Well, I guess Jason Hamel stays in the rotation. The A’s new acquisition was fighting for his spot in the rotation and came through with 5 2/3 shutout innings. They weren’t perfect innings; he allowed seven hits and was in trouble more than a few times, but they were scoreless. He notched a win, failed to allow a single run, and after starting his Oakland career at 0-4 with an ERA nearing double digits, both he and the Athletics brass will gladly take the outing and smile.
We took the loss in the process, though I am still not sold on the new acquisitions by the Tigers and A’s making things a foregone conclusion. The Yankees fared just fin against David Price, though they fell 4-3 in 12 innings, just a day after beating Max Scherzer. And given that Justin Verlander’s reputation far outpaces his performance in 2014, and I don’t think either they or Oakland are invincible.
Let’s get back to a winning performance today and snap our two-game slide with a winner.
Today’s Free Pick:
Los Angeles Dodgers +138 at Los Angeles Angels -150 (Total: 8.5)
Dan Haren (8-9, 4.76 ERA) vs. Matt Shoemaker (9-3, 4.09 ERA)
It doesn’t get much better than watching Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw face off several times, so tonight’s game will have a lot to live up to, but watching two of the best teams in baseball face off in a inter-city rivalry with a pair of pitchers with plus-four ERAs on the hill could be a ton of fun as well.
Making matters worse for former-Angel Dan Haren is that he is facing one of the best offenses in baseball while mired in a career-worst slide. He has lost five consecutive outings and posted a 10.67 ERA in the process. I get that the pressure of following Kershaw is a ton to measure up against, but there aren’t too many pitchers on the planet whom following wouldn’t be awkward with numbers like that.
The Angels will start rookie Matt Shoemaker who is 4-1 in his last five starts with a 3.28 ERA. For the season, he has been excellent at home, posting a 2.84 ERA at home. I like him to have another good outing tonight against a Dodger lineup that has a ton of talent, but hasn’t consistently delivered. They’ve scored twenty runs over their last seven games, or less than three runs on average. Pair that with a pitcher that has gotten shelled of late, and it’s hard to like the Dodgers tonight, even at +138.
I’ll take a fairly strong favorite, but one that probably should be more in the -170 range given the offenses, home field, and the starting pitching edge.