It was a weak performance by the Oakland Athletics last night, as they squandered an opportunity to pull in on the Astros in the American League West. Despite the loss, the Athletics are 4 games up for the final wildcard. A couple of months ago that seemed a little farfetched, so to be here in a competition for the top of the AL West is quite astonishing.
The Astros helped the A’s out in the wildcard, as they beat the Mariners two games straight. However, the ‘Stros also helped themselves by pulling away from the A’s, kind of. As it is now, the Astros hold a 1.5-game lead in the division. The Athletics are playing with house money. They weren’t expected to be here competing, but they’ve done a tremendous job to give themselves an opportunity here.
Trevor Cahill, who has struggled on the road this season, didn’t pitch his best in Minnesota a night ago. If they can just start Cahill in the postseason at home, if they get that far, the Athletics would probably be better off. Jed Lowrie knocked home a solo jack in the top of the 9th, but it made it a 6-4 game with 2 outs on the board.
That homer was big for some people, though, as the OVER came in thanks to the dinger by Lowrie. It would have been a rather unfortunate beat if it didn’t help, as there was already 8 runs by 4.5 innings. Sean Manaea isn’t coming off his best outing. He gave up 6 runs to the Astros, so he’ll be seeking a bounce back performance this evening. The Twins are slated to counter with Jake Odorizzi. Head below for the rest of our full writeup and free Athletics vs. Twins pick.
Oakland Athletics vs. Minnesota Twins Pick
Sean Manaea (11-9, 3.70 ERA) vs. Jake Odorizzi (5-7, 4.55 ERA)
The Oakland Athletics don’t need Sean Manaea to hit a snag at this point in time. The A’s have fought all the way back to put themselves in a position to reach the postseason, but they are going to need their pitching staff to hang in there and hold the fort down. Manaea has been a solid rock for the Athletics through the majority of 2018.
He must keep it together and come back strong against the Twins tonight. We’ll see if he can shake a bad spot against the Astros off. He enters with an ERA of 6.91 and 1.67 WHIP in his last three starts. All of which came at home, where he has been worse than on the road. Manaea holds a 3.50 ERA and 1.18 WHIP as opposed to a 3.86 ERA in Oakland.
He has been absolutely lights out against the Twins in 28 at-bats. They are hitting .071 with only 2 hits. Max Kepler and Robbie Grossman are the only two who have mustered up a hit against Manaea. The Athletics have taken Odorizzi deep 3 times in 41 at-bats and are hitting .220.
Odorizzi hasn’t been too spectacular in his last three outings as well. He’s posted a 4.11 ERA in his previous three, and he just allowed 4 runs to a bad Detroit offense. Further, he hasn’t liked pitching at home, as his 5.12 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, and .342 OBA indicates. I like Manaea to find a rhythm tonight against the Twins and lead the Athletics back to the win column Friday night.