MLB Picks: Greinke & Moore Bring Value To Rays vs. Diamondbacks

Mark Lathrop

Tuesday, June 7, 2016 11:00 AM UTC

Tuesday, Jun. 7, 2016 11:00 AM UTC

Our top MLB Handicapper investigates some individual pitching trends that should prevail on Tuesday night as he makes his Totals MLB Pick for Tuesday, so read on and profit!

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays look to keep pace in the most competitive division in baseball as they find themselves in the basement of the AL East, yet just 7 games back with over half of the season to go. The Arizona Diamondbacks would just like to get past a .333 winning percentage on their home field at this point. These two teams meet on Tuesday night in an interleague matchup, with the home team Diamondbacks favored heavily at -165 on the moneyline at Pinnacle. The O/U total has opened at 8.5 runs on the MLB Odds board with no books offering a lean either way.

Of course, the reason that the Diamondbacks are favored at home despite their abysmal record is that Zack Greinke is getting the start. Greinke is in the midst of his worst season since 2008 in fielding independent pitching (FIP) terms, which is a statistic that throws out results out of the pitcher’s immediate control. Still, at 3.34, Greinke’s FIP is very good to excellent and should be an indicator of the kind of pitcher he can be going forward. On the year, Greinke is 7-3 over 12 starts, and has compiled a 4.29 ERA, 71/14 K/BB rate, 1.24 WHIP, and .265 Batting average allowed. His BABIP of .319 so far is well above his career average of .299, suggesting that Zack has gotten a bit unlucky this year too. The Diamondback’s ace has also won four straight decisions in a row.

Matt Moore gets the start for the Tampa Bay Rays, and had a great season going before the calendar turned to May. Since then Moore has given up 8 home runs in six starts, which has led to a 16.2% HR/FB rate, his highest in his career. But also high this year is Moore’s K/9 rate at 8.62, which is about equal to Moore’s 2012 numbers when he was running an ERA in the low 3’s. Moore’s BABIP is also running much higher than average, suggesting he has some positive regression due when considering his 5.46 ERA. Additionally, Moore’s velocity is up almost 2 mph on his fastball, which is a good indication that he is pitching without injury concerns for the first time in years.

There are some interesting totals trends to consider coming into this game for the offenses. For the Rays, they are 7-3 favoring the Over in their last 10 games while Moore is 3-0 cashing the Over in his last three starts. For the Diamondbacks, they have cashed the Under in 4 straight games after the Over won in at least 9 straight games. Greinke is even 2-1 favoring the Over in his last three starts after putting up a 2.14 ERA in those games. I guess what I am saying is that these trends are interesting in that they are completely contradictory.

What I am latching on to for this matchup is Tampa Bay’s performance against right-handed starters, where they average just 3.8 runs per game and carry a .229 batting average. That would be all starters, of course, not the caliber of starter of Zack Greinke. The Rays should struggle mightily on offense in this tough matchup on Tuesday night. But Arizona’s awful results at home and against left-handed starters has me hesitant to back them outright with the chalk offered with Greinke on the mound. That leaves the Under as the lean to back, which is what I’ll do, taking under 8.5 runs at BookMaker in this game as my MLB Picks.

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Free MLB Pick:  Under 8½ -110
Best Line Offered:  at Heritage
MLB Record: 21-11-1, +9.69 Units

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