The Oakland Athletics laid the hammer down on the St. Louis Cardinals yesterday, as they opened up an 8-2 lead Saturday night. The Athletics didn’t let go of that lead, en route to an easy win against the Cards. Oakland got started early with 4 runs by the end of the 2nd inning and ended up with an 8-3 win by the end of the night.
Chad Pinder hit a pinch-hit 3-run bomb to lead the A’s with 3 RBI’s on the evening. On the mound, Mike Fiers continued to fly under the radar with another productive outing. A lot of people forget about that trade the Tigers made last season, but the A’s did very well in that deal for Fiers. He is one of the reasons that Oakland are thinking postseason with two months left in the regular season.
With the win on Saturday, the Athletics move to within a half game of the final wildcard. If the postseason started today, the Rays and Indians would be playing in the American League Wild Card Game. Behind the Athletics in the AL, there is a comfortable gap, with the Red Sox 5.5 games back of the final wildcard.
The Red Sox suffered another loss at Yankee Stadium yesterday, as they fell by a score of 6-4. There is time for them to mount a comeback, but I feel like that’s been the case with them for most of this season. We’ve been waiting for them to go on a run, but nothing has been good enough thus far.
They didn’t really go out at the trade deadline and land any marquee players, so I’m not sure the front office feels too confident. The Athletics will look to add to their lead over the Red Sox in the series finale against the Cards Sunday. This interleague series is only a two-game series, so St. Louis will be looking for a split here. Adam Wainwright will be tasked with leading the Cardinals on the bump this afternoon in Oakland. Tanner Roark will be making his first start with the A’s since getting traded there. Head below for our free Cardinals vs. Athletics pick.
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Oakland Athletics Pick:
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Roark was brought over to Oakland at the trade deadline, as the Athletics were looking for a depth piece to help their rotation. There were some small rumors about the Athletics going after a Marcus Stroman or Madison Bumgarner kind of talent, but that would have been so out of character for them. Acquiring big money contracts for rentals is not how the Athletics operate. Last season they traded for Mike Fiers and they got Tanner Roark this year. That sounds like the A’s.
Fiers has been a boom for the Athletics. Roark isn’t going to be expected to pitch like Fiers, but if he can stay consistent they’ll be fine with that. He goes into Sunday with a 4.24 ERA and 1.42 WHIP. Roark posted ERA’s of 4.67 and 4.34 in the previous two seasons, so this is pretty well consistent with seasons past. The Cardinals have done well against Roark in the past, scoring 23 runs on him with a .283 batting average in 152 at-bats.
Conversely, the A’s have notched just 3 runs on Wainwright in 43 at-bats. Wainwright is coming off one of his better outings of the season, as he shut down the Cubs for 5 hits and 1-run in 5.2 innings. He ended up being the MVP of that game, with the Cards going on to win by a score of 2-1. Without Wainwright dealing, they clearly don’t get by with just 2 runs on the board.
He hasn’t been good on the road this season, but perhaps pitching in a friendly park will help him out here. I’m not at all confident in Roark, and I think the Cardinals will bring a much better effort than they did yesterday to avoid a sweep. As underdogs, getting St. Louis in this spot at plus-money looks like a decent deal Sunday afternoon.