I didn’t roll out a pick yesterday, and my most recent pick from Saturday’s Astros/Rangers game lost.
I had the Astros on the run line in said game, and while they won, it was by a one-run margin with a 4-3 victory. Tough one there as I had the right idea but couldn’t get that extra run.
I will stay in the AL West division with tonight’s pick as I will take a look at the Angels and Mariners as they open up a three-game set from Safeco Field in Seattle.
In what is one of the tougher divisions in baseball, Seattle sits atop the AL West standings alongside Houston with a 41-24 record.
The Angels are 4.5 games back of the Mariners at 37-29 while they look to improve on an impressive 20-11 road record in tonight’s series opener.
Los Angeles Angels vs. Seattle Mariners
Andrew Heaney (3.12 ERA, 3.19 FIP, 1.10 WHIP) vs. Wade Leblanc (2.94 ERA, 3.94 FIP, 1.22 WHIP)
A couple of consistent, run-supressing left-handers are matched up tonight as Andrew Heaney and Wade Leblanc go toe-to-toe.
Heaney is coming off perhaps the best start of his big league career as he pitched a complete game shutout over the Royals, yielding just one hit and one walk in the process. That outing marked the sixth time in 10 starts that Heaney has allowed one earned run or less. While his 4.43 ERA on the road is notably higher than his 2.35 mark at home, his underlying 2.79 FIP on the road is a fantastic number and one that points to some positive regression away from home.
Heaney has enjoyed some nice results against the Mariners and at Safeco Field in his career. In three career starts against Seattle, Heaney sports a 2.35 ERA while he has posted a 1.93 ERA across two starts at Safeco.
Heaney will face a good Mariners’ offense tonight, however Seattle hasn’t been all that good offensively at home. Their team .702 OPS at home ranks 23rd in the league while their 32 home runs at home are tied for 20th league-wide. Of course, the pitcher-friendly Safeco Field has something to do with that as this venue doesn’t lend itself well in terms of home runs with a lot of fly-balls getting swallowed up by the spacious outfield.
While a productive season from Heaney could have been anticipated, the season Wade Leblanc is putting together certainly was not.
The soft-tossing lefty has kept opposing hitters off balance all season long and it shows in his result. He’s made seven starts on the season and has allowed two earned runs or less in six of them. The lone time he allowed more than two was in his most recent start, however that was against an extremely tough Astros offense in Houston. Leblanc has also allowed one run or less in four of his seven starts.
He has displayed excellent control with just a 5.9% walk rate which helps offset his low 18.7% strikeout clip. Leblanc’s high 45.7% fly-ball rate works well in this park.
While the Angels are among the league’s best offenses against right-handed pitching, the same cannot be said about their work against lefties. Their team .756 OPS against righties ranks fourth in the league, however that number drops to .694 against righties, good for 21st league-wide. Their .226 batting average against lefties ranks them 27th.
We can also make note of the fact that the Angels are without Andrelton Simmonds at the moment. That’s important because Simmonds ranks second on the team with a .310 average against lefties while his .438 on-base percentage also ranks second, of course behind only Mike Trout.
The roof will be open tonight at Safeco, but with temperatures in the 60s this park will once again favor the pitchers tonight.
With a couple of guys who have been very consistent in terms of run-prevention on the mound tonight, I will roll with what the numbers tell me and look for a low-scoring affair from Seattle tonight.