Yesterday, I made a bold statement when I expected Cardinals pitcher Kwang Hyun Kim to throw a complete game shutout against the Milwaukee Brewers. Kim and his Cardinals were betting underdogs, which made my prediction even more controversial and throw in the fact that he was making his first start since returning from the IL, and you might have thought I was a little crazy.
With a performance like that being so unlikely, it made it even sweeter when Kim came through and pitched the entire seven innings last night, without allowing a single run. Kim was in command of his pitches all evening long and dominated. The only problem was that his Cardinals team couldn’t manage to score him even a single run of support through the first seven innings of play.
Rookie of the Year? pic.twitter.com/oqC2Hna3RP
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 14, 2020
This game was all tied up at 0-0 heading into extra innings, and when the Cardinals scored in the top of the frame, on a Tommy Edman two-out RBI single, Kim was in line for the win, and so were we. But alas, it was not to be, as the Cardinals brought in closer Ryan Helsley to slam the door shut in the bottom of the eighth, and he promptly gave the game away.
We have been running outrageously bad late in games with a lead in the last two weeks, which has spoiled what would have been an epically profitable finish to the regular season. We are still grinding out a profit, but if we could find a way to hold onto some of these late leads, we would be on fire. We will try and hold onto a win tonight, as we head to Colorado to break down all of the action between the A’s and the Rockies for today’s free daily betting pick.
Oakland Athletics (30-18) at Colorado Rockies (21-25)
The Colorado Rockies are in desperate need of a series win as they host the Oakland Athletics in game one of a quick two-game set. The Rockies have lost five out of their last six games and are currently on the outside looking in for the National League playoffs. The NL wild-card race is crowded, and the Rockies trail the San Francisco Giants by two games for the final playoff spot in the league.
For Oakland, the Athletics have been treading water the last three weeks, but remain just a game and a half back of the Chicago White Sox for the top seed in the American League playoffs. Oakland blew a 5-0 lead in game one of a doubleheader yesterday against the Seattle Mariners, before getting revenge in game two, with a 9-0 blowout victory, to split the set.
Starting tonight for the Athletics is Sean Manaea (4-2 4.46 ERA), and for the Rockies, it is Antonio Senzatela (3-2 3.69 ERA). The game total over/under is set at eleven and a half runs. The A’s are -167 road favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 5:40 PM PST from Coors Field in Colorado.
Most people thought that the Oakland Athletics would have more power this year, than they had last season, when they hit more home runs than any team in history had before 2019. They looked like their roster was even stronger than before and were expected to mash in 2020. And while the offense hasn’t been nearly as good as expected, they are starting to heat up late in the season.
That’s not to say that the A’s are a bad hitting team, they are 9th in the majors in runs scored, but they have only hit 62 homers, which puts them smack dab in the middle of MLB in dingers, not a place that many expected they would be. But in the last week or so, the bats are finally starting to come alive for Oakland. They have scored nine runs or more three times in their last six games. If they can find a way to continue that type of run production, they are going to lock up that top seed in the AL by the end of the regular season.
Sean Manaea (4-2 4.46 ERA)
It’s not just the Oakland bats that are heating up; Sean Manaea is finding his groove lately as well. Manaea got hammered in his first four starts of the season, but in his last five starts, he has been significantly improved. In his last five starts, Manaea has pitched a combined 27.1 innings and has allowed just six earned runs. That is good for a 1.98 ERA, and the A’s have won all five games.
After a hot start to the season that saw the Rockies in first place, with the best record in the National League, after a couple of weeks of play, Colorado has really struggled. Colorado had a brutal stretch of games where they lost twelve out of fourteen contests in August, and in the last three weeks, they are just 5-10 in their last fifteen. But the Rockies aren’t out of it yet, as they trail the Giants by just two games for the second NL wild-card spot.
The Rockies are lumped together in a pack of six teams fighting for two playoff spots. Right now, the Rockies are sixth in that group of seven, so it’s going to be hard to jump all of them and sneak into the postseason.
The schedule doesn’t lay out very well for Colorado either, as their next ten games all come against teams that, if the season were to end today, would be in the playoffs. That being said, this season has shown us that anything can happen, and Colorado still has a fighting chance at extending their season with just two weeks of play left in the regular season.
Antonio Senzatela (3-2 3.69 ERA)
Antonio Senzatela is happy to finally get to pitch against a team that isn’t the Los Angeles Dodgers or the San Diego Padres. Each of his last four starts have come against the Dodgers and the Padres, two of the hardest-hitting teams in the game. He did manage to shut down the Padres for seven innings on August 28th, but in the other three outings, he got roughed up for twelve earned runs.
Senzatela has fared quite a bit better at home than he has on the road this year. At Coors Field, he is 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA in three starts. On the road, he is 2-2 with a 4.15 ERA. He has managed to keep the ball in the ballpark by forcing a lot of ground balls, which has led to his success in the tough to pitch in, thin air, in Denver.
Who Do I Like?
If you wonder why the Oakland A’s bats are finally starting to heat up, you need to look no further than Marcus Semien. Semien missed some action with an injury but returned last week and has been hitting the ball hard. He has three multi-hit games in his last six games and has driven in nine runs. With Semien hitting well, this A’s lineup has been able to score a lot of runs, and that is what I expect to happen tonight in this game.
Antonio Senzatela has pitched fairly well at home, but we all know that Coors Field can end a pitcher’s hot streak in a hurry. The A’s are hitting well right now, and I see them scoring a bunch of runs in this game. In his last home start before the gem against the Padres, Senzatela got hammered for five earned runs in six innings against the weak-hitting Arizona Diamondbacks.
I very rarely take a team on the run line. It is hard enough to predict that a team will win a game, let alone win it by multiple runs. But in a game where there should be lots of runs scored, covering that run and a half is going to be easier than normal. Looking back at the last six games that Senzatela has started, the Rockies have lost five of them, and four of those five losses have come by multiple runs.
In three of those games, they have allowed double-digit runs and have gotten blown out. That is what I expect to happen tonight against Oakland. Sean Manaea should be solid and build on his recent success. And even if Senzatela is decent, the Rockies bullpen is awful, and the A’s are going to score runs tonight.
So, I will take a shot on the Athletics on the run line tonight. Expect the A’s to post a bunch of crooked numbers on the scoreboard, and don’t be shocked if this game looks a lot like the A’s game yesterday, where they won 9-0. Give me the Oakland Athletics tonight in game one, laying a run and a half against the Rockies!