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Sat, 05/03/14 - 9:05 PM Bryan Leonard | MLB Money Line
double-dime bet 978 ANA (-135) Westgate vs 977 TEX
Results: W, $200
978 Texas at LA Angels

Matt Harrison will make his second start of the season on Saturday night when his Rangers take on Garrett Richards and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Harrison posted a respectable stat line in his first start since April 6, 2013, but data from his start shows some concerning signs. Harrison is still attempting to build up arm strength, sitting right around 90 mph like he was when it was determined that he needed surgery after that April 2013 start. By Baseball Info Solutions data, Harrison threw only 32.6 percent of his pitches in the strike zone and fell behind 1-0 in the count more than 54 percent of the time.

Harrison was fortunate to draw the Mariners, who have been pretty brutal offensively and will struggle with left handers, in his first start. The Angels will present a far greater challenge, especially with a lack of velocity and while he is still searching for his control and command. Most of Harrison's advanced metrics and swinging strike rates were league average or worse even when he was enjoying success thanks to the Rangers defense. With a drop in velocity creating less margin for error and the long comeback after missing more than a calendar year, it would seem that Harrison will struggle.

Richards continues to be impressive with his mid-to-upper 90s sinker that must feel like hitting a bowling ball. Walks have been a small concern, but strikeouts and ground balls are always going to be the hallmarks of successful pitchers. Richards does both of those things very well. Sinkerball pitchers can have success anyway, but it's safe to say that Richards will welcome the chance to make another start at Angel Stadium, a place where the cool marine air keeps the ball from carrying much at night.

Because of where Harrison currently is in his return to the starting rotation, we feel that this line should be a bit higher than it is. This is a much tougher litmus test than the Mariners and Richards is throwing the ball very well right now.


Pick Made: May 3 2014 5:02AM PST
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