Major League Baseball Betting Preview & Free Sports Pick

Aug 6, 2014


Los Angeles right-hander Dan Haren is mired in a five-game losing streak over which time he has garnered a 10.03 ERA, allowing 36 hits and six home runs in 23 1/3-innings of work. Even more alarming is the fact that opponents have hit .340 with a 1.016 OPS against Haren. “I should be pitching better,” Haren said. “I feel bad for the fans. It’s the toughest time of my career.” Overall, Haren is 8-9 with a 4.76 ERA and 1.33 WHIP this season, including going 4-6 with a 5.40 ERA and 1.48 WHIP on the road and 6-5 with a 4.35 ERA and 1.23 WHIP at night. Haren’s underlying metrics substantiate his recent struggles:

Haren’s Metrics:

  • 3.79 xFIP & 3.88 SIERA in 2014
  • 3.80 xFIP & 4.79 FIP on the road
  • 3.54 xFIP & 5.24 FIP in July
  • 4.61 xFIP & 5.78 FIP in the second half

Haren is also hampered by a pedestrian Los Angeles bullpen that has been decimated by injuries on its most recent homestand. Specifically, left-hander Paco Rodriguez joined the disabled list along with right-hander Chris Perez (right ankle spurs) and left-hander Paul Maholm (season-ending ACL tear). Rodriguez was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a teres major strain near his left shoulder. Los Angeles pitchers will also have to contend with Mike Trout, whose 20-game hitting streak in interleague games is the longest current streak in the Majors and the longest in franchise history. Trout is hitting .439 (36-for-82) during that span.

Los Angeles starter Matt Shoemaker has made me a fair amount of money this season, and I have no problem going back to the right-hander for tonight’s free sports pick against the Dodgers. Shoemaker is 9-3 with a 4.09 ERA and 1.24 WHIP this season, including going 8-2 with a 3.88 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in twelve starts, 4-1 with a 2.76 ERA and 1.20 WHIP at home and 2-1 with a 3.06 ERA and 0.90 WHIP over his last three outings. Shoemaker is also 4-1 with a 3.29 ERA in his last five outings and is significantly better at home than he is on the road (2.84 ERA vs. 6.16 ERA). I also like Shoemaker’s underlying metrics:

Matt Shoemaker’s Metrics:

  • 3.23 xFIP & 3.18 FIP in 2014
  • 2.89 xFIP & 2.98 FIP at home
  • 2.80 xFIP & 3.14 FIP in July
  • 2.82 xFIP & 2.80 FIP in the second half

The Angels also possess a superior bullpen that owns a 3.53 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in 2014, including a 3.21 ERA and 1.15 WHIP at home, a 3.43 ERA and 1.20 WHIP at night and a 2.42 ERA and 1.30 WHIP over the last seven games. Those numbers should continue to improve against a scuffling Los Angeles lineup that is batting .237 with a .313 on base percentage in interleague play (3.6 runs per game) and .220 with a .270 on base percentage over the last ten days (2.9 runs per game).

From a technical standpoint, the Dodgers are a money-burning 12-25 (-14.4 units) on the road versus teams with a win percentage between .540 and .620 and 15-38 (-21.4 units) versus American League opponents allowing less than 4.8 runs per game, while Dan Haren is 26-37 (-23.7 units) following a win and 23-34 (-21.0 units) at night over the last two seasons. In contrast, the Angels are a profitable 32-13 (+17.5 units) off a loss, 38-19 (+13.0 units) at home, 34-14 (+13.9 units) as home favorites and 24-6 (+15.3 units) after two or more consecutive road games.  The Angels are Oskeim Sports free sports pick for Wednesday, August 6.

Oskeim Sports’s Free Sports Pick: Los Angeles Angels (-145) over Los Angeles Dodgers