll back the Diamondbacks on the run line as one of my Saturday MLB Picks of the Day.

Free MLB Pick: Arizona RL (+120)Best Line Offered at Pinnacle 

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2017 MLB Record, 132-121-7, -0.15 Units