Is there any better feeling than taking a shot on a big underdog and cashing a ticket with a jumbo payout? No need to answer; it was a rhetorical question. Of course, firing on big dogs and getting paid is the best! We got to experience that yesterday when we backed the Seattle Mariners at +150 in their game with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
To see the DBacks laying -165 against anybody was laughable, as they had lost nineteen out of their previous twenty-three games and were in free fall. Arizona starter Luke Weaver might be the worst starter in the NL this year, as he was 1-6 with an ERA north of seven runs before yesterday’s start. The number just didn’t make any sense.
Throw in the fact that this young Mariners team had been playing quality baseball in the second half, and I just couldn’t understand why anyone would want to back Arizona as a heavy favorite. So, I fired hard on the M’s and expected them to light up Weaver and coast to an easy victory.
The series is ours.😎
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) September 14, 2020
And that is exactly what happened. Seattle scored off Weaver in the first and the second and had him out of the game by the fifth inning. The Mariners built up an early 4-1 lead, and while they did make us sweat it out a little bit late, they held on for the 7-3 win, and we cashed our ticket.
The win was a huge one for Seattle, as they are now just a game and a half back of the Houston Astros for second place in the American League West Division. For today’s free daily betting pick, we will follow the Mariners as they head home to host the Oakland Athletics for a doubleheader.
Oakland Athletics (29-17) at Seattle Mariners (21-25)
Don’t look now, but the Seattle Mariners are right in the thick of the playoff race in the American League. The Mariners host the Oakland Athletics today for a quick one-day series, with a scheduled doubleheader. Seattle has the longest playoff drought in the Major Leagues, and they are within striking distance of the second-place Houston Astros in the AL West.
For Oakland, the A’s are coasting to the division title out west, as their six and a half-game lead over Houston is the largest division lead in all of baseball. The A’s do still have something to play for, though, as they trail the Chicago White Sox by just one game for the best record in the American League and the home-field advantage in the playoffs that goes with it.
Starting today for the Athletics is rookie sensation Jesus Luzardo (2-2 3.97 ERA), and for the Mariners, it is their ace, Marco Gonzalez (5-2 3.02 ERA). The game total over/under is set at six runs. The A’s are -160 road favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 2:10 PM PST from T-Mobile Park in Seattle.
At this point in the season, the A’s winning the AL West Division title is a foregone conclusion. They have been the class of the division all season long, and despite some sluggish results in the last three weeks, they are locks to take home the division title. But it is a little concerning that they seem to have peaked a bit early in the season, as they are just 7-7 in their last fourteen games and aren’t playing their best baseball as the playoffs approach.
The A’s have managed to play a very soft schedule this year, and many of their recent losses have come to teams like the Rangers, Astros, DBacks, and Rangers, that all have losing records. As Oakland shifts their focus to the postseason, you have to wonder how they are going to be able to hang with teams like the White Sox, Twins, and Rays in the American League playoffs.
Jesus Luzardo (2-2 3.97 ERA)
If you haven’t gotten a chance to watch youngster Jesus Luzardo pitch yet, you need to check him out, as this kid is fun to watch. Luzardo was a late season call up last year for Oakland and posted an ERA of 1.50 in twelve innings worked, at just twenty-one years old. With those strong results at such a young age, the hype on Luzardo was through the roof heading into 2020.
And while Luzardo has had his fair share of bumps and bruises this year, and to be honest, what twenty-two-year-old doesn’t, he has shown on multiple occasions why people in Oakland think he is so special. On August 19th, he pitched 6.1 innings and didn’t allow a run on only four hits. And on August 4th, he worked five innings against the Texas Rangers, again not allowing a run, on only two hits.
I have been riding the Seattle Mariners hard in the second half. Since Jerry Dipoto finally decided to take the handcuffs off of all of these young Mariners players, that he was moving along slowly, Seattle has been winning a lot of games. I keep saying that it is unlikely that Seattle can climb all of the way back into contention and make the postseason, but at this point, it just isn’t all that unlikely anymore, as they have won thirteen of their last nineteen games.
The Houston Astros are also helping the Mariners chances at making the playoffs for the first time since 2001, as they have lost ten of their fourteen games here in September. The Mariners have a tough schedule the rest of the way out, but they host the Astros for three games in the final week of the regular season and could play themselves into the postseason with a series win.
Marco Gonzalez (5-2 3.02 ERA)
Mariner’s GM Jerry Dipoto has spent the last couple of years telling anybody that would listen that Marco Gonzalez is his ace of the future. It was a bit head-scratching, though, as Marco’s results never seemed to quite justify all of the confidence that Dipoto had in him. Well, at least not until now.
After a solid season last year, Gonzalez has emerged as a true ace for the Mariners this year. His ERA of 3.02 is elite, and he leads Major League Baseball in walks per nine innings, at a blink, and you will miss it, 0.711. The next closest behind him is Zack Greinke, at nearly double his rate at 1.25. His WHIP is third-best in the game, trailing only Shane Bieber and Kenta Maeda. Marco the ace has finally arrived.
Who Do I Like?
I smell upset in game one. The Mariners know that they need to win this game, and while Oakland is technically chasing the White Sox for the number one seed in the AL, the A’s are more concerned about staying healthy right now, than they are about trying to run up their record. That’s not to say that Oakland won’t be giving a full effort in this one, but the Mariners are playing for their postseason lives, and I expect them to do whatever they can to win this game.
Marco Gonzalez has been solid all year, but in the last month, he has really carried his team. In his last four starts, he has pitched a combined 28 innings and has allowed just seven earned runs. Three times during the last month, he has pitched seven innings or more, including a complete game two starts ago. And it’s not like he has been pitching against bad teams that can’t hit. Two of those four starts came against the Padres and the Dodgers, the two best hitting teams in the Major Leagues this year.
I hate to have to fade Jesus Luzardo, but he just might be hitting that rookie wall. That’s not to say that he has been bad lately, but he hasn’t been nearly as sharp in his last three starts as he was earlier in the year. In his last three outings, Luzardo has pitched 18.1 innings and has given up nine earned runs. The A’s have lost two of those three games, and he picked up the first two losing decisions of his career.
I think Marco Gonzalez wills his team to victory today. With this game being scheduled for just seven innings, I would think that he pitches the entire game. He has worked into the seventh inning in five of his eight starts this year and has averaged over 100 pitches a start this season. I expect him to carry his team yet again and see the Mariners winning a tightly contested and lower scoring game.
I’ll call it a 4-1 Mariners final. For the second straight day and the third time this week, I will back the Mariners as big underdogs. I cashed tickets on the last two, and I expect to make it three straight in this one. Give me the Seattle Mariners at home, getting +150 in a must-win game!