MLB Picks: Pair of Slump-Busting AL West Total Plays

Mark Lathrop

Friday, May 8, 2015 11:57 AM GMT

After a five day losing streak with my MLB picks, I had to take a break from writing yesterday to audition for a new film called “The Cooler 2.” The tagline for the first movie says, you have to play to win.

Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Angels
This American League West game seems too good to pass up as Jered Weaver is on the mound for the Angels and has completely lost it. Weaver even said so himself after his last outing: “I’m pretty much serving B.P. up there now. I have to work with what I’ve got.”

Yes, Jered you are, and all of the numbers prove it. His ERA is sitting at 6.29, BAA at .310, Slugging average against at .552, and his whiff rate is half of what it was last year. He’s getting hit, and he is getting hit HARD. I would not be surprised if Weaver was pitching through an injury, but if he isn’t he will not finish the year in the Angel’s rotation. Weaver had this exact same Houston matchup, with Roberto Hernandez, on April 17th. In that game the Angels won 6-3 on the back of Mike Trout’s 100th career home run – somehow Weaver escaped while only giving up one home run to Houston. The humidity could have been a factor in that as heavy air will keep balls on the warning track.

I love the over offered by MLB odds makers here with this being the second time Houston batters will be seeing Weaver this season. The A’s have seen him twice this year and were able to adjust the second time around to tag him for 2 home runs and six earned runs. Hernandez won’t be in danger of pitching a shutout against this lineup either, and has consistently given up 3 to 4 runs a game himself over his last four starts. This line should move up, so grab it early at 8.5 as one of your Friday MLB Picks.

MLB Picks: Over at Pinnacle

 

Oakland Athletics vs. Seattle Mariners
This game features two pitchers with extreme variations in BABIP, or batted average on balls in play. I call this the ‘luck’ statistic, as of all the advanced statistics out there it has a highest tendency to normalize over time. A ground ball to the right side can be right at the second baseman, or 10 feet over, and one ball will be a hit and the other an out. What that ends up being off the bat is based on something so minute as to be random. So in this case a “ground ball to the right side” is the equivalent of flipping a coin.

Seattle Mariner Taijaun Walker’s BABIP is currently sitting at .400, which is well over a 100 basis points from his average. He’s been unlucky or the victim of bad defense or both. On the other end of the spectrum, Oakland’s Sonny Gray is sporting a shiny BABIP of .233. Now, he’s improved his slider a bit this year, but not by that much. His BABIP usually sits around .277. To speak of the consistency of this statistic for any given pitcher, Gray’s BABIP for the 2014 season was .277 and for the 2013 season it was .276. Flip enough coins and you eventually get 50/50 (put 12 monkeys in a room with typewriters and well… that’s a different story).

The MLB Pick: Just like my recent losing streak and BABIP, you flip that coin enough and eventually you will get heads. I’ve lost my last four over MLB picks and I’m sticking with it here, with the total line at a reasonable 7 runs to boot.