The Oakland Athletics had their chances in the past, but didn’t make the most of it. You can handle a rebuilding phase if your team was able to win a World Series. The A’s couldn’t do that despite having a team that looked the part. The Royals did it with a small bankroll and the Athletics invented that playbook around two decades ago. In a lot of ways, Oakland tried to do the same the past few seasons, but couldn’t make it past a few postseason appearances.
The closest they came to smelling the World Series, in recent years that is, was in 2006 in a ALCS loss to the Detroit Tigers. The A’s are going to be hard pressed to be back there anytime soon. There’s a fine line between having a small payroll and being a good team, and a small payroll that is not working out so well. This formula in 2016 is not going to play out the way they would hope.
The Athletics used to have a fairly capable rotation and bullpen. Their pitching all-around has been a strong point, but there is a fatal flaw this season, with many holes to be had in that department. Eric Surkamp will get the nod on the mound tonight for the A’s. This is part of the problem. Nothing against Surkamp or anything, but the Athletics aren’t going to scare many lineups with him out there. I highly doubt the Yankees are going to be too intimidated this evening.
After the Athletics got a divorce with Jon Lester following a rental in 2014, it was an indication to me that they aren’t going to be serious about wanting to win in the foreseeable future. They also parted with Josh Donaldson, and you know the rest of that story. For other teams, saving money by ditching an ace might make sense, but the Athletics need somebody to supplement Sonny Gray.
Oakland Athletics vs. N.Y. Yankees
Eric Surkamp (0-1, 4.00 ERA) vs. Michael Pineda (1-1, 6.55 ERA)
Surkamp has been around in the majors for a few years now, but has largely been a spot starter or in the minors. He hasn’t been at the major league level since 2014, other than one relief effort a year ago. Last season he appeared in one game with the Dodgers for only 3.1 innings. The end result was a 10.80 ERA, 2 home runs allowed, and 4 runs. In 2014 he came out of the bullpen for the White Sox and posted an ERA of 4.81 in 24.1 innings pitched. In 2013, 2.2 innings pitched equaled a 23.62 ERA. That was his last start since this season.
With that said, the 4.00 ERA he’s pitched for in 2016 looks like some gaudy numbers compared to the past. However, the A’s wouldn’t give him too much work, pitching 4.2 innings against the Angels and 4.1 innings against the Mariners. He hasn’t had the most impressive WHIP, with a number of 1.56. The Athletics will get a crack at Pineda, who is hoping to stay healthy in the Yankees’ rotation. It hasn’t been the smoothest of starts for Pineda, who enters tonight with a 6.55 ERA and 1.45 WHIP. Pineda has allowed 8 runs in just two starts thus far this season. I want to take Pineda and the Yanks here though, but I cannot back him at that big of a price or -1.5. Instead, I’m going to go with what I think should be an easier winner. I see this game as a total of 8.5 but the odds makers are giving us 8. I’m going to take the OVER 8.
PICK: OVER 8 RUNS (-105)