MLB Pick: Seattle Mariners +140 over Oakland Athletics

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, April 4, 2013 4:00 AM GMT

The highly regarded Brandon Maurer is making his Major League debut Thursday while the league started figuring out A.J. Griffin of the Athletics late last season. Take Seattle at a price.

There could be an early season upset in the works on Thursday when young Brandon Maurer makes his Major League debut for the Seattle Mariners (2-1, 2-1 away) as they pay a visit to A.J. Griffin and the Oakland Athletics (1-2, 1-2 home) in the final game of a four-game series from O.co Coliseum in Oakland, CA at 3:35 ET.

The posted money line at Bodog has Seattle as a nice underdog for this contest at current odds of +140.

The Mariners took the first two games of this series, holding the Athletics to a total of one run and three hits while winning by scores of 2-0 and 7-1 respectively before the Oakland bats woke up a bit in a 6-2 Athletics win on Wednesday.

The Mariners still have a chance to win their openings series today, which would be a nice stepping stone for a team that finished in last place in the American League West at 75-87 last season, 19 games behind these Athletics who shocked many by winning the division.

Today Seattle turns to the highly regarded Brandon Maurer as he makes his Major League debut. Maurer made the starting rotation thanks to a great spring that saw him go 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA with 25 strikeouts and only six walks in 24 innings. And that spring did not come out of the blue either, although Maurer might be one year ahead of schedule in terms if breaking into the majors.

You see, Maurer was named the organizational minor-league pitcher of the year last season when he went 9-2 with a 3.20 ERA and 117 strikeouts and 48 walks in 137.2 innings. Yes, that was at the AA level at Jackson and the Mariners planned to give him a year at AAA before bringing him up in 2014, but it was impossible to ignore his spring training performance vs. Major League hitters, where he showed poise and command that belies his youth.

He debuts vs. an Oakland lineup that is batting .147 vs. right-handed pitching in the early going.

The Athletics had a miraculous run last season that saw them win the division on the final day of the season by beating the team they were competing with for the title, the Texas Rangers, head-to-head. Oakland then took the Detroit Tigers to the fifth and deciding game before bowing out in the ALDS.

A major contributor to the A’s success after getting called up from the minors in June was today’s starter A.J. Griffin, who finished 7-1 with a 3.06 ERA overall. His performance was surprising because he was not considered to be a top prospect by any means, unlike his opponent Maurer today.

However, he may have begun his regression to the mean at the end of last season, as he went 1-1 with a 7.27 ERA over his last four starts. Further evidence that the league may have figured him out was his 5.40 ERA in five spring training starts this year.

Given that regression, Maurer’s promise and this very nice price, the value appears to lay with Seattle on Thursday.

[gameodds]3/223854/92-238-19-93-1096/us[/gameodds]

MLB Pick: Mariners +140