MLB Free Picks – May 22, 2018

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MLB Free Pick

The Angels' Garrett Richards, who will face off against the Blue Jays in Toronto tonight.

Free Daily MLB Picks - May 22nd

Welcome back to our MLB Free Picks column.  We had a bad feeling about our bet yesterday when Chase Anderson (AKA The Luckiest Pitcher in Baseball) was able to escape the first inning after allowing four baserunners and only one run.  We were correct in feeling that way, as Anderson would only allow two more baserunners over the next five innings, Zack Greinke allowed three homers and the Brewers won, 4-2.

We’ve still got Anderson on our radar - we’ll be betting against him again soon.  For today though, we’ll be looking at the first game of a three game set between the Angels and the Blue Jays.  Let’s get into it.

Los Angeles Angels (Richards) -109 at Toronto Blue Jays (Happ)

Game Time: Tuesday 7:07 EST

Where to Watch: MLB.TV

Run Line: Angels -1.5 (-148)

Moneyline: Angels -109

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Angels Blue Jays Pick

The Angels have fallen off of the pace in the AL West as of late, after going 3-7 in their last 10.  However, there’s plenty of games left to be played, and there was a reason we made them our best bet in the AL West at +610 before the season started.  We believed that their offense had the talent to finish in the top ten in baseball - they currently sit squarely at 10th in wRC+.  We also trusted that their pitching staff would be better with the addition of Shohei Ohtani and with comeback years from Garrett Richards and Matt Shoemaker.  Shoemaker once again hit the DL after only one start, but Richards has been back to his old self and if he stays healthy, could lead the Halos back into the fray in the AL West before the season is over.

Richards’ stuff is clearly still there - he’s striking out a career high 10.22 batters per nine innings thus far in 2018.  This has come with an uptick in walks however - it seems like he’s still refining his control.  While both of those rates will likely settle back towards his career norms, Richards’ solid 3.47 ERA should be sustainable throughout the season.  While the question for the Angels is how many starts Richards will be able to make, we’re only concerned about today, and we’re confident that Richards will be able to provide a solid performance.

He’ll face off against J.A. Happ of the Blue Jays today, who is a solid pitcher in his own right.   Happ has had a long career since debuting in 2007 for the Phillies, and he seems like he’s only been improving with age, as he’s had some of his higher strikeout rates of his career in his early to mid 30s.  However, Happ has never been at the same level that Richards has reached - he qualifies more as a journeyman, middle-of-the-rotation starter, whereas Richards is a guy you want starting playoff games for your ballclub.  Happ projects to allow far more homers than Richards, due to his low ground ball rate - his 40.5% career GB% is far lower than Richards’ 53.0%.  When the ball ends up in the air, sometimes it leaves the park - hopefully that is the case for Angels sluggers like Mike Trout and Justin Upton today.

We were low on Toronto coming into the year, betting their under on their 81.5 win total.  They’re on pace to go under and we don’t think the series against the Angels should help.  We think the Halos have the edge on offense and in the starting pitching matchup, so we love the -109 moneyline currently being offered at BetOnline.

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