MLB Betting: Starting Pitchers Influencing Monday's MLB Picks

Doug Upstone

Monday, April 20, 2015 2:34 PM UTC

Monday, Apr. 20, 2015 2:34 PM UTC

Monday’s smaller array of games and the fact the current largest money line from sportsbooks is only -160 in MLB betting odds, would lead one to think most of the contests should be pretty competitive.

With this in mind, we will break three pitching matchups today from various perspectives for MLB picks.


Astros vs. Mariners: This Should be a Pitching Mismatch
Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma (0-1, 6.55 ERA) was the Mariners second-best pitcher a year ago with a 15-9 record and 3.52 ERA. This season he’s gotten off to a rotten start in giving up nine runs and three homers in 11 innings to each team for Los Angeles. Iwakuma has been known for his excellent feel and command on the mound, with a fastball in the 88 to 91 range and if he throws that pitch for strikes, his deluxe splitter and tilted slider are overwhelming. But that has not been the case thus far and last year Houston gave him trouble, as the right-hander was 2-3 with a 5.40 ERA in five starts versus Houston.

His mound opponent will be Asher Wojciechowski (0-1, 4.50) who will be making his second career start. Wojciechowski was called up from Triple-A Fresno after Brad Peacock went on the disabled list with something called a left intercostal strain. Wojo is 26-years old and known as a – fly-ball – pitcher, but most of those have big fastball, which he does not. His slider and changeup are both inconsistent and having to face home run champ Nelson Cruz, who has eight homers in a dozen games, is not a matchup Wojciechowski is likely to win.

The MLB odds have Seattle at -160 and if both pitchers have their normal stuff, the Mariners have run line potential for sports picks. With how Iwakuma has thrown and his problems with Astros hitters like Jose Altuve among others, this could be best left up to Pat Sajak of – Wheel of Fortune – because with these two hurlers last names, possibly buying a vowel could solve the puzzle.

Grade – C (for Seattle)


Indians vs. White Sox: Cleveland has Edge, but…..
Trevor Bauer (2-0, 1.50) is beginning to harness his ability which made him a top draft pick for Arizona and he’s still only 23. The Cleveland righty has permitted only four hits over 12 innings and has 19 strikeouts. His mound opponent is John Danks, who is picking up where he left off last season at 11-11 (4.74) and is 0-2 with 6.09 ERA to start 2015.

The Indians are a deserving -110 road favorite when you know Danks lifetime is 5-12 against the Tribe with a high 5.13 ERA. Granted, both teams are scuffling on offense, which might help Danks (Indians 3.2 runs per game) and should also work in Bauer’s favor with Chicago at 3.5 RPG.

However, some handicappers cannot wholly commit MLB picks to Bauer because of his lack of command. In his dozen innings he’s given up nine free passes and if the White Sox can group a couple hits together with walks, they can win this game.

Grade – D (for Cleveland)


Athletics vs. Angels: If the Shoe(maker) Fits Wear It
When the Angels needed a fifth starter a year ago because of injury, they turned to Matt Shoemaker and were thrilled with the results. The righthander was a brilliant 16-4 with a 3.04 ERA. Shoemaker is picking right up where he left off with two wins in two starts (ERA is higher at 4.38, but it’s early). Dating back to last year, the Halos have won 10 consecutive times when the 28-year is the announced starter and he has a 1.92 ERA in that span.

With Oakland's Kendall Graveman (1-1, 7.27) having not established himself yet, Los Angeles is a -145 home favorite (BetOnline) and they are 9-0 against AL West foes when Shoe climbs the mound.

Grade – B (for Anaheim)

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