Our strong weekend continued yesterday as we picked up yet another win when we backed the Cleveland Indians, in Chicago, against the White Sox. The game was a blockbuster on the mound as it featured two guys that both finished in the top ten of the American League Cy Young Award voting last season, in Shane Bieber and Lucas Giolito.
And while both of those guys are elite starting pitchers, I felt that Bieber was the better side of the matchup, and that the Indians were playing better baseball, and that only getting taxed -135 on Cleveland, was a bargain. So, I backed the Indians in what I expected to be a tightly contested game that I would likely have to sweat out.
And boy, was I right! We had to sweat this one out to the very end as the game was a back and forth battle that took extra innings to decide. Both starters were great as expected, with Bieber pitching six quality innings and striking out eight, and Giolito was even better as he lasted seven innings and struck out nine. In my pick yesterday, I mentioned the only thing that worried me about backing Cleveland was the fact that their closer, Brad Hand, had been a bit shaky in limited work so far in 2020.
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) August 10, 2020
Hand nearly gave the game away, as he came in to close the game out in the bottom of the tenth inning and immediately struggled, giving up an RBI single and walking a guy before the rain came and sent the game into a delay. The rain saved Cleveland, as they turned things over to Oliver Perez after the delay, and he quickly retired the side, and we cashed our ticket.
It wasn’t easy, but it rarely is when you are betting Major League Baseball! For today’s daily betting pick, we will head to Los Angeles, where the Angels host the Oakland Athletics.
Oakland Athletics (12-4) at Los Angeles Angels (5-11)
The Los Angeles Angels host the Oakland Athletics Monday, desperately hoping that they can find a way to turn around what has been a very disappointing start to their season. The Angels have the worst record in the American League and are coming off of a three-game sweep at the hands of the Texas Rangers in their last series. LA had hopes of competing for the AL West title in 2020, but entering game one tonight at home against Oakland, they trail the A’s by a whopping seven games.
For Oakland, the Athletics are on a tear as they have won nine straight games, including finishing up a three-game sweep over the Houston Astros last night. That win wasn’t without controversy though, as the teams had a benches-clearing brawl late in the game, and heavy fines and suspensions are expected to be handed down shortly. Oakland has the best record in the Major Leagues, and their five-game lead over the second-place Texas Rangers is the largest division lead in baseball.
Starting for the Athletics tonight is Sean Manaea (0-2 8.03 ERA) and for the Angels, it is Julio Teheran (0-1 6.75 ERA). The game total over/under is set at nine runs. The A’s are -125 road favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 PM PST from Angel Stadium in Anaheim.
The Oakland Athletics did what every team in baseball has wanted to do last night, and that is they punched the Houston Astros in the face, literally. Oakland had been hit by five pitches in the series, and when Ramon Laureano got plunked in the bottom of the seventh inning, he took offense to something the Astros bench coach was shouting at him and rushed the dugout with fists flying.
The benches both cleared as Houston finally got what they deserved, and the Astros role as the villains of the 2020 season is now cemented, as this will almost certainly end with at least one A’s player getting suspended. Remember, Joe Kelly of the Dodgers was suspended earlier this season after taunting and throwing at several Astros players. It would be a shame if this escapade derails what has been an unbelievable strong start for Oakland this year.
Sean Manaea (0-2 8.03 ERA)
The entire A’s roster is off to a hot start, except for tonight’s starter, Sean Manaea, that is. Manaea missed most of last season with an injury but was nearly unhittable when he returned late in the season for the A’s. In five regular season starts in 2019, he posted a 4-0 record with a 1.29 ERA and helped lead Oakland to the playoffs down the stretch. In 2018, he posted a 3.59 ERA and won twelve games, and many expected Manaea to take the reigns as the ace of this A’s staff in 2020, now that he is fully healthy.
But Manaea has had a tough go of it so far this season as he had made three starts and has gotten lit up each time out. He has yet to make it out of the fourth inning in any start and has allowed thirteen total runs, in 12.1 innings worked. He isn’t walking guys, the strikeouts have been there, and he has only allowed one home run, but guys are just barreling up on him and putting balls into play, and he is giving up a lot of hits, as he has allowed 17 base knocks already this year.
Los Angeles Angels
I’m not sure how things could be going much worse for the Los Angeles Angels right now. Andrelton Simmons is hurt, super prospect Jo Adell has been a major disappointment, $250 million man Anthony Rendon is hitting .103, and Shohei Ohtani couldn’t find the strike zone the mound, and has been shut down for the season on the mound.
With so many of their key players struggling, it isn’t surprising that wins have been tough to come by this year for LA. They have a total of just one series win, and that came against a Seattle Mariners team that has the worst record in the Major Leagues right now. If the Angels can’t figure out a way to string some wins together right away, they are going to see their season come to a premature end.
Julio Teheran (0-1 6.75 ERA)
The Angels knew that they needed to bolster their starting rotation in 2020 if they wanted a shot to realistically compete with the A’s and Astros in the AL West. So, it was a bit underwhelming that their big offseason additions for the rotation were Dylan Bundy and Julio Teheran. Teheran pitched for the Braves for nearly a decade and somehow he still isn’t thirty years old.
But he has seen his performance dip in recent years, and this season didn’t start out well for him as in his first start, he lasted just 2.2 innings, and got blasted by the Seattle Mariners. In that one, Teheran saw his pitch count balloon early as he walked multiple hitters, and gave up two runs and two base hits before being pulled.
Who Do I Like?
This is a complete mismatch on paper. The only reason that the line is a tight one is that we don’t know how hard Rob Manfred is going to come down on Oakland for their role in last night’s brawl. If you take out any impending suspensions, the A’s would be heavily favored tonight.
And while that is a concern for me, I would expect only Laureano to get suspended, and that probably won’t come for a day or two, so the A’s should have all of their guys on the field tonight in LA. If that is the case, I love a bet on Oakland at this price.
I just can’t resist taking the Athletics as small favorites in this game. Something special is going on in Oakland, and while the impending suspensions scare me a little, I think this scuffle is only going to bring them closer together and fire them up even more. Maybe Laureano plays, maybe Manfred sits him down, but at the end of the day, I’m not sure it really matters. Give me the Oakland Athletics tonight on the road, laying -125!