The Reds mustered just a single run last night, which should have been plenty poor enough to deal them their eighth straight loss. I joked yesterday in my column that the only way the Reds would win was if Mike Leake through a shutout. Well, he gave them nearly seven shutout innings and for good measure knocked a double down the left field line and eventually scored the game’s only run on a two-out Brandon Phillips flare.
I guess Leake did his fair share for the win. Unfortunately, it handed me the loss. Let’s try to get it back today with a week-ending winner.
Today’s Free Pick:
Los Angeles Angels +124 at Oakland A’s -134 (Total: 7)
Jered Weaver (13-7, 3.70 ERA) vs. Scott Kazmir (14-5, 2.73 ERA)
The A’s moved back into a share of first place last night after a 2-1 win highlighted by a dramatic eighth inning game winning run. They have taken the first two of this series and have a chance to deal the Angels a mighty blow if they can complete the sweep tonight. They’ll be in decent shape heading in tonight handing the ball to the man who has emerged as a staff ace, Scott Kazmir.
Kazmir is 7-1 with a 1.89 ERA in his last nine home starts, and his mates behind him have been nearly unbeatable at the O.com Coliseum as well. Oakland has gone 43-22 so far this season at home, good for the best in the league. They’ve won 8 of 11 head-up against Anaheim and have won all five home contests by a combined score of 33-15. The Angels do hit left handed pitching well as a team (.271, 4.85 runs/9), but Kazmir has been so excellent at home, I like him to pitch well tonight.
The Angels will counter with Weaver, which sounds good on paper, until you look at the stats on that paper… Weaver has struggled at times this season, and lately has been one of those times; he has a 4.79 ERA over his last three starts, and has swelled to 5.40 over his last five outings. He owned the A’s from 2011-2013, going 8-1 with a 0.87 ERA in 11 dazzling starts. However in 2014, he has surrendered 10 runs in nearly 11 innings this season.
Things change. This Oakland team is the best he’s faced since entering the majors, and this season is one of his worst. Add them together, and it’s hard not to back Kazmir tonight, especially at a reasonable price at home.