July 24, 2014

Free MLB Picks: July 24, 2014

MLB Network will have Thursday night baseball for viewers, beginning with Miami at Atlanta in at 7:10 p.m ET and a couple of games in the 10:05 p.m. ET time slots with Detroit at Los Angeles (AL) and Baltimore at Seattle.

Matchup: Miami Marlins at Atlanta Braves

Date/Time: July 24, 7:10 p.m., ET

TV: MLB Network

MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook

Probable Starters: MIA: Henderson Alvarez (6-5, 2.64) v. Aaron Harang (9-6, 3.36)

Moneyline: Atlanta -138

Total: 7.5 +100/-120

The Braves will be looking for a series split on Thursday night when Aaron Harang and Henderson Alvarez face off in the series finale. The Marlins were victorious in the first two games by scores of 3-1 (10 innings) and 6-5. The Braves exacted some revenge on Wednesday night with a lopsided 6-1 win.

Alvarez left his last start early after taking a comebacker off his left shin. It was unfortunate for Alvarez, who was looking to bounce back from one of his worst starts of the season just before the All-Star Break. He allowed six runs on eight hits over five innings to the New York Mets to snap a streak of nine straight starts in which Alvarez allowed two runs or fewer. Alvarez’s 2.64 ERA is 12th overall among qualified starters and sixth among National League starters.

Harang has lived dangerously this month, but his 1.71 ERA wouldn’t make it seem like he has had any trouble whatsoever. Harang has walked eight and has struck out just seven in his 21 innings of work in July. Harang’s strikeout numbers took a sharp decline in June and that has carried over into July. Despite all of the contact this month, opposing batters are hitting just .228 off of the 6’7” right-hander.

Alvarez will be facing the Braves for the sixth time in his career and second time this season. He’s had no luck in those six starts with a 0-2 record and a 6.67 ERA in 27 innings. The Marlins are 13-7 in Alvarez’s 20 starts this season for a profit of 6.86 units. Harang will face the Marlins for the 17th time in his career, but more relevant is that this is his fourth start this season against them. He’s 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA, including a start in which he allowed nine runs in 4.2 innings. He allowed three runs in 12.2 innings in the other two starts. The Braves are 12-8 for 3.37 units of profit in Harang’s 20 starts.

Free MLB Pick: Miami

Harang has been sleeping with a rabbit’s foot under his pillow and a horseshoe lodged where the sun don’t shine this month. The Marlins aren’t a juggernaut of a team, but their best and most consistent pitcher is on the mound and Harang’s luck is too much to overlook at this kind of price.

Matchup: Detroit at Los Angeles (AL)

Date/Time: July 24, 10:05 p.m., ET

TV: MLB Network

MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook

Probable Starters: DET: Max Scherzer (11-3, 3.34) v. Garrett Richards (11-2, 2.47)

Moneyline: Los Angeles (AL) -121

Total: 7 -125/+105

Thursday’s premier pitching matchup is out on the West Coast as Max Scherzer, American League All-Star, takes on Garrett Richards, American League All-Star Snub. The Tigers took a series victory onto the plane with them as they bested the Arizona Diamondbacks 11-5 on Wednesday. The Angels lost a series to the Baltimore Orioles, dropping the first two games 4-2, and taking the finale by a 3-2 score.

Runs would appear to be at a premium on Thursday night. Scherzer has struck out nearly 28 percent of the batters that he has faced this season and has allowed just four runs in 20.2 innings this month. Scherzer struggled with his location coming out of the All-Star Break in his last start against the Cleveland Indians with four walks and two home runs allowed. It marked the second time in 20 starts this season that Scherzer allowed two home runs in a start. Scherzer allowed 17 of his 49 earned runs in two starts, one against Kansas City and one against Cleveland on June 17 and May 21, respectively. Other than that, Scherzer has a 2.38 ERA in his other 18 starts.

