By: Ron Patrick
How can we profit with our sports picks in this series? Read on.
Rangers-Mariners Betting Odds
Most online sportsbooks we consulted Thursday morning opened Seattle, with Felix Hernandez slated to start, at right around -145 for Thursday's series opener (10:10 pm ET) over Texas with Triple-A call-up Justin Grimm. Most books then bumped the M's to -155.
Also, the MLB betting odds at Bookmaker.eu were listing the Rangers as -125 favorites to win this series, based on the first three games.
Rangers-Mariners Series Set-Up
Texas just took two of three games at home from Tampa, missing out on the sweep by losing 2-0 Wednesday. The Rangers had scored at least five runs three games in a row, but got held to four singles and a double Wednesday.
So Texas has taken two of three games in each of its first three series this season.
Seattle opened this season by splitting four games in Oakland, then dropped two of three games at the White Sox. This week the Mariners just lost two of three games at home to lowly Houston. The M's won Monday 3-0, but got bombed Tuesday 16-9 and lost Wednesday 8-3.
Mariners pitching has allowed at least six runs in five of its first ten games. And giving up 25 runs in two games to the Astros, who rank as one of the worst offensive teams in baseball, doesn't bode well.
Thursday's Pitching Match-Up
After going 13-9 with a 3.06 ERA last year, King Felix looked good in his 2013 debut, holding Oakland scoreless on three hits through 7 2/3 innings. But then he gave up four runs in 6 1/3 innings vs. the White Sox last Saturday.
In his two starts last year against Texas Hernandez was nasty, allowing just one ER and nine hits through 17 innings. The Mariners won both those games.
Last year Grimm appeared in five games, making two starts, for Texas, giving up 14 runs and 22 hits in 14 innings. But the 24-year-old righty also went 11-6 with a 2.81 ERA at AA Frisco and AAA Round Rock last year, walking 30 and striking out 103 in 135 innings.
This will be the first career appearance vs. Seattle for Grimm, who's in the Rangers rotation in place of the injured Matt Harrison.
Seattle OF Michael Saunders, who owns a seven-game hitting streak, banged into a wall Wednesday, hurting his shoulder, and might miss this entire series.
Texas IF Lance Berkman, who's got 12 hits in his first 25 at-bats for his new team, missed Wednesday's game, and is questionable for Thursday.
Rangers-Mariners Recent History
Texas took the season series from Seattle 10 games to nine. The totals on those games leaned toward the UNDERS by a 10-9 margin.
Free MLB Pick for Thursday
Seattle has the King going Thursday, but is cold offensively, scoring three runs or fewer in seven of its first 10 games.
Texas is going with a near-rookie on the mound Thursday, but has been scoring some runs, at least until Wednesday.
Felix was awfully tough on the Rangers in two starts last year, but he's beatable. And we don't like giving such a price on a team having such a tough time scoring runs. So despite our qualms about Grimm we're leaning toward Texas to take the opener of this series Thursday night.
MLB Pick: Take the Rangers at the +147 offered at Matchbook.
Bettors should check back at these pages for updates and more free MLB picks as this series progresses.
By: Ron Patrick
Texas took the opener of this series Thursday night 4-3, getting four runs in the first five innings off Felix Hernandez, who had stymied the Rangers twice last season, and five shut-out innings from its bullpen.
With the victory Texas provided its financial backers with a payout of +140, while those who backed Seattle with the King got clipped at -150.
Also, Thursday's game pushed its total of seven.
Seattle had a chance to at least tie the game in the eighth inning, but had a runner thrown out at home on a squeeze play. Rangers closer Joe Nathan then threw a perfect ninth inning to close things out.
The Mariners have now been held to three runs or fewer in eight of their first 11 games.
So the Rangers, who have won their first three series this season, take a 1-0 series lead into Game 2 of this four-game set Friday night.
Friday's Betting Lines
Most books we surfed Friday morning opened Texas with Yu Darvish as favorites of around -140 for Friday night's game over Seattle with Hisashi Iwakuma (10:10 pm ET). Many books then bumped that figure to -150 and higher.
Friday's Pitching Match-Up
It's a battle of Japanese imports as Darvish goes against Iwakuma.
Darvish opened this season with that near-perfect game against Houston, then got another win last Sunday vs. the Angels, allowing three runs in five innings. But he left that game because of a blister on a throwing finger
Darvish went 16-9 last year with a 3.90 ERA, but struggled against Seattle. In four starts vs. the Mariners Darvish got nicked for 17 ER and 22 hits in 23 innings. Texas managed to split those four games.
Iwakuma opened this season by holding Oakland to one run and two hits through six innings 10 days ago, then gave up three runs on four hits through eight innings last Sunday vs. the White Sox. That's two-for-two on quality starts.
Last year Iwakuma, rather quietly, went 9-5 with a 3.16 ERA for a team that finished 12 games under 500. But against the Rangers Iwakuma got touched up for 12 ER and 27 hits in 20 1/3 innings, covering four appearances.
Get the other great MLB picks for Friday, right here!
