It's interleague rival time again in the MLB and our handicapper looks at a West Coast matchup in Seattle to find the greatest betting value. Will park factors play a role in the game tonight?
Fresh off of a weekend sweep of the floundering Oakland Athletics, the Seattle Mariners welcome their interleague ‘rival’ San Diego in town for a short two game set. San Diego is coming off of a series split at Arizona, with one of those wins coming in extra innings. If there was any such thing as momentum, it would favor Seattle in this game. Both teams are behind in their division races by about the same amount, although many would be surprised that it is the Houston Astros that Seattle is trailing by 5.5 games in May. San Diego is of course trailing the NL West favorite Los Angeles Dodgers. Early odds have the home team Mariners favored on the money line at -129, with the MLB odds O/U total set at 7.5. The weather is going to be kind of chilly, 60F with a chance of drizzle, so the air will be heavy and the roof should be closed at Safeco Tuesday night.
Seattle’s #2 starter, James Paxton, will try to follow up on King Felix’s fantastic Sunday start with one of his own. Although the team has lost three of his last starts, the big left hander has given up 2 or fewer runs in each of those games. Paxton has a plus fastball and lit up the gun at 97 MPH in his last effort against the Angels, with his only mistake being a 2-run bomb given up to Albert Pujols. The early projections of Seattle being a leading AL contender depend on Paxton living up to the potential he has shown over his last few games. Only a few San Diego batters have faced Paxton over his career, so the sample size is too small to draw any conclusions from.
Padres starter, Ian Kennedy, has been solid since returning from a short DL stint with a strained hamstring. One thing to watch, and I don’t know if this is injury related, is that Kennedy has given up the long ball quite a bit this season. In four games Kennedy has given up 5 home runs in just 17.1 innings. That’s bad and almost 4 times the rate he gave up dingers last season. Needless to say, Kennedy is due for some regression to average in that statistic. Kennedy has given up a home run to Mariners Logan Morrison, Seth Smith, and Rickie Weeks; so this might not be the night that regression occurs. That said, Kennedy hasn’t given up more than 2 runs in each of his last two starts, so as Martha Stewart says, “It’s a good thing.”
MLB Betting Verdict
Although the lineups are slightly improved on both sides, I like the fact that no game between these two teams exceeded 7 runs last year and the total is sitting at 7.5. In addition, the cool weather should make Safeco field factors favoring the under come into play. We have two starters that are likely undervalued based on season statistics and ERA as well. I believe the best value MLB pick for Tuesday night’s game in Seattle is the under at 7.5 runs.
MLB Pick: Under 7.5 (+105) at 5Dimes