Shaky Starters Makes ‘Over’ Your MLB Pick In Angels vs. Athletics

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 5:31 PM GMT

A couple of suspect starting pitchers that are probably not as good as their decent respective first starts could give value to the ‘over’ totals on the MLB odds when the Angels visit the Athletics.

MLB Record: 6-2, +5.01

There could be a higher scoring game than the total suggests Tuesday night in a matchup of two pitchers that probably pitched a bit above their normal capabilities in their first starts when southpaw Hector Santiago and the Los Angeles Angels (3-4, 1-0 away) pay a visit to right-hander Kendall Graveman and the Oakland Athletics (4-4, 1-4 home) at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, CA at 10:05 ET in a game available on FOX Sports - West.
The posted total at Heritage Sports is 8 or this contest with the current MLB odds on the ‘over’ set at -110.

 

Oakland Troubles at Home
The Athletics are off to a 4-4 start, but what is interesting about their record splits is that they swept a three games series on the road over the Seattle Mariners and yet are just 1-4 here at home. The fourth home loss came in the series opener here last night 4-1 as ace Sonny Gray could not get it done as the A’s tried to build on the momentum of their sweep in Seattle this past weekend.

The Angels opened the season 2-4 before being the winning MLB picks in their last two games, first salvaging the final game of a home series vs. the Texas Rangers before taking the opener here in Oakland on Monday. Albert Pujols actually made his first start of the year in the field last night at first base with normal first basemen C.J. Cron serving as the designated hitter but look for a return to normalcy tonight with those two flip-flopping.

 

High Walk Rate for Santiago
Santiago pitched well in his seasonal debut last Thursday, limiting the Rangers to three runs (two earned) on four hits with seven strikeouts vs. two walks in six innings. However, Santiago has been inconsistent throughout his Major League career, often having good outings like last week but then being unable to piece strong efforts together, mainly because of his penchant for walking people.

Over his last three seasons, Santiago averaged 4.35 walks per nine innings while pitching for the Chicago White Sox in 2013, 3.75 walks per nine for these Angels in 2014 and then 3.54 walks for the Halos last year, so the two walks in his season debut were more of an aberration than the norm. All of those free passes contributed to Santiago finishing with a 4.77 FIP and an uglier 5.00 xFIP last year, when he was aided by allowing a low .252 BABIP.

Thus, his 3.59 ERA last season was not what it was cracked up to be, and provided the BABIP stabilizes, the ERA should skyrocket and converge toward his FIP and xFIP this year. It also hurts that he is facing a patient Oakland lineup that is adept at drawing walks, and remember the last time Santiago pitched in Oakland, the Athletics touched him up for five earned runs on four hits plus three walks in just 2.2 innings last year.

 

Graveman Pitches to Contact
Oddsmakers thought so little of the Athletics this season that they were listed as the longest shot of any American League team to win the World Series prior to opening day. One key reason for that is a patchwork starting rotation after the ace Gray, of which Graveman is a member for now.

Like Santiago though, Graveman also pitched well in his first start allowing just two earned runs on three hits in 5.1 innings vs. the White Sox. Unfortunately, also like Santiago, that season debut looks like an anomaly based on both his past and predicted form.

Graveman exceeded 100 innings for the first time in his Major League career last season, but he finished with just a 4.05 ERA, 4.60 FIP and 4.30 xFIP while pitching to a lot of contact, averaging just 5.99 strikeouts vs. 2.96 walks per nine innings. Thus, do not get used to good outings like his initial one this year, especially with his current ZiPS projection forecasting him to finish at 8-10 with a 4.43 ERA.

 

Trending the ‘over’
Finally, the ‘over’ is 34-14-5 in the last 53 head-to-head meetings in Oakland and 5-0-1 in Santiago’s last six starts vs. the Athletics. The ‘over’ is also 19-9-2 in the Angels’ last 30 road games vs. right-handed starters.

Look for those trends to continue here with both starting pitchers regressing to their normal abilities following promising first starts this year, so go ‘over’ when the Los Angeles Angels visit the Oakland A’s on Tuesday. Also check out our other high profit picks for the same day and beat the books. 

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Free MLB Pick: Over 8
Best Line Offered: at Bovada