Our red-hot week continued yesterday as we picked up another win at a great price. We backed the Oakland Athletics at +100 on the run line yesterday against the struggling Minnesota Twins. The A’s have been steamrolling the competition in baseball’s second half of the season and have put themselves in prime playoff position, and I strongly felt they would dominate the game yesterday. And that is just what they did.
The starting pitching matchup was a complete mismatch as Mike Fiers has been fire, pun intended, since coming over from the Detroit Tigers at the trade deadline. He was great yet again last night as he pitched five and two-thirds of an inning and gave up just one run and picked up the win for Oakland. The A’s are now 4-0 in games where Fiers starts. That move didn’t seem like a major impact one when they made it, but it sure is paying dividends down the stretch for Oakland.
For the Twins, they are experimenting with new pieces all over the field and last night’s starter Stephen Gonsalves is a guy that would never be starting on a team that was in contention. Gonsalves was actually decent, at least compared to his career ERA of 27.00 coming into the game. He gave up four runs in five innings of work, but it was more than enough damage to get charged with the loss for Minnesota. For today’s pick, I will stay right here in Minnesota as these teams wrap up this series with game four.
The Oakland Athletics are in Minnesota Sunday for the series finale of a four-game series with the Twins. The A’s dropped game one of the series but have battled back to take the next two games of this set and are looking for the series win tonight in game four. The A’s are just a game and a half back of the Houston Astros for first place in the American League West Division. The Twins are out of contention at this point, twelve games back in the AL Central.
Starting today for the A’s is Chris Bassitt (2-3 3.38 ERA), and for the Twins, it is Jose Berrios (11-8 3.69 ERA). The Twins are -117 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at nine runs. First pitch is scheduled for 11:10 AM PST from Target Field in Minnesota.
Chris Bassitt has been a decent addition to this Oakland Athletics rotation since joining it in June. His 3.38 ERA is solid, and the A’s have won his last three starts, where he picked up the win in two of them. He should have picked up a win in all three of them but came up a third of an inning short of qualifying for the W in one start. The A’s are hoping Bassitt can keep up the strong momentum tonight against a weak hitting Twins team.
Jose Berrios started out the season as one of the more reliable arms in the American League. The guy was consistently getting deep into games and was winning a lot. But as the season wears on, Berrios has seen his production slide a bit. After pitching seven innings or more thirteen times during the season, Berrios has pitched five innings or fewer in four out of his last five starts.
He hasn’t pitched al the bad, his ERA is at 4.48 so far this month, but he is putting a lot of pressure on this already stretched thin Twins bullpen. It will be interesting to see how well he performs tonight against an A’s team that can really hit the ball. The A’s are third in the majors in runs scored, fourth in slugging percentage, and sixth in runs scored. This is an elite offense.
This is just a bad number, period. Too many people focus too much on the starting pitching matchup and don’t pay attention enough to the teams that are playing. Is Jose Berrios the better starter in this one? Absolutely. Even with Berrios recent struggles at getting deep into games, he has been solid this year.
But when you look at these two teams, the Oakland Athletics are clearly the better team, by a wide margin. The Twins are 3-5 in their last eight games and have no shot whatsoever at making the playoffs. The A’s, on the other hand, have been playing at a very high level now for several weeks. The A’s are 15-6 in the month of August and have used that run to build a four-game lead over the Seattle Mariners for the second wild-card spot in the American League.
If you are still doubting this Oakland team’s chances at making the playoffs, you need to wake up. This team can hit the ball hard, and they pitch well enough to keep themselves in just about any game, against any team. Laying wood on a bad team like the Minnesota Twins late in the season is a recipe for disaster, and I am not going to take the bait.
I will back the much better overall team in this one, the Oakland A’s. Berrios will probably be decent, but at some point, this mighty A’s lineup will break out and put some runs on the board. Give me the Oakland Athletics as road underdogs today in game four from Minnesota!