For tonight's game in Anaheim our handicapper looks behind the MLB betting odds to find where the value lies in the total for this game. Check inside this preview article his free MLB pick.
The Anaheim Angels saw the defending AL Champion Kansas City Royals spoil their home opener last night, with the Royals winning 4-2 behind the pitching of local product Jason Vargas. Tonight in the second game of this series we have Jeremy Guthrie making his first start of the season for the Royals, and Jered Weaver (0-1) making his second. Weaver lost in the season opener in Seattle, giving up 8 hits and 4 earned runs through six innings of work. The weather is forecast to be perfect, 72 degrees and sunny at the 6:05 PM PST start time tonight. The Angels are favored in this contest, with the money line currently sitting at -129 at Bovada, with the O/U at 7.5.
Jeff Sullivan of fangraphs.com recently wrote an article comparing Jered Weaver’s lack of velocity to Jamie Moyer. In that article, Sullivan picked out an interesting set of statistics, the amount of pitches that Weaver throws while ahead in the count (MLB Rank in parentheses):
2010: 40.8% (5)
2011: 39.5% (11)
2012: 36.8% (54)
2013: 36.4% (73)
2014: 34.8% (99)
2010 was Weaver’s best season, and his velocity and control have continually dropped since then. His “fastball” is now sitting around 81-84 MPH. Now, this doesn’t mean that he’s going to drop off a cliff – Greg Maddux had a comparable skill set and made it work for quite some time, but he had impeccable control. The above stats indicate that Weaver’s velocity is declining, AND he is pitching with less control. It’s a dangerous combination when you are behind in the count and have to pipe in a “fastball” at 84 MPH in the zone.
Tonight’s foe has seen little of Weaver over the last 2 years, so we have almost an entire lineup that will be getting a look at him for the first time. We should assume that they have at least as good as a scouting department as I do. I expect them to be patient with Weaver, let him get behind in the count, and sit on those low 80’s fastballs.
Jeremy Guthrie takes the mound tonight for the Royals, and unlike Weaver, he has some history with this Angels lineup. Mike Trout has had considerable success against him and I also expect Albert Pujols to break his opening mini-slump to start the year tonight. Erick Aybar and Kole Calhoun also went yard against Guthrie in his only start against them last year.
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The MLB Verdict:
With Weaver still trying to find his command, and Jeremy Guthrie’s history against this lineup, the MLB pick tonight lies in taking the Over. I don’t know who it will be, but there is a good chance one of these starters gets lit up and fails to post a quality start. With the perfect weather and the ball carrying,
Free MLB Pick: Over 7.5 at 5Dimes.