Mariners vs. Rangers MLB Picks: Will J.A. Happ's Hot Start Continue in Texas Tuesday Night?

Mark Lathrop

Tuesday, April 28, 2015 1:47 PM UTC

Tuesday, Apr. 28, 2015 1:47 PM UTC

Our MLB handicapper analyzes the second game of this week's series between the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers. See where the betting value lies before making your Tuesday MLB Picks!

Game 1 Recap
The Seattle Mariners look to continue their hot start in Texas on Tuesday night as they try for a second win in a row against the host Rangers. Last night, Taijuan Walker pitched a gem for the Mariners, requiring only 92 pitches to get through 7 innings. Yovanni Gallardo wasn’t bad either, but gave up his few hits in succession in the first inning, letting Seattle get two early runs on the board that ended up being the game winners. Fernando Rodney saved the game for the Mariners, but it being his second appearance in as many nights, it will be interesting to see if he is even available for Tuesday night’s game.


Starting Pitchers
Wednesday’s scheduled starters are J.A. Happ for the Mariners and Ross Detwiler of the Rangers. Early MLB odds have the visiting Mariners favored on the money line at -128, with the O/U total set at 9 runs. The game was delayed on Monday night due to rain, but any chance of rain should be out of the area by game time on Tuesday night.

In his last game pitched, Ross Detwiler faced the Mariners in a game I covered on April 19th. In my write-up, I suggested that the fastball happy Detwiler had a high chance of giving up runs against a Mariner lineup that hits fastballs rather well. He didn’t disappoint, at least to me anyway, by giving up five runs in 2 and one-third innings. This included 3 home runs by the Mariners with two coming by the former Ranger, Nelson Cruz. Inexplicably, instead of taking the Over in this game I took the Mariners. I still ended up winning as the M’s overcame a terrible start by James Paxton to take the game 11-10. However, when you find a possible correlation between a pitcher, lineup, and outcome, it is wise to pay attention.

J.A. Happ takes the mound for the Mariners and is starting the year well with a continued trend of increased velocity. Now featuring a fastball sitting in the 92-95 MPH range, the 32 year old Happ has finally seem to hit his peak, sporting a fine 2.61 ERA over his first three starts. Happ’s pitching repertoire with the increased velocity has been compared to that of Cole Hamels in his prime. Not too surprising, since both pitchers came out of the Phillies organization. The question is how long Happ can sustain this type of performance, and for us, is there a clue into when he will become his old self, with a career 4.20 ERA? Happ had a serviceable outing the last time out versus Texas this year, giving up two runs over 7 innings. He did give up a home run though, and I think the fly ball pitcher could be susceptible for more of the same against this Ranger lineup at home.


MLB Betting Verdict
With the fastball throwing Detwiler still a poor match for this Mariner lineup, we look to J.A. Happ for the next clue on where to lean on this game. What stands out to me is that although Happ’s early season ERA is a fantastic 2.61, his fielding adjusted ERA is a more pedestrian 3.73. This indicates that Happ’s performance to date has been positively affected by luck, and of all audiences we know that these lucky runs tend to normalize over time. For this reason, I’m taking the Over of 9 runs at GT Bets as one of my MLB picks  for Tuesday night.

The MLB Pick: Over 9 at 5Dimes 

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