Seattle Mariners at Baltimore Orioles (Game 1)
First pitch: 4:05 p.m. ET
Probable pitchers: Justus Sheffield (0-1, 7.20 ERA) vs. John Means (0.77 ERA)
Ah, a doubleheader game in this era of the seven-inning twin bills. Last season’s many double dips provided a whole assortment of wild affairs and outcomes.
Yet here I am going with my first doubleheader contest of the year despite a poor record on such games in 2020. I cannot pass up this matchup of rising southpaws in a seven-inning environment.
First of all, an advantage one can gain from picking spots in these encounters is that you’re limiting a reliance on potentially rocky bullpens, like the ones that will be involved in this Mariners-Orioles series. Better yet, there’s more of a correlation to how the two starters look.
That’s exactly what I want given the probables slated for this series opener. At least one of them, Means, appears to be in a groove through his first pair of assignments, having allowed only a single run to be scored across 11.2 innings. Notably, those outings came against the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.
A quick glance at Means’ pedestrian 4.53 ERA of a year ago might indicate the left-hander accomplished nothing special, but au contraire, that would simply be untrue.
Means not only etched an impressive 42-7 K/BB ratio in 10 starts, he also held hitters collectively to a .220 batting average, which actually ranked him in the top 20 among all Major League starting pitchers.
People forget that Means capped off his pandemic campaign in excellent fashion, too, churning out a 2.48 ERA and 0.83 WHIP from his five September turns. So, he’s basically just continuing where he left off, and as a result, I like him taking on an offense that struggles with left-handers.
As I analyzed last Monday in a victorious under, the Mariners are dreadful against southpaws. Last season they had the worst team OPS (.609) in baseball in that department and this tendency has continued into 2021, currently still dead last with an OPS that’s even worse (.456).
Additionally, since this is a doubleheader affair, we can expect Seattle to be sitting at least one or two regulars, meaning it will be a downgraded version of the bats.
Means will thus be in prime position to cover most of this game effectively, but what about the other starting pitcher?
Do not be fooled by that 7.20 ERA Sheffield acquired from his first start last week. If you watched (him do his part in our under), the 24-year-old was real solid and a botched double-play ball was the main culprit in the damage-filled inning.
Other than that, Sheffield looked a lot like he did last year in his first “full” campaign as a member of the Mariners rotation, when he made a career-high 10 starts. Like his counterpart tonight, Sheffield also ended strong, going 2-0 in four September starts with a 2.16 ERA. The thing that stuck out to me most was that he yielded just two homers in 55.1 innings.
Within the parameters of a seven-inning meeting, have faith in Sheffield and Means doing most of the work effectively.
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UNDER 6.5 @ -120 (Click to bet)
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Tuesday's MLB Leans
Padres-Pirates Under 8
Angels-Royals Under 8.5
2021 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 6-6, -0.72 unit
Yesterday’s Result: Rangers-Rays Under 7.5 (WIN)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit