Felix Hernandez certainly did not look anything like a king last night in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics. Hernandez got rocked for four runs in the first inning. After that disastrous first inning, Hernandez was actually very good as he pitched five more innings and gave up just one hit and no runs. But the damage had already been done, and the Mariners could never recover.
This one feels like we got really unlucky. Outside of that one inning, Hernandez pitched much as I expected him to and Oakland starter Josh Lucas got very lucky not to give up even more runs. Kudos to the A’s to put Lucas on a short leash in his first ever big-league start. Lucas loaded the bases in the first inning only to get bailed out by Nelson Cruz who hit into a rally-killing double play. Lucas got right back into trouble again in the second inning and gave up another run and was once again bailed out by a fortuitous double play ball.
The A’s pulled him after two innings of work, and it won them the game, as it was clear he didn’t have anything for this Mariners lineup. The A’s bullpen came in and managed to pitch seven innings of one-run ball, and Oakland held on for the one-run victory. It would have been nice to cash another underdog ticket, but what can you do, we came up just a little bit short. For today’s pick, we will look for another money line underdog winner as the Arizona Diamondbacks play the Oakland Athletics.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are in Oakland Friday for game one of a three-game weekend series with the Athletics. The DBacks are just looking to stop the bleeding right now. After running out to the best record in the major leagues in April, the DBacks have now lost thirteen of their last fourteen games and are seeing their once-promising season fall apart. The A’s are managing to hang right around the .500 mark and have won six of their last eight games.
Starting tonight for the DBacks is Patrick Corbin (4-1 2.60 ERA) and for the A’s it is Sean Manaea (5-4 2.71 ERA). The A’s are -130 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at seven runs. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 PM PST from Oakland Alameda Coliseum.
What is going on in Arizona? This team looked like they might be the best team in the National League when they finished up April with a 20-8 record. But since then, the DBacks have completely imploded. The struggles have mostly been at the plate for Arizona. This team currently sits at dead last in all of baseball in on-base percentage and batting average, and they are 29th in runs scored and 28th in slugging.
A big reason why this offense isn’t scoring right now is the season’s long slump of Paul Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt, a perennial MVP candidate, and lifetime .300 hitter, is batting just .200 on the season. This is a guy that can be counted on for thirty homers and a hundred RBI while hitting .300 every year. And right now, he is a sinkhole in the middle of this Arizona lineup.
Goldschmidt is used to competing to lead the league in home runs and this year he isn’t even leading his team. The good news for Arizona is that this guy is just way too talented to hit like this all year long. He has proven over the course of several years that he is going to turn it around and be productive, but that turn around can’t come soon enough for this reeling DBacks team.
Starting tonight for the DBacks is Patrick Corbin. Corbin is enjoying a career year. He is 4-1 with a 2.60 ERA. He too has been affected by this recent downturn for Arizona as the DBacks won five of his first six starts and have now lost his last four, despite him pitching very well. Corbin’s eighty-one strikeouts are second most in the National League, and he has given up three earned runs, or fewer in nine of his ten starts this year. I look for Corbin to continue his dominance tonight in Oakland.
Starting tonight for Oakland is Sean Manaea. Manaea has went from unknown youngster, to the talk of baseball, to back to relatively unknown in just two months. Manaea has been a guy that I have been backing now for a couple of years, very under the radar. He was like my secret weapon. A guy that could win you games, that was being priced very reasonably.
Then he threw a no-hitter against the Boston Red Sox, and my little secret was gone. Manaea wasn’t just a one-hit wonder this year either. He finished up the month of April 4-0 with a 2.25 ERA. May has not treated Manaea nearly as well though, as he is 1-2 and the A’s have lost two out of his four starts in the month. He has given up four runs in each of his last four starts after not giving up any more than two runs through his first six starts. Manaea is still very good, but now that he is a household name and teams are keying in on him, he is struggling.
This is another spot where given the opportunity to back a pitcher like Patrick Corbin as an underdog is just too much value to pass up on. I get it, the DBacks couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat right now, but Corbin is fifth in the National League in WAR and second in strikeouts. He can win you games with very little run support. I would consider backing Corbin as a dog against just about any team, he just has too much potential.
I love Sean Manaea, but right now his confidence is a bit shaky, and it’s a good time to pounce on him. It feels like these next couple of starts for Manaea are just an audition for all the playoff teams that need a new starter. He is likely to be dealt before the deadline this year to a more competitive team, as this is a page right out of the Billy Beane handbook. It is curious to see how he handles all that extra pressure.
The DBacks are going to win a game at some point, why not tonight in Oakland? I am going to back Patrick Corbin and hope that Arizona finds a way to put a couple of runs on the board tonight. Give me the Arizona Diamondbacks as small road underdogs tonight in Oakland at +110!