Our week of underdog winners continued yesterday when we picked up another win when we backed the Minnesota Twins on the road against the Los Angeles Angels. The idea that I could get the Twins, a team with the second-best record in the American League, as underdogs against the Angels, who had a losing record, seemed too good to be true. Throw in the fact that Twins starter Jake Odorizzi had been of fire most of the season, and it was more than enough to justify the play on Minnesota.
Odorizzi continued his hot streak as he pitched five shutout innings, lowering his ERA to a blink and you will miss it 2.38 on the season. He gave up just three hits while striking out six. The game was a tight one though, and the Twins didn’t take the lead for good until the eighth inning when Miguel Sano blasted a two-run bomb. In the end, it was a great value spot as we picked up some nice dog money, and we will look for a similar spot tonight as the Cleveland Indians host the Oakland Athletics in game two of a three game series.
The Oakland Athletics are in Cleveland Tuesday looking to extend their season-long winning streak to five games. Oakland picked up the win last night in game one of the series 6-4, behind homers from Matt Chapman, Jurickson Profar, and Matt Olson. The Indians had won four out of their previous five games before dropping the opener last night and are quickly falling out of contention behind the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central. After yesterday’s game, the Indians now trail the Twins by five and a half games in the race for the central division crown.
Starting for the Athletics is Chris Bassitt (2-1 1.93 ERA), and for the Indians, it is Trevor Bauer (4-2 3.76 ERA). The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. The Indians are -127 home favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 3:10 PM PST from Progressive Field in Cleveland.
Don’t look now, but all the sudden, the Oakland Athletics are starting to turn things around. After a slow start to the year that saw last year’s wild-card winner spend some time in last place in the AL West, the A’s are now just a half of a game out of second place and are close to getting back above .500. The A’s have won eight out of their last twelve games and are hoping to stay hot tonight in game two against an underperforming Cleveland team.
The Athletics will turn to Chris Bassitt tonight, looking to take the series win. Bassitt didn’t join this Oakland rotation until late April, but in his short time in the rotation, boy has he been great. Bassitt’s ERA of 1.93 would be number one in the American League had he pitched enough innings to qualify. In five starts, Bassitt has an ERA of under two runs and has thirty-eight strikeouts in just thirty-two innings of work.
He was especially great in his last start, as he pitched eight shutout innings, allowing just four hits and striking out eight, against the Detroit Tigers. Tonight will be a bit of a homecoming for Bassitt as he is from Toledo, Ohio, and I am sure he will excited to pitch in front of his hometown fans. It will be interesting to see how well Bassitt performs tonight against a Cleveland lineup that is just 25th in the majors in batting average and 23rd in runs scored.
Trevor Bauer nearly won the Cy Young Award last year, coming in at sixth place, and he also made his first All-Star team. But you have to wonder if last year was a fluke? Bauer has always been solid, but his 2.21 ERA was a full two runs better than any other season he had pitched in his eight year career. When you look at how he is performing this season, he has been on a roller coaster all year long.
After starting out the season 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA through the month of April, things were looking great for Bauer. But May hasn’t been as kind for the veteran right-hander as he is 0-1 with a sky-high ERA of 7.41 in three starts. He has allowed seven earned runs in two of those three starts. And those came against the Baltimore Orioles and the Chicago White Sox, two of the worst offenses in the league.
The question in this one is, which Trevor Bauer are we going to see tonight? The one that looked elite all of last season, and through his first several starts this year? Or the guy that can’t stop getting lit up by bad teams? That type of uncertainty gives us all kinds of value.
Bassitt has been hot, Bauer has been struggling, and I will take advantage of both of these streaks tonight and make a play on the Athletics as underdogs. Does Chris Bassitt have better stuff than Trevor Bauer? Absolutely not. But baseball is a streaky game, and for this one night only, Bassitt seems to be the side to be on. So, I will take a shot at another outright underdog winner. Give me the Oakland Athletics as road underdogs tonight in game two at +117!