If you are a Rays fan and a long-time supporter of David Price as many of the scantly 20,000 fans yesterday in the Trop appeared to be – yesterday went about as perfectly as could be imagined. Price dazzled, allowing just a single hit over eight innings. Yet thanks to a first inning error and an unearned run, the Rays were able to grab a 1-0 victory behind Alex Cobb. So, you get to welcome your favorite player back, see him be absolutely spectacular, and yet your team still gets the victory. That’s about as perfect as any fan could ask for.
However, as delightful as the day may have been for Rays/Price fans, it was a tough loss for the Detroit Tigers. The loss drops them to 1 ½ back in the AL Central and slims their lead to just a ½ game over the Mariners. Could the Tigers really miss the playoffs?? It seems a little early to be overly concerned, but the pressure is definitely going to be on in the Motor City in September…
Let’s get to today’s action with a full slate of good games kicking off the weekend.
Today’s Free Pick:
Los Angeles Angels +145 at Oakland A’s -160 (Total: 7)
Hector Santiago (3-7, 3.46 ERA) vs. Sonny Gray (12-7, 2.99 ERA)
This absolutely massive series between arguably the two best teams in baseball kicks off tonight, and the A’s will have their ace on the mound. Or will they?
Sonny Gray has been their horse all season long, but his last four starts have been troubling. He has lost four straight starts and has a 4.94 ERA over that stretch. He will need to be better if they are going to cool of the surging Angels. He has failed to get to the sixth inning in two of his last three starts after doing so in 20 of 22 previously.
The Angels will counter with Hector Santiago, who has been much better than his record. He hasn’t lost in his last eight starts, though he has notched only three victories in that time as well. He has posted an ERA of 2.45 in that time, and has kept the Angels in every game he has started.
That’s enough for me to like the value of them at +150 tonight. Yes, Oakland has been dazzling at home, but the pitching matchup isn’t a tilted as it looks on paper. Over the past month, I’d give the edge to Santiago. While Gray could snap back to dominant at any time, doing so in an enormous game tonight against the Angels is a tough spot.
I’ll take LA as a nice big plus-money value pick tonight.