Looking at today's MLB odds from sportsbooks, three more youthful pitchers stood out and we decided to scrutinize how each might perform to help their teams win a ballgame in the middle of the week.
Mariners vs. Padres: Walker Giving Seattle Shot at Victory
There are nightmares and there is what happened to the Mariners Taijuan Walker (6-6, 4.64 ERA) to begin 2015. After a superb spring to earn a spot in the Seattle rotation, Walker quite literally could not get anybody out and had the worst ERA among any pitcher with nine starts at 7.33 and a 1-5 record. Thanks to the patience of manager Lloyd McClendon and listening to his coaches, the 22-year old right-hander began trusting himself and has been on a serious roll since with a 5-1 mark and 1.91 ERA.
Though Walker has been improved on the road, his ERA is still 6.17 and the M's are 4-5 in his away outings. Walker's abilities are obvious, with a mid-90's heater, a late-biting cutter, big dropping curve and change he fades against left hand batters. The first part of the season he was catching too much of the plate and getting hammered and has wisely adjusted and is keeping his pitches down and working the edges.
In a matinee in San Diego, Seattle has been a dropping underdog, once at +125, now at +101 (though I did see +105 at Heritagesports.eu) betting odds. The Mariners shutout the Padres 5-0 last night and will see the tosses of James Shields (7-2, 4.24), who is winless in four starts posting an ERA of 6.45. While we agree with the Friars being favored, they are 0-6 at Petco Park in interleague action this season and Seattle deserves consideration to sweep the two-game series.
Slight Advantage - Walker and Seattle
Giants vs. Marlins: Heston has the Right Stuff for San Francisco
Chris Heston (8-5, 3.73) is not young by age at 27, but he's just in his second year with San Francisco and first as a full-time starter. Heston has made a name for himself with a 5-0 no-hitter at the New York Mets on June 9th and he and his teammates are 6-1 in his away encounters despite a 4.43 ERA. This has occurred because unlike many other pitchers, Heston has received fantastic run support with 8.65 runs per game, which covers up a lot is mistakes.
Heston stuff is middle of the road but he has an almost 4-to-1 K/W ratio and has given up only six homers in over 91 innings. Tonight he and the Giants are -125 away favorites against Miami and while they are 21-16 on the road, San Francisco is only 17-21 when favored at -110 or higher. The Marlins Dan Haran (6-5, 3.38) has lost three straight, but he's exited each contest with his team not posting a single run until he was out of the game. The MLB odds seem a little high on San Fran in what appears to be close to a Pick contest, but we will side with the better club.
Slight Advantage - Heston and San Francisco
Rangers vs. Orioles: The Odds are Against Martinez and Texas
Nick Martinez (5-4, 3.39) has not been able to continue his sensational start, with one victory in his past five outings. The Texas right-hander is not a hard thrower (52 strikeouts in 90 1/3 innings) and has to spot his pitches expertly to be effective. Martinez has not done this of late and with an ERA over five in his past five and his control have not been sound either in averaging nearly three walks each time out.
With Texas having taken the first two games at Baltimore, those making sports picks are ignoring Martinez and the Rangers 6-2 road record and are viewing pure pitcher vs. team stats in making the Rangers +170 underdogs. The 24-year old Martinez is 0-2 against the Orioles with ERA of 8.71 and has been tagged for five homers in only 10 1/3 innings.
Baltimore's Wei-Yin Chen (3-4, 2.90) on the other hand is a perfect 4-0 with an excellent 1.67 ERA against Texas, enough said.
Disadvantage - Martinez and Texas