MLB Odds & Picks for Indians vs. Mariners: Fade Cleveland’s Cold Offense in Matinee (Sunday, May 16)
Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: Seattle Mariners standout Mitch Haniger.
- The Seattle Mariners host the Cleveland Indians on Sunday to close out their MLB series.
- Seattle had been struggling of late, but looks to grab its third win in a row in this spot.
- Kenny Ducey takes a look at this matchup below and explains why he's backing the underdog Mariners.
Indians vs. Mariners Odds
|Time||4:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Sunday morning via BetMGM.|
After a couple big nights at the dish, is it time to start believing in the Seattle Mariners? They have scored seven runs in back-to-back games, and face a real litmus test Sunday against one of the best pitchers in the game.
With a lackluster offense backing up that standout ace, could we be heading for a low-scoring affair after a couple big nights of offensive fireworks? Or is the value with Seattle? Let’s look into the numbers and find out.
Indians Hit Bumps in Road After Sizzling Run
Before these past two games, the Indians were the hottest team in baseball. They’d won nine games in 10 tries, leaning on some absolutely exceptional pitching.
It goes without saying that it’s only a matter of time before your weakest starters buck the trend, and that’s exactly what’s happened here so far in the middle two games of this series. This meeting will offer a chance to reset the rotation with Shane Bieber taking the mound.
The righty hasn’t been quite as dominant as he was last season, but it’s still hard to deny he’s one of the tougher pitchers to get to in the American League. Bieber is still striking out 37% of the hitters he’s facing, which ranks inside the top six percent, backed by a whiff rate that’s in the 96th percentile.
One thing that’s been different with him is the fact he’s now using his slider as his third pitch, with 26.9% usage, whereas he only threw it 11.6% of the time last year. It’s obviously going to take some time to adjust to pitching differently, but there’s scary potential here when you look at the whiff rates on the pitch over the last two years.
The troubling thing for Cleveland is that these pitchers have had to be absolutely perfect this year. The Indians rank 26th in wRC+ this season, and 23rd over the past two weeks with an 86 wRC+ as well.
Aside from Jose Ramirez, and an unexpected surge from Amed Rosario, there’s been nothing worth writing home about here. Franmil Reyes remains in a slump, and Eddie Rosario had his struggles as well.
Mariners Have Things Going in Right Direction
This has been a wonderful weekend for the Mariners, who entered the series on a five-game losing streak after losing the first of four against Cleveland (a 4-2 defeat) on Thursday, nearly getting no-hit by Zach Plesac in the process. Since then, Seattle’s bats have blossomed in two identical 7-3 victories.
This team, which had been slumping at the plate over the past week, found a way against Adam Civale and Tristan McKenzie, and will now have to face the final boss that is Bieber.
While guys like Ty France, Jose Marmolejos, Kyle Lewis and Evan White continue to struggle at the dish, the Mariners have been given a jolt by Mitch Haniger, Dylan Moore and, most importantly, newly-recalled Jarred Kelenic.
The highly-touted prospect has delivered with three hits — two doubles and a home run — and three runs batted in over his first 13 plate appearances. It’s clear this is what Seattle needed to get back in an offensive groove.
As for Sunday’s starter, Robert Dugger will get the ball as the opener after the team’s failure to fill the fifth and final spot in the rotation. An injury to Marco Gonzales opened up a place on the back end, which was temporarily occupied by Ljay Newsome before he was roughed up and subsequently placed on the Injured List.
Dugger could go quite a few innings here, but it’s hard to say how many given the fact he hasn’t been stretched out yet.
The Mariners have mashed all season long, so there’s plenty of reason to believe this is the beginning of a big run at the plate for Seattle. Even against Bieber, I still think they’ll scratch across some runs here.
It’s worth noting even with all the strikeouts, the right-hander still sports a gaudy 44.4% hard-hit rate, which is consistent with how his career has been. This year, though, he has a .421 xwOBA on contact, which is more alarming.
Bieber can be hit, and the issue for Cleveland is a few runs could be a death sentence given the way this team has done at the plate. Worse pitchers than Dugger, and a bullpen which has pitched to a 3.90 FIP, have shut down the Indians. That said, I think there’s value here in fading Bieber.
Pick: Mariners ML (+180)