The infancy stage of the 2017 MLB regular season continues on Wednesday, with a host of action taking place throughout the day. You can never get too much out of the first week of baseball. And for that matter, the first month or two as well.
When the weather starts to heat up and the summer is in full swing, a clearer picture starts to evolve. In any event, we can all agree that the defending world champion Chicago Cubs are going to be a top contender to repeat.
How about the L.A. Angels? I think public perception of this team is at an all-time low, after failing to reach the postseason last season.
When you have arguably one of, if not, the best player in all of baseball, Mike Trout, an appearance in the postseason is expected at the very least. Further, when there is a contract like Albert Pujols on the payroll, the postseason is expected. Heck, a World Series was expected from the moment they signed Pujols.
Underperforming is an understatement with the Angels. Worst of all, the Angels are saddled with Pujols’ massive contract which no other team will dare touch. The way I see it, Trout is seeing his talents go to waste with this team in Anaheim. Do you think he minds playing here?
No, not at all. He’s the biggest player on the roster by far, making a considerably paycheck, and living in California. So, don’t feel too bad for Trout, but his team is probably going to fall short of accomplishing anything of worth in 2017.
The same goes for their opponents tonight, the Oakland Athletics, but the payrolls aren’t even comparable here. We look for a winning MLB pick tonight in California on the west coast. Head below for our free Angels vs. Athletics pick.
L.A. Angels vs. Oakland Athletics Pick
Garrett Richards (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Jharel Cotton (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Angels’ ace Garrett Richards received a little extra rest before getting his first action of the season. He’s struggled to pitch a full-season, unable to buck the injury bug and stay on the mound.
Richards managed to only pitch 34.2 innings before having to sit down last year. He was playing fine as well, posting a 2.34 ERA before he had to sit down. Richards will once again look for a season of redemption in Anaheim.
The A’s finished near the back in nearly every offensive category. They managed to score only 653 runs, which was 28th in the majors. The Athletics as a team hit .246, 26th overall. Oakland added Matt Joyce and Trevor Plouffe to garner some pop in the lineup. In true Athletics’ fashion though, those names don’t exactly evoke much excitement. It also doesn’t help a team who had the worst defensive rating in all of baseball in 2016.
The Athletics will opt for Jharel Cotton on the mound this evening, a guy who had some strong numbers as a fill-in late last season. This will be his first full-season as a starter, and he’s already being viewed as a sleeper candidate. Cotton posted a 2.15 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP in five appearances in 2016, and he was solid in spring training as well with a record of 3-0. I expect Richards and Cotton to write their names in the sand early in the 2017 campaign. Runs should come at a premium, so a pick on the UNDER looks like a solid bet.
PICK: UNDER 7.5 (-110)