Mariners left-hander Jason Vargas (10-7, 3.91 ERA) is slated to take the hill against Royals righty Luis Mendoza (4-6, 4.31 ERA). Which way should us baseball bettors look with our MLB picks in tonight's late night showdown?
Joe Freda’s 2012 MLB Record: 41-44-2 (-4.13 ROI)
The Seattle Mariners went 3-1 earlier this month in a four-game
road set with the Kansas City Royals, outscoring Ned Yost’s club by a combined
margin of 31-19. Thursday’s MLB schedule has the foes shifting to Seattle’s Safeco Field, where lower-octane
duels have had the UNDER cash at 6-1 in the Mariners’ last seven home dates.
Sports books opened Vargas as a 115 favorite,
while first setting the ‘total’ at a flat seven. The opening lines appear to be holding steady across the MLB odds boards.
Vargas stingy in Tampa
Vargas notched his third straight win in Saturday’s 2-1 victory
for Seattle as a 136 road dog against the Tampa Bay Rays. The 29-year-old allowed no earned runs,
giving up seven hits over six innings.
Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders drove in mates Casper Wells
and John Jaso for his squad’s pair of runs, giving Seattle a 2-0 lead in the
top of the first frame. Jaso finished
with a 2-for-3 night, while leadoff man Dustin Ackley went 0-for-4.
The tight affair’s three runs dipped below the ‘total’ of 7 ½,
making the UNDER 3-2 in Vargas’ last five starts. Seattle’s four relievers held Tampa Bay
without a hit in the final three innings, with closer Tom Wilhelmsen logging
his staff’s save.
Mendoza ends two-loss
Mendoza picked up his first win in three starts with Saturday’s
7-3 triumph for Kansas City as a 122 home favorite against the Minnesota
Twins. The Mexico native gave up all
three of Minnesota’s runs, allowing seven hits over 6 1/3 innings.
Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain went 3-for-4 from the cleanup spot,
logging a team-high three RBIs. Kansas
City’s Alex Gordon and Yuniesky Betancourt united to hit 5-for-9, combining to
drive in three runs.
The contest’s 10 runs leaped above the closing ‘total’ of nine,
dropping the UNDER to 5-2 in Mendoza’s last seven outings. Royals reliever Aaron Crow stood in for the
final two frames, allowing no hits en route to his season’s second save.
Back the Royals as road
Thursday’s first pitch is scheduled for 10:10 p.m. (ET). The four-game series continues Friday night
with Kansas City’s Jeremy Guthrie expected to face Seattle’s Blake Beavan in a
battle of right-handed starters.
I am adding the Royals and Mendoza to my baseball picks for the night’s
card, looking for a mild upset to start the series.
Mendoza has put together a respectable run of recent outings,
while giving up just nine earned runs in 30 2/3 IP over his five road
starts. The sixth-year hurler’s last
four starts away from home saw the Royals cash at 3-1, returning a +3.01 ROI as
Vargas has been on a stingy streak, but has been overvalued at
Safeco with the Mariners going 1-4 in his last five home outings. The California native gave up at least one
homer in each of those starts, with the picture not looking much different
against some of Kansas City’s bats.
Royals slugger Billy Butler has cracked two homers in a 5-for-11
career mark against Vargas, while coming in with a long ball in two of his last
four games. Butler’s mate Jeff Francoeur
ended a 0-for-12 slump with a late homer in Wednesday’s 11-6 defeat for Kansas
City in Anaheim, building some momentum despite the team’s setback.
Seattle has a meager 1-9 mark in its last 10 home games against clubs with
losing records, while going 1-4 in its last five series openers overall. Look for Kansas City to steal the first game
of this set, edging out Saunders and Co. with just enough octane to cash.
Free MLB Picks: Take the Royals