Triple Play: Astros Roll, Two Contrarian Picks in Denver

Mark Lathrop

Wednesday, May 9, 2018 12:21 PM UTC

Wednesday, May. 9, 2018 12:21 PM UTC

Our expert MLB handicapper, Mark Lathrop, is cruising right at 60% on the season with average odds of +105. Here he takes another dog with a run line favorite to generate maximum wagering value.

2018 MLB Record: 53-35-4, +17.67 (1 pending)

Houston Astros (22-15 SU) vs Oakland Athletics (18-17 SU)

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Free MLB Pick: Houston Astros RL -110Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

Daniel Mengden pulls the short straw to pitch against the Houston Astros in a matinee game on Wednesday afternoon. Mengden does not pitch well against this lineup with a 7.22 ERA and 1.69 WHIP over 5 starts. The individual breakdown tells the same story as well, with five batters on the current Houst roster with an OBP over .400 against Mengden. His walk rates are down, but his hard hit, pulled ball, and line drive percentages are all at career highs in the majors. Scouting reports indicate that his funky delivery can be timed and will stop fooling batters sooner or later. This was definitely the case 11 days ago in Houston, as Mengden gave up 4 earned runs and 6 hits in just 2.1 innings pitched.

Starting for Houston is Gerrit Cole who is coming off of a complete game shutout of the potent Arizona Diamondbacks lineup last Friday. The former overall first draft pick is pitching the best he ever has with a 13.68 K/9, 1.60 BB/9, and 1.55 FIP. Nothing indicates these results are based on luck either, as his BABIP is sitting at a reasonable .247 on the year. He pitched against Oakland on April 29th and put up 6.2 innings of three-run ball while striking out 12 batters and walking none. In a game where the pitchers will be seeing the same team twice in an 11 day span, I’ll trust Cole and their lineup against Mengden to get things done in a big way, leading me to a pick on Houston on the run line as one of my Wednesday MLB Picks.

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@SBRSportsPicks @fangraphs Jason Vargas fastball/changeup velocity vs. Hard Hit% 2015-17. Don't know how he can snap out of this trend. pic.twitter.com/s2TVscYTda

— Mark Lathrop (@mlathrop3) May 8, 2018
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Los Angeles Angels (21-13 SU) vs Colorado Rockies (20-15 SU)

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Free MLB Pick: Los Angeles Angels ML +136, Under 11.5 RunsBest Line Offered: at 5Dimes

Rookie Jaime Barria gets his first taste of batting in a National League park with a scheduled start Wednesday afternoon against the Colorado Rockies. Barria has 3 starts underneath his belt and has put up a 3.46 ERA and 4.86 FIP over 13 innings pitched. He’s in the rotation because of multiple injuries for the Angels, but the 21-year old has held his own on the year. He’s not getting hit hard and is getting ground balls at a 44.2% clip. He has also not given up more than 2 earned runs in any appearance yet this year. He won’t pitch deep into games, which will expose us to the Angels bullpen that is carrying a 3.21 ERA on the road this year. I’ll consider that a positive in this spot.

Tyler Anderson gets the start for the Rockies and he will face a lineup that does well against his repertoire. Anderson throws a lot of fastballs, about 44% of the time, and five Angels batters have hard hit rates against a fastball of Anderson’s velocity of over 41%. He will have to have his changeup working to have a chance here and lean on his cutter as well. Either way, not a good matchup against an Angels team that is hot on offense and hits lefties at a .251 clip and is 13-3 on the road going into Tuesday. I believe the total line of 11.5 is based on Berria getting lit up though, so I see some value here in backing the Under and the Angels on the moneyline as two more Wednesday MLB Picks.

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