Two teams projected by many to make the postseason square off in Game 2 of the 2023 MLB Regular Season when the Cleveland Guardians again face the Seattle Mariners.
Game 1 saw both teams play to their strengths: starting pitching, quality defense and shutdown bullpens. Staff aces Shane Bieber and Luis Castillo locked horns and delivered 6 IPs of scoreless baseball each. The game was scoreless entering the bottom of the 8th, when Ty France eked out a 3-run HR that proved to be the difference. The Mariners ultimately won 3-0.
We should see a radically different game tonight, and we’ve explained why below. We’ve also found some betting value we hope to exploit.
Hunter Gaddis vs. Robbie Ray: Friday, March 31, 2023
Guardians starting pitcher Hunter Gaddis has replaced Triston McKenzie in the rotation due to a lat injury. Gaddis is #2 in the rotation in name only. The 24-year-old has middle-of-the-road stuff and isn’t viewed as a high-potential prospect.
Gaddis has only made 2 starts at the big-league level and was shelled in each of them, serving up 15 ER viua 15 H, 3 BB and 7 HR (!!!) in just 7.1 IP. Over 76.1 IP with AAA Akron, he put together a 4-3 record with a 3.60 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. He showed extreme platoon splits, allowing 28 H and 17 BB (1.52 WHIP) in 29.2 IP against LHBs. These platoon splits, combined with his extreme flyball tendencies (29.4% GB% in AAA) are two weaknesses we’ll look to exploit.
Mariners starter Robbie Ray is one of the most powerful left-handed pitchers in the game. While he has averaged 11.0 K/9 over his career, tonight he faces a lineup that struck out a league-low 1,222 times (18.2% K%) in 2022. For reference, Houston K’d a combined 1,179 times and was the only other team with fewer than 1,217 strikeouts.
While it’s a small sample size of just 80 ABs, BvP truthers will be weary of Ray’s .263/.306/.525 slash line and miniscule 17.6% K% against the current Guardians roster. Ray is the superior pitcher by a country mile and will be well-positioned for a win, but this is not a spot where we should expect big numbers from him.
Guardians vs. Mariners Picks & Best Bets For Friday, March 31, 2023
The Game Simulation from our friends at Ballpark Pal forecasts the Mariners as modest favorites to win a low-scoring affair. The cold weather will squash some offense, but Seattle should mitigate the damp conditions by shutting the roof at T-Mobile Park.
So, to take our Guardians vs. Mariners prediction and translate it to betting picks, we want to look at Seattle’s LHBs and Robbie Ray’s K props.
The Mariners will have 3 LHBs in tonight’s lineup, not including the switch-hitting Cal Raleigh and Cooper Hummel.
Raleigh is an intriguing boom-or-bust option. He hit 24 of his 27 HRs against RHPs in 2022 and consistently made hard contact at a 39.8% Hard% clip. His overall split sat at .211/.276/.609 , with a .298 ISO and 29.2% K%.
I say again: Raleigh is the epitome of a boom-or-bust option this evening. This means I’ll fade his TB prop of 0.5 (-165), but those of you who like HR props might consider Raleigh’s at +300.
This leaves us with Kolten Wong, J.P. Crawford, Hummel and the enigmatic Jarred Kelenic. I’ll continue to fade the last two at face-value until one of them puts together even one month of replacement-level baseball.
DraftKings Sportsbook has Wong’s TB prop set at 0.5 (-195), which is frustrating. He has a 2+ TB prop priced at +150, but it’s only available within an SGP. I would hammer that line if I could get it. We can’t, so we have to stay on the right side of value and look elsewhere.
Here are our Guardians vs. Mariners picks & best bets:
- Kolten Wong o1.5 H+R+RBI (-105)
- Total u8 Runs (-115)
- Robbie Ray u5.5 Ks (-125)
- Cal Raleigh o0.5 RBI (+145)
- Robbie Ray u17.5 Total Outs (-140)