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Sat, 05/03/14 - 4:10 PM Bryan Leonard | MLB Total
Free pick 972 HOU / 971 SEA Under 8 Bookmaker.com
Results: L, 0
Analysis:
972 Seattle at Houston

Hisashi Iwakuma will make his 2014 Major League debut against a lineup that he has had great success against in the past and Dallas Keuchel looks like his improvement is not just a flash in the pan. Iwakuma returns from a finger injury suffered during Spring Training and he should feel plenty comfortable taking on an Astros lineup that he faced four times last season and allowed just four earned runs in 26 innings against. He also struck out 33. Iwakuma is the type of pitcher that relies on mixing pitches and changing speeds, which also requires a high chase rate and a high weak contact. Iwakuma will get both of those against the Astros, who swing and miss the fifth-most of any team and have the second-lowest line drive percentage.

Dallas Keuchel has made a major adjustment in his repertoire, shifting from a fastball-slider combination to a sinker-slider combination. The results have been very positive with a bump in strikeouts and a ground ball rate of 64 percent, the highest among qualified starters. The Mariners entered play on Friday night with the worst strikeout-to-walk ratio against left-handed pitchers of any team, with a walk rate of just 4.3 percent.

We like this matchup for Iwakuma because he has a much greater margin for error against a team like the Astros than against most everybody else while he tries to get back to the near-elite command that he had last season. The Mariners struggle with lefties and Keuchel is a very underrated commodity right now because of the team he pitches for. Iwakuma is slated to have a pitch limit of 100, so both he and Keuchel should work deep into the game. Runs should be hard to come by with these two pitchers and these two offenses.

PLAY: SEA/HOU UNDER

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Pick Made: May 3 2014 5:18AM PST
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