Our handicapper looks at the second game of this three game series and decides where the betting value lies in this matchup featuring Seattle's ace, Felix Hernandez. Can the bats finally come together for Seattle and support a good pitching effort?
It’s the second game of the weekend series between the Texas Rangers and the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. Texas nipped Seattle in the first game Friday night, ruining a 3 for 4 game by Nelson Cruz, who failed to hit a home run in his sixth game in a row. The pitching matchup features Seattle’s ace, Felix Hernandez, and Colby Lewis for the Rangers. In very early MLB odds Seattle opened as the home favorite on the money line at -219, with the initial O/U set at 6.5 moving to 7. With a little earlier game time at 6:05 PST compared to yesterday, the temperature will be warmer with the temp sitting at a very pleasant 61F and sunny.
Somebody somewhere has statistics on how players do on their bobblehead night. Well tonight is King Felix’s bobblehead night, so at least the fans will come away with something even if their team loses again. Felix left early in his last game versus the A’s on Sunday, feeling tightness in his right quad. After a Wednesday bullpen session, Felix was declared good to go for this game and should be just that. Seattle wouldn’t take chances with the face of their franchise after all. Felix has also owned Texas recently, holding them to a 0.89 WHIP in 2014. That is very similar to his 2014 WHIP he had in Safeco field, which was 0.86.
Colby Lewis couldn’t work around the big inning last time out, giving up a couple of long balls and 4 runs in the second inning of a 4-6 loss to the Astros. He did well to compose himself and pitch into the 8th though, while striking out 5 batters and walking none. It was good that he saved the bullpen the extra work too, because that game ended up going 14 frames before being won by the Astros on a walk-off Hank Conger home run.
Being in his second stint with the Rangers and on the team since 2010, Lewis has faced a few of the Mariner’s expected to be in the lineup tonight quite a bit with limited success (AVG/OBP/SLUG):
Kyle Seager: 8-21, .381/.409/.714, 2 HR
Robinson Cano: 5-12, .417/.500/.500
Austin Jackson: 11-28, .393/.414/.607, 1 HR
Mike Zunino: 2-8, .250/.364/1.000, 2 HR
I don’t know if ‘comfortable’ is the word here, but I don’t expect this group of hitters to be especially intimidated by a matchup with Lewis. The top half of the batting order for Seattle should see some success in the game tonight. Although if they get hits and are stranded on base it is all for naught.
MLB Pick: Although I firmly believe that Felix can right the ship and get the M’s back on track after four straight losses, I don’t think the money line is the value here. Lewis has struggled against the heart of the M’s order, and I believe they can tag him for a few runs tonight. And even though Felix is great at home, Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre actually have decent batting average against the King. Still, I think the winning team in this contest will only be able to put up at most 4 runs on the board, which would make an Under of 7 runs the value play in this matchup for your Saturday night MLB Picks.