Two respective newcomers join their rotations to battle it out in Houston on Friday night. Our handicapper analyzes the mlb odds to find which one has the higher chance of success tonight.
In what has all of the sudden become an important early season series, the Seattle Mariners try to stop the seven game winning streak of the surging Houston Astros, who have taken flight with an early 15-7 record. There are certainly no problems in Houston just yet although the Mariners hope to create some starting Friday night. This game features two newcomers to their respective rotations, as Roenis Elias gets the start again for Seattle and injured Hisashi Iwakuma. On Houston’s side, long-reliever Samuel Deduno gets the start in place of Asher Wojciechowski, who was demoted to AAA Fresno as his name didn’t fit on the back of his jersey.
Home Starter Info
Samuel Deduno has appeared in five games this season, but has only pitched 9.1 innings thus far. His longest appearance was a 4.1 inning stint in long relief on April 9th, where he threw 40 of his 54 pitches for strikes. The book on Deduno is that he pitches to contact and induces ground balls. In his most recent extended starting job with the Twins in 2013, Deduno created ground balls at a 59.7% rate of contact. He does have a tendency to get torched for a long ball now and then, with a career HR/FB rate at an elevated 13.2%. Austin Jackson is the only Mariner in the lineup that has tagged Deduno for a home run, however. When looking at advanced stats, an astounding 93.2% of Deduno’s pitches in the strike zone are hit when a batter swings, and 63.2% are hit when the ball is not in the zone. This is the definition of ‘pitching to contact’. His early swinging strike rate is a paltry 6.5% as well.
It’s working for Deduno so far in 2015 though, as he is sporting a nifty .212 BAA and 1.07 WHIP through those 9.1 innings. I’d expect for him to be limited to around five innings for this game, which brings into question the Houston bullpen. No issues there, as the Astros bullpen is ranked 5th in the MLB with a combined 2.18 ERA. However, the Astros bullpen batted average on balls put into play (BABIP) is sitting at .219, third lowest in the league. BABIP is a very consistent statistic which tends to normalize over time. Basically, a portion of this is luck and finding holes in the defense (or not in this case). This BABIP will be unsustainable over time, so the Houston pitching staff is playing a bit over their true value right now.
Visiting Starter Info
Compared to Deduno, Roenis Elias misses quite a few more bats, with a career swinging strike rate of 9.8%. His off speed pitches, such as his changeup, are also rated above average. While not setting the world on fire, a WAR of 1.3 in a rookie season is commendable, and there is definitely some upside to this 26 year-old left hander. His small sample size trends against current Astro hitters is also positive. The only success of note is Jose Altuve, who went 1-6 with a HR last year against Elias.
The MLB Pick
Looking at the MLB odds board, I believe the run the Astros are on right now is starting to create some betting value on the other side, as we have a proven starter in this game against a spot starter that might not finish five innings, yet we are being given almost pick’em odds. With the Houston bullpen definitely in play, and unsustainable luck going their way to date, I’m going to be taking the Mariners as one of my Friday's free MLB picks.
MLB Pick: Mariners at -111 at GTBets