Richards possesses an elite right arm and the results of his raw stuff are finally showing up this season. His strikeout rate is above 25 percent and over 50 percent of balls in play have been hit on the ground due to Richards’s 96 mph sinker and sharp biting slider. It stands to reason that Richards would pitch well against the Tigers’ righty-heavy lineup as righties are batting .198/.284/.240 off of him this season. The All-Star snub may have been a blessing in disguise as Richards fired eight innings of one-run ball against the Seattle Mariners out of the break and he is on pace to go well over his previous career high of 157 innings in a season.

Scherzer will be facing the Angels for the sixth time and he’s fared very well against them with a 3-1 record and a 2.16 ERA. He threw seven outstanding innings against them earlier this season with nine strikeouts and just three hits allowed. The Tigers are 14-6 in Scherzer’s 20 starts for 5.18 units of profit. Richards will be facing the Tigers for the eighth time overall, but for the third time as a starter. Richards is 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA over 20 innings. The Angels are 15-5 in Richards’s 20 starts for a profit of 9.08 units, making him the fourth-most profitable starting pitcher so far this season.

Pick: Los Angeles (AL)

Richards will take this start personally against somebody who should have been a fellow All-Star. His arsenal works well against the Tigers’ righty-heavy lineup and the Angels have fared extremely well in his starts this season.

Matchup: Baltimore Orioles at Seattle Mariners

Date/Time: July 24, 10:10 p.m., ET

TV: MLB Network

MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook

Probable Starters: BAL: Wei-Yin Chen (10-3, 4.21) v. Hisashi Iwakuma (8-4, 2.95)

Moneyline: Seattle -125

Total: 7 -105/-115

Two Asian-born pitchers that made the jump across the Pacific Ocean to be Major League Baseball players back in 2012 will face off in this series opener between the Orioles and Angels. Lefty Wei-Yin Chen and righty Hisashi Iwakuma both wound up in very different places, but they’ll meet on Thursday night.

 

Chen has lowered his walk rate to elite levels this season and it seems to have helped his win-loss record, but home runs and extra-base hits have elevated his ERA. Fortunately for Chen, 14 of the 18 home runs he has allowed have been solo shots, otherwise his ERA could look significantly different than it does. He will have to contend with a Mariners team that is 21-13 against left-handed starters on the season. Chen has just two quality starts in his last six outings.

Iwakuma started the season on the disabled list and has been his usual self since his return. The Japanese righty has an 83/8 K/BB ratio in 103.2 innings of work this season and he’s been his usual spectacular self at home with a 2.81 ERA of 64 innings. Iwakuma started the first game out of the break for the Mariners, holding the Angels to two runs on six hits over seven innings. Iwakuma did have his scheduled start on Wednesday pushed back a day, which may have been a bit of gamesmanship from Lloyd McClendon as the Mariners may be up against the Orioles in the chase for the playoffs later in the season.

Chen will be facing the Mariners for the fifth time in his career and first time this season. In his previous four starts, he’s winless with an 0-2 record and a 4.56 ERA. He allowed eight runs in 11 innings in two starts against the Mariners last season. The Orioles are 12-7 in Chen’s 19 starts for a profit of 5.21 units. Iwakuma will be taking on the Orioles for the second time in his career and first time since 2012. He took a no-decision in that start and allowed three runs in five innings. The Mariners are 9-6 in his 15 starts for a profit of 2.36 units.

FREE MLB Pick: Seattle

Iwakuma is 16-10 with a 2.74 ERA in his career at Safeco Field. A 61.5 percent winning percentage would equate to a -159 moneyline, so the value appears to be on the Mariners in this one. The Mariners also have a quality record against lefties and Chen’s impressive record looks like a mirage given some of the stats.

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Cole Ryan

Cole started off as a part time handicapper and a full time computer programmer. After developing a computer program that consistently provided winners in NFL, NBA, MLB, and college sports Cole went into full time handicapping. The computer program and his knack for winners made him a rising star in the handicapping world. His complex computer program based on algorithms and analytical calculations have led to a 60% ATS rate.