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Lefty Andrew Heaney has been a nice surprise for an otherwise banged-up Angels pitching staff in 2018
Welcome back to the LazyBets Free MLB Picks column for Friday, July 27th. We gave credit to an underratedly good Angels offense in Thursday’s pick, and they delivered by knocking around Dylan Covey and the rest of the White Sox pitching staff for 12 runs, winning 12-8 and giving us our 70th win of the year (70-51 overall).
It should have been our second win in a row - we’re still a bit tilted from Wednesday’s Red Sox-Orioles rainout. However, we’re ready to make the streak happen for real on Friday, as there’s an extremely juicy line on the table that we’re going to take advantage of. We’re sticking with the Halos, as they’ll be facing the most overrated pitcher on the most overrated team in baseball. Let’s get into it.
Seattle Mariners (LeBlanc) at Los Angeles Angels (Heaney)
We’ve already covered this exact Heaney-LeBlanc matchup once before, so the rest of this article will seem a little familiar to some of our more loyal readers. If you remember that article (or even if you don’t), I suggest you skip the rest of this and quickly go place your bets. This line certainly has a chance to move against our position as we get closer to game time on Friday, so the sooner you grab it the better.
The reasoning for our wager is the same as it was three weeks ago - the Mariners are still the luckiest (and thus, overrated) team in baseball. They’ve now won an amazing 10 more games than they should have based on their run differential, assisted by a ridiculous 27-13 record in one run games and an 8-0 record in extra innings. No matter how good your bullpen is, those numbers are truly unsustainable.
Another unsustainable statistic is Wade LeBlanc’s 3.44 ERA. While he has been preventing walks at an impressive rate in 2018, his BABIP and LOB% are sure to worsen from their current marks. There’s a reason the Mariners were able to pick up LeBlanc off the scrapheap this offseason for a minimum deal - the 33-year old has a long track record of mediocrity. We’re not buying into his hot start this year, and neither should you.
Andrew Heaney has also been a nice surprise in 2018, but unlike LeBlanc, the 27 year-old Angels lefty should be able to maintain this level of success going forward. While his 2018 ERA is a bit higher than LeBlanc’s at 3.66, his FIP is significantly lower than LeBlanc's due to a much better strikeout rate (8.81 per nine to LeBlanc’s 7.08). Heaney is the better pitcher already; we’re just not sure the general public knows that yet.
These two offenses have performed nearly equally well so far - the Angels are ranked 8th in wRC+ to the Mariners’ 9th - but we’d expect that gap to widen by the season's end. The Mariners’ Jean Segura and Mitch Haniger, Seattle’s two leaders in plate appearances, are vastly outperforming their projected stats and seem likely to cool off eventually. Even if the ageless Nelson Cruz keeps hitting bombs, there’s no way this Mariners team should finish in the top 10 in offense without Robinson Cano in the lineup.
Meanwhile, the Angels have just as many underperformers as they do overperformers. While Mike Trout is having a career year (even by his standards) and Andrelton Simmons’ bat has finally caught up with his glove, guys like Kohl Calhoun and Ian Kinsler have really struggled despite having long track records of success at the plate. The two of them combined for four extra base hits on Thursday, so we’re encouraged that they’ll be closing strong despite such ugly numbers overall. We thought this team could finish in the top 10 in the preseason, and we’re even more confident about it now.
With a clear edge in both the offensive and pitching matchups, we’re ecstatic to take the Angels at a bargain of a price: -138 on the moneyline at BetOnline. Look for the Halos offense to jump all over the overrated Wade LeBlanc and carry us to victory.
That’ll do it for today folks. Be sure to check out our newly revamped US sportsbook review page - there you’ll find some sweet sign-up bonuses, promo codes, and more information on your next sportsbook of choice.
Good luck to all you degenerates out there - let’s get a win!
Bet the Angels -138
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