Offenses Won’t Be Nice to Pitchers in Mariners-Angels Matchup

Tuesday, July 10, 2018 2:09 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jul. 10, 2018 2:09 PM UTC

Los Angeles hosts Seattle on Wednesday night at 10:07 ET. Neither team’s pitchers will be spared by the opposing lineup, so expect a lot of runs to be scored as you ponder your MPB picks.

MLB Wednesday: Seattle Mariners vs. Los Angeles AngelsFree MLB Pick: Over 9 RunsBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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One common betting mistake is recency bias, which means bettors attach too much significance to recent results. For example, Boston’s Steven Wright allowed one run in seven innings against Seattle. A week later, he allowed 10 runs in 3.1 innings against the same lineup. Recent results are always misleading by themselves because they comprise too small a sample size to generate statistical significance.

Seattle’s Marco Gonzales (9-5, 3.64 ERA) allowed one run in his last start against the Angels. But that start came on July 5. Gonzales has already shown that it is difficult to dominate the same lineup twice in a row. For example, on June 2 and June 8 he pitched against Tampa Bay. On June 2, his FIP (like ERA, but factors out luck) was 2.67. On June 8, his FIP was 4.49 against the same lineup.

Gonzales has played with his identity in all four of his professional seasons. This season, his payoff has been a career-best 3.34 FIP. However, there is a major difference in his home/away splits. In Seattle, his FIP is 2.39. On the road, it is 4.28. This difference is important because of the three starts which he’s had against the Angels, including the last one, all three were in Seattle.

This year, Gonzales relies on four different pitches with at least 10 percent frequency and no more than 23 percent. His most successful pitch is the cutter, which he has newly developed this year. Opponents are batting .198 against it. However, he only throws it 19% of the time and opponents are batting over .300 against two of his other pitches, and .262 against the other.

The Angels get to see Gonzales a fourth time this season, this time in their ballpark. In 78 career at-bats, Angels batters are hitting .321 and slugging .526 against him. Look for Mike Trout, who is 6-for-12 with three doubles and a homer against Gonzales. Five other Angels’ batters are slugging over .500 against him. Against his pitches -- fastball, sinker, cutter, curve, and change-up -- Los Angeles ranks first in average exit velocity.

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Jaime Barria (5-5, 3.39 ERA) counters for the Angels. In his most recent start, Barria allowed only two runs against Seattle. But, he benefited from a high percentage of opponents left on base. Lately, he repeatedly has benefited from opponents stranding runners at unsustainably high rates or fortunately low opposing BABIPs (batting average of balls in play). His FIP (like ERA, but factors out luck) was over 5.00 in four of his past five starts and 4.43 in his last one.

Barria’s start to the 2018 season represented a continuity of his entrance into baseball in July 2017 in that he starkly relied on his fastball. Since then, he has worked on introducing more variety into his pitching arsenal and he doesn’t rely on any one pitch with over 36% frequency. His two favorite pitches are the fastball and slider. The latter has been lethal, yielding an opposing BA of .145. He is confident enough in it to feature it against right-handed batters in all scenarios, while against lefties he only focuses on it with two strikes. But besides his slider, Barria is vulnerable. Opponents are slugging .549 against his fastball and batting .294 against his change-up. He struggles especially against right-handed batters with them, against which he’s yielding a 6.58 FIP.

In 40 at-bats, Seattle batters are hitting a promising .325 and slugging .550 against Barria. Look out especially for Seattle’s righties. Guillermo Heredia is 3-for-4 with two doubles against him, Mitch Haniger 2-for-3 with two homers.

Familiarity helps both teams, who tend to go "over" against division opponents, and these lineups couldn’t be any more familiar with the respective opposing pitcher.

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