Seattle is already playing without OF Michael Saunders, and now it will be without Michael Morse, who got hit by a pitch on the hand Thursday night and is expected to miss at least the rest of this series. At the moment Morse is tied for the ML lead with six homers.
Free MLB Pick for Friday
The tipper for us on Friday's game is the absence of Saunders and Morse; not only will the Mariners miss their bats, but after watching 39-year-old Raul Ibanez botch a play in left field Thursday night, we worry about the Seattle outfield defense.
This might be a good spot for a gamble; while Darvish got roughed up by the Mariners last year, he's certainly quality. So we'll be bold and give the run and a half on the run line with the Rangers.
By: Ron Patrick
These two teams have split the first two games of this four-game series, after Seattle's 3-1 victory Friday night.
The Mariners got a two-run double in the first inning from Kyle Seager Friday, and starter Hisashi Iwakuma and three relievers made that stand up.
Seattle won Friday as a +130 underdog, and the game played UNDER its total of seven.
So the Rangers are 7-4, the Mariners 5-7 as the teams head into the third game of this series Saturday night (9:10 pm ET).
Saturday's MLB Betting Odds
Most books we surfed Saturday morning opened the Rangers with Alexi Ogando at around -140 over the Mariners with Joe Saunders. Many books then dropped that price on Texas about a nickel, to -135.
Saturday's Pitching Match-Up
Saunders, after going 9-13 with a 4.07 ERA for Arizona and Baltimore last season, began this season, and his tenure with the Mariners, by getting nicked for four runs in four-plus innings at Oakland April 3. But last time out Saunders held Houston scoreless through 6 1/3 inning last Monday. But of course, the Astros are not exactly a Murderer's Row.
So on the season Saunders has allowed four runs and 13 hits through 10 1/3 innings, with five walks and eight strikeouts.
Saunders started once last year against Texas, for the Orioles in that one-game playoff, and got the win, giving up one run and six hits in 5 2/3 innings.
After posting a 3.27 ERA in 66 innings as a reliever last year, Ogando began this season back in the rotation by throwing six shut-out innings against Houston. Then Monday he allowed one run in 5 1/3 innings vs. Tampa Bay.
So on the whole Ogando has given up one run and seven hits in 11 2/3 innings, walked four and struck out 12.
Last year Ogando made seven relief appearances vs. Seattle, giving up seven ER and 11 hits through 7 2/3 innings.
Don't forget to check out our pick on the Blue Jays vs. the Royals!
Free MLB Pick for Saturday
We had a winner with Texas Thursday, then a loser with the Rangers Friday. But because we got Texas at +147 against Felix Hernandez Thursday, and lost on a gamble on the run line Friday, we're up money for the series.
As for Saturday's game, we give Ogando the edge in the pitching match-up, and Seattle is still playing shorthanded, without Michael Saunders and Michael Morse. And we like taking chances. So, we'll go with Texas on the run line for our free MLB pick for Saturday.
By: Ron Patrick
Texas has taken two of the first three games of this four-game series, after its 3-1 victory Saturday night. Also, two of the three games in this series have played UNDER on the totals, while the other played to a push.
The Rangers got five good innings from starter Alexei Ogando Saturday night, then pushed across two runs in the top of the eighth to take a 3-1 lead, then had their hot bullpen close things out. Texas won as -140 favorites on the MLB betting odds, and also, to our delight, sneaked out a cover giving a run and a half on the run line.
The Texas bullpen has allowed one run in 11 innings of work in this series.
Seattle has scored a total of 10 runs over its last four games.
So the Rangers are 8-4, the Mariners 5-8 heading into Sunday's series finale (4:10 pm ET).
Sunday's MLB Betting Odds
Most baseball books opened Texas with rookie Nick Tepesch as favorites of around -125 over Seattle with fellow rook Brandon Maurer, with a total of eight. Most books then bumped the Rangers about a nickel, to the -130 range.
Sunday's Pitching Match-Up
Tepesch went 11-6 with a 3.67 ERA in Double-A ball last year, then gave up 13 ER in 18 innings at Spring Training. He then made one start at Triple-A Round Rock, getting a win with a one-run, five-inning performance.
Tepesch then made his official ML debut a successful one, holding Tampa to one run and four hits through 7 1/3 innings of a 6-1 Rangers victory Tuesday.
Maurer, meanwhile, went 9-2 with a 3.20 ERA at AA Jackson last year, then made the Mariners rotation this Spring by giving up just four ER through 24 innings of work.
But in his ML debut Maurer gave up six runs in six innings vs. Oakland, then last Tuesday couldn't get out of the first inning vs. offensively-challenged Houston, getting rocked for six runs and seven hits while getting just two outs.
The Mariners hope Maurer's struggles are just a matter of bad location, and they might be right.
Tune in to our Baseball Picks of the Day to beat those bookies!
Free MLB Pick for Sunday
Handicapping this game involves a degree of uncertainty with two rookies hitting the hill. But we do know one thing; neither of these teams is doing a whole lot with their bats at the moment. So despite two rookies going, we're leaning toward the idea of a low-scoring contest.
Free Pick: Take the UNDER eight runs offered at +107 offered at Bookamaker.