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Angels at Mariners Pick MLB – August 24th

You gotta love when your OVER wager cashes in by the fifth inning.  That was the case last night with the Rays roughing up Hiroki Kuroda and taking a 7-1 lead in the fifth inning.  Only one more run crossed the plate all evening in the Rays 7-2 win, but it was enough to cash a fifth straight winning pick.

Tonight, let’s try to run it to an even half dozen with a nice weekend winner.

Today’s Free Pick:

Los Angeles Angels +115 at Seattle Mariner -122 (Total: 8)

Jason Vargas (6-5, 3.92 ERA) vs. Erasmo Ramirez (4-0, 5.94 ERA)

This certainly isn’t the glamorous game on the day’s docket, with Atlanta and St. Louis squaring off, and CC Sabathia trying to find his mojo facing David Price and the Rays, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t offer a decent value wager.

Neither team has had much success on the field this season, though at 15 games under .500 and 18.5 games out of first, the Angels (who are three games behind even the Mariners) are strong contenders for the title of “most disappointing team in baseball.”  Their troubles can be pinned in many culprits; the struggles of Pujols and Hamilton, the pitching staff with the second worst ERA in the American League, or even less stat based, the lousy locker room chemistry.   One place you CAN’T pin blame is on Mike Trout, who is backing up a historically good rookie season with an EVEN BETTER sophomore campaign.  He is expected to return to the lineup tonight, which is great news for the Angels.

Seattle, despite a similarly bad record, can find some optimism in their 2013 season.  Mainly, the success they have had with Felix Hernandez and Ishikawa on the mound.  However, neither one is ON the mound tonight, so I expect the Angel offense to fare well tonight.  For all the Los Angeles struggles, they are hitting .262 as a team, 4th best in the AL, and are averaging nearly four and a half runs per game.

The Mariners Erasmo Ramirez has a 4-0 record, but don’t get too hung up on that mark.  He has gotten 5.7 runs of support in his six starts, FAR better than average run support.  His ERA is a lofty 5.94 with a WHIP of 1.35.  Tonight I think the law of averages catches up with him, and his penchant for allowing runs becomes costly.

I expect the Mariners to tally some runs as well.  Vargas enters with an ERA of 3.92, 4.86 in his last three starts, and an overall WHIP of 1.42.  Add these two starters track records together and it’s easy to see a LOT of base runners, and runs scoring tonight.

I’d lean towards LA tonight, and they are a decent value at around +115, but my official play is on the total score eclipsing the 8 run mark.  I’m not sure I’ll get another comfortable in-bed-by the 5th inning cover, but I do like the chances of this one featuring some offensive fireworks.

Free Pick:  Run TOTAL OVER 8