Double Play: Tanaka's Struggles With Orioles Open up Big Underdog Play

tanaka yankees

Mark Lathrop

Thursday, April 5, 2018 11:55 AM UTC

Thursday, Apr. 5, 2018 11:55 AM UTC

Our MLB handicapper, Mark Lathrop, takes a shot at a huge underdog play on the Thursday MLB card as the value is just too great with an Orioles lottery ticket in New York.

2018 MLB Record: 5-2-1, +2.48u (1 Pending)

Seattle Mariners (4-1 O/U) @ Minnesota Twins (2-3 O/U)Free MLB Pick: Under 8.5Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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The needed ace of the Seattle Mariners wasn’t very ace-like in his first outing of the year, with James Paxton getting lit up for six earned runs in just 4.2 innings pitched against Cleveland. Owner of a sub-3 FIP in each of his last two seasons, Paxton is due for some serious positive regression in this start against the Twins. The Minnesota lineup hasn’t seen Paxton much, and only one batter has more than two hits against the big southpaw. The last time he pitched in Minnesota he faced Kyle Gibson and put up a one-run, 9K, 0BB gem in a 10-1 win. Paxton has a career 2.70 ERA against the Twins.

Gibson did lose that game in 2016 against Paxton but did pitch very well against the Mariners last year in winning his two starts. Ichiro Suzuki and former Tiger Andrew Romine own the best hitting marks against Gibson, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the lineup. Still, with two starters with career ERAs under 3.49 against each opponent, it is a bit surprising to see this total available at 8.5 runs. What is more surprising, though, is the weather expected for the game. It will be clear and no precipitation is expected, yet the temperature will be bone-chillingly cold. There is a serious risk that this game won’t be played if the temperatures are in the low-20s as forecasted. But if they do play, it will be miserable for batters and the ball will be heavy. I’ll take Under 8.5 runs here in hopes that they try to get the game in under sunny – and cold – skies in Minnesota.

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🎶 “If all the snowflakes were candy bars and milkshakes, oh what a snow that would be.

"Standing outside with my mouth open wide… ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah.” 🎶 pic.twitter.com/OVHS8XaetR

— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) April 5, 2018
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Baltimore Orioles (1-4 SU) @ New York Yankees (3-2 SU)Free MLB Pick: Baltimore MLBest Line Offered: Pinnacle

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There is something to say about making plus-odds wagers when the odds should be more like 50/50. That could be the case in this instance, but more to the extreme as the Orioles find themselves as +220 moneyline underdogs against the Yankees. Andrew Cashner gets the start for a Baltimore team fresh off of getting swept by the Houston Astros. That will be a sentence I will likely write often this year. Cashner got lit up against the Twins in his first start and allowed 3 home runs in the process. However, when you look at his results against this current Yankees lineup there aren’t really any thorns in his side. Didi Gregorius is the only Yankee who has taken Cashner deep in his career, and, yes, that includes at-bats against Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge.

Masahiro Tanaka gets the start for the Yankees and finds himself a heavy favorite even after losing 2 of 3 to the Orioles last season. Many expected batters in the lineup have taken Tanaka deep, which is not surprising after looking at his 16.0% career HR/FB rate. The only thing going for him here is that he does have a positive home split and a very good bullpen to lean on if he can’t pitch deep into the game. However, when looking at the splits and the value available in taking the Orioles, I will try to pick up 2 units for the price of one and make Baltimore one of my Thursday MLB Picks.

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