Rangers at Mariners – MLB Pick for May 15th

by Taylor Smith
on May 15, 2018

Minute Read

Texas Rangers (+123)
Seattle Mariners (-133)
Total: 8.5

Tuesday night brings the beginning of a 3-game AL West clash between the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners in the Pacific Northwest. We’ll have a pair of veterans on the mound, with lefty Mike Minor getting the ball for Texas opposite Seattle right-hander Mike Leake.

Minor, who pitched as a reliever last season with Kansas City, has gotten off to a so-so start in his first season with the Rangers. The 30-year-old southpaw is 3-2 with a 4.73 ERA through 7 starts. He struggled last time out despite a golden matchup with a weak Tigers lineup, surrendering 5 runs on 7 hits, including 3 homers, in 7 innings of work.

His strikeout rate has come down considerably this season, which is understandable. Relievers are able to let it fly because they’re not concerned about pitch counts, etc. Minor is about a league average strikeout pitcher right now (19.1 percent). He hasn’t gotten himself into trouble with too many walks, and his SIERA of 4.30 is just about in line with the aforementioned ERA.

As is the case with plenty of left-handed pitchers, Minor has a super wide platoon split. He essentially negates lefties, but right-handed hitters give him trouble. He’s held his fellow lefties to a wOBA of just .230 so far, but righties have teed off to the tune of a .367 wOBA thus far. All 6 homers Minor has allowed this season have come off the bats of right-handers, too.

The Mariners are without Robinson Cano right now, but he’s a lefty, anyway. Seattle has plenty of dangerous righty sticks that could give Minor some trouble. Nelson Cruz has historically crushed left-handed pitching over the course of his career, and Minor will also have to navigate a lineup featuring Jean Segura, Mitch Haniger and Ryon Healy, among others.

As for Leake, he hasn’t pitched all that well, either. He’s 4-3 with a 5.72 ERA through 8 starts, though his ERA is certainly bloated thanks to one atrocious outing against the White Sox, of all teams. Chicago torched Leake to the tune of 8 earned runs on 12 hits in just 3.1 innings of work in a start late last month.

Leake has surrendered multiple earned runs in every start this season, so it’s rather unlikely that he goes out there tonight and pitches a shutout. He’s also yielded 7 homers already this season. Leake is a guy that has historically shown a strong ground ball lean, but that hasn’t been the case so far this year. We can expect some favorable regression for him in that regard, but the deeper numbers indicate he’s just not been missing enough bats.

Leake has historically struggled to keep lefties in the park, which is a troublesome attribute considering the Rangers have some good left-handed power in the lineup. Joey Gallo stands out, of course, but Shin-Soo Choo and Rougned Odor aren’t necessarily slouches in that department, either.

This looks like a good spot to hit the over tonight. The total of 8 ½ runs looks curiously low to me considering we’ve got a couple of mediocre starters taking the mound. It’s worth noting the Mariners have a strong bullpen behind Leake, but I’d be surprised if Texas didn’t put a few runs on the board while he’s still in the game.

Hit the over on 8 ½.

Pick: Over 8.5

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