Our steaming hot summer continued last night as we picked up another win, our sixth win in our last nine bets. And I almost felt bad doing it, as I bet against the Los Angeles Angels, on a night where their recently deceased pitcher, Tyler Skaggs, was scheduled to start. I had a strong feeling that the Angels would come out flat with all of the emotional distractions. And when you looked at the lineup they were going to use, without stars like Justin Upton and Tommy La Stella, I just felt they weren’t going to have the bodies to really put a competitive team on the field.
Throw in the fact that the Rangers were starting Lance Lynn, who probably should have made the All-Star team this season and was second in the American League in wins coming into the game, I felt very confident we were on the right side. The game went a lot like I thought it would, as Lynn, after giving up a couple of early runs, settled in and ended up having a nice outing. He finished his day with seven strong innings pitched, giving up just the two runs.
And the Rangers bat did more than enough damage on rookie starter Griffin Canning as they blasted the youngster for six runs, all earned, in just three and a third innings. Texas played add-on late, and as expected, this wasn’t a close finish as the Rangers won the game, 9-3.
I have a very strong feeling that the Angels are at the start of what could be a nasty downward spiral. Coming into this series they had looked like they had essentially given up in their previous series against the Oakland Athletics, and I felt that they were going to go on a rough run. Then came all of the distractions of the untimely passing of Skaggs, and injuries to stars like Upton and La Stella. This team has a lot of reasons to give up, and nobody is going to blame them when they do.
You can expect me to look for ways to fade them a lot in the next couple of weeks as I see them falling apart and dropping out of contention. They were barely hanging on as it was, and now I think they are very likely to sell off some pieces before the July 31st trade deadline and shut things down for the year.
For the Rangers, they needed a win to get back on track, and they took care of business. Lynn picked up his American League-leading eleventh win last night, and lowered his ERA to 3.89, and continues to make a case that he was one of the biggest All-Star snubs this year. If you can find spots like last night where you can back him on the cheap, you need to take a long hard look at it, he has been that good. For today’s pick, we will head to Seattle, where the Oakland Athletics play the Mariners.
The Seattle Mariners host the Oakland Athletics tonight in game one of a three-game series. This series will take us right up to the All-Star break and will serve as an unofficial end to baseball’s first half. The Mariners have already started a fire sale of talent, and that is only expected to continue as most of their veteran players are up on the trade block for the highest bidder. The Mariners have lost six out of their last seven games and are in last place in the American League West Division, a whopping nineteen games back of the Houston Astros for first place.
For the Athletics, they are heating up at the right time as they have won twelve of their previous sixteen games. They have used that hot streak to pass the Texas Rangers for second place in the AL West, and they are now just one game back of the Cleveland Indians for the second wild-card spot in the AL. It will be interesting to see how Oakland handles the trade deadline this season as they are notoriously always sellers, but this season they seem to have a real shot at contention.
Starting for the Athletics is Brett Anderson (8-5 3.92 ERA), and for the Mariners, it is Yusei Kikuchi (4-5 5.12 ERA). The game total over-under is set at nine and a half runs. The Athletics are -150 road favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM PST from T-Mobile Park in Seattle.
Yusei Kikuchi was solid for his first couple of weeks in the big leagues. While he wasn’t mowing guys down, the Japanese import was a very respectable 3-1 with a 3.43 ERA through May 19th. Since then, the wheels have really fallen off for Kikuchi. In his last seven starts, he has gotten absolutely blasted for thirty-three runs. He has given up ten homers, and the Mariners have lost six out of those seven games.
Against these very same Athletics in late May, he lasted just three and a third innings and gave up five runs on a season-high ten hits. The Mariners combined score in his last seven starts is 66-24. They aren’t losing when Kikuchi pitches, they are getting blown out.
And the flip side has been true for the Athletics recently. They have won eight out of their last eleven games, and all eight of those wins have come by at least two runs. This team is hot, and the bats are swinging hard right now. Tonight’s starter, Brett Anderson is heating up as well as he has recovered from an awful month of April and has been quite good as of late.
Since May 1st, the A’s have won eight out of his eleven starts. And in all but one of those wins, they have won by multiple runs. In his last start against the Mariners on May 26th, Anderson pitched six and a third innings and gave up just one run, and the A’s blew the game out, 7-1.
I very rarely ever take a run line bet. It is just very hard to win a game by multiple runs. On average, 24% of all major league games end in a one-run decision. So, when I do look at a run line bet, it is because I feel very confident that we have a mismatch on our hands. And that is the case tonight. The Mariners, and Kikuchi specifically, can’t stop getting blown out right now. And the A’s, and Anderson, are blowing out most teams every night.
That tells me that Oakland is going to hammer Kikuchi tonight and that Anderson will do plenty to hold the Mariners back. I think the A’s win, and I don’t think it will be at all close. So, I will do something I rarely do, and snatch up that extra juice, and back the A’s on the run line, at a very attractive price of just -103. Give me the Oakland A’s laying a run and a half tonight in game one from Seattle!