Seattle Mariners are the Underdog MLB Pick in Baltimore

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 5:24 PM GMT

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Tuesday.

 



The road underdogs could hold value Tuesday night in a matchup of two teams off to disappointing starts as both were expected to compete for their respective division titles when Taijuan Walker and those Seattle Mariners (17-20, 6-10 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Miguel Gonzalez and the Baltimore Orioles (16-19, 11-8 home) in the first game of a three-game series from Camden Yards in Baltimore, MD at 7:05 ET in a game available on MASN2.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Seattle as a moderate road underdog for this contest at current odds of +114.


Both Teams Three Games Below .500
Now not everyone was in agreement in the Orioles’ prospects this season after making the playoffs each of the last two years including as American League East Champions last season despite seemingly overachieving based on their statistics both years. And those expecting regression are seemingly right so far with Baltimore sitting at just 16-19 while in fourth place in the division, although they remain just four games behind the first place New York Yankees.

The optimism surrounding Seattle seemed to be more universal after this team won 87 games last year, and a return to the playoffs this year for the first time since the 116-win team of 2001 seemed like a definite possibility. However, the Mariners have also been the losing MLB picks three more times than they have won at 17-20, leaving them in third place in the American League West and already seven games behind the upstart Houston Astros in first.


Nelson Cruz Returns to Baltimore
One of the main reasons for the optimism surrounding the Mariners was the addition of a true clean-up hitter in Nelson Cruz to the 87-win team of 2014 with the rest of the lineup being virtually unchanged. And Cruz is doing his part by again leading the Major Leagues in home runs currently with 15 dingers after leading the major with 40 last year. He also now returns to the stadium he called home last year while with the Orioles.

However, the Mariners also expected tonight’s starter, the highly touted Walker, to seamlessly step right into the rotation in his first full season in the majors after a couple of cups of coffee at the big league level the last two years, but that has not been the case as he is 1-4 with a bloated 7.22 ERA, 1.72 WHIP and a .309 batting average allowed.

But believe it or not, Walker has allowed three runs or less in four of his last five starts, most recently holding the San Diego Padres to two runs on just four hits in six innings of a rather unlucky 4-2 loss in his last start last Wednesday, so at least he is heading in the right direction since his horrendous first two starts this year over which he allowed 14 earned runs in 7.1 innings!

Also his arm is certainly live as he has 33 strikeouts in 33.2 innings vs. 15 walks, and he has also been plagued by allowing an unlucky .359 BABIP, which is the highest on the Seattle starting staff and does not figure to continue. This is also the first time the Orioles have ever faced Walker, which is usually to the pitcher’s advantage.


Bad Peripherals for Gonzalez
Then there is the opposite case of Gonzalez, who does not appear to be nearly as good as his surface numbers. Miguel enters this contest 4-2 with a 2.93 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and a .206 batting average allowed and he has had two starts of not allowing a single earned run in his last three outings sandwiched around one shaky start vs. the Yankees.

However, are Gonzalez’s mainstream numbers legitimate? We think not when you consider that his has a weak command ratio with 7.12 strikeouts vs. a high 3.56 walks per nine innings, and he has benefitted greatly from allowing just a .237 BABIP. Also Gonzalez has not fared well in his two career starts vs. the Mariners, both coming last year when Cruz was still batting cleanup for Baltimore, as Seattle reached him for five earned runs on 15 hits in 11 innings.

Gonzalez also does not usually work deeply into games, which is an added concern considering how shaky the Baltimore bullpen has been as of late.


Hotter Seattle Bullpen
In fact the Orioles’ bullpen has an ugly 5.79 ERA and 1.61 WHIP over the last five games, while the Seattle bullpen has been hot over that same five-game span with a 1.54 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 12 strikeouts over 11.2 innings.

All things considered the Mariners appear to offer good value here, so back Seattle at an underdog price visiting Baltimore on Tuesday.

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MLB Pick: Mariners +114