It seems the only thing that can slow us down this month has been the weather and our starting pitchers getting scratched. We have lost four games in the last two weeks to either rain out or our named pitchers getting scratched right before the game starts. That is what happened last night when we took the under ten runs in the Rockies and DBacks game. I loved what both Kyle Freeland and Clay Buchholz have been doing this season, and I wasn’t going to let that thin air in Colorado scare me off taking the under.
But unfortunately for us, Buchholz was scratched with arm tightness, and our bet was canceled. Freeland held up his end of the bargain as he pitched well, but without Buchholz on the mound, the DBacks were forced to start reliever Matt Koch on no notice, and he got lit up, and the game sailed over. I am always sure to name my pitchers on all of my bets for just this situation. The last thing you want to do is make a bet on one guy and see another one take the mound. Always protect yourself and name your starters.
Despite losing out on action yesterday, we have been cruising recently. A quick glance at my bet tracker shows that we have won twelve out of our last eighteen bets, with six money line underdog winners. That is a 66% winning percentage, and we have picked up six full betting units in the last two weeks. It’s been a strong run to finish out a great season, and I hope to keep it up tonight as I look at another underdog when the Oakland Athletics square off against the Tampa Bay Rays.
The two hottest teams in the American League matchup today for game one of a three-game series between the Oakland Athletics and the Tampa Bay Rays. This series has some real playoff implications as the Rays are looking to close the gap between them and Oakland for the second wild-card in the AL. The Rays have improbably won eighteen out of their last twenty-two games and find themselves in the hunt for the playoffs. The problem for Tampa has been that the A’s have been nearly as hot as they have gone 26-12 since the trade deadline. This is what happens when an immovable object hits an unstoppable force! Something is going to have to give, and one of these teams is going to have to lose!
Starting for the Athletics tonight is Edwin Jackson (5-3 3.26 ERA), and for the Rays, they will open with reliever Diego Castillo (3-2 3.45 ERA). The Rays are -121 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM PST from Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay.
Do you believe in miracles? Because this Tampa Bay Rays team does. This team was gutted in the offseason, further dismantled at the trade deadline and more than left for dead this season. Yet here they are, playing meaningful games in late September. For the Rays to have any real shot at getting back into this race, they would need to sweep the A’s in this series. Dropping even one game would likely spell the end of the season for the Rays. But they know this and are playing every game hard.
You can say all you want about this Tampa Bay Rays, starter by committee technique this season, but it is hard to argue with the results. Tampa uses five to seven pitchers every game, and it has been very hard for opposing teams to figure out. They have been riding this committee starter for the entire second half of the season, and they are going to ride in until the very end of the season. One has to wonder what next year looks like for this Rays team? Will they continue with this strategy or move to a more traditional starting rotation?
Edwin Jackson has been a nice addition to this A’s rotation this season. Since being added to the team in late June, all Jackson has done is win games for the A’s. The A’s are 11-3 in Jackson’s fourteen starts this year. The longtime veteran, in his sixteenth MLB season, has a more than respectable 3.26 ERA. He isn’t getting overly deep into games, but that hasn’t hurt the Athletics as they have one of the better bullpens in the American League this year.
What a great series this should be for both teams. I’ll tell you what team is watching this one very closely, and that is the New York Yankees. New York will likely host one of these two teams in the American League wild-card game, and I can’t imagine they are looking forward to playing either one of them. Both of these teams have limited talent, but all kinds of heart and fight in them. But as much as I hate to say it, I think the ride comes to an end for the Rays in this series.
Tampa would need to basically run the table the rest of the way out to make the playoffs, and that just isn’t going to happen. I think they will struggle in this series against an equally hot Oakland team and I see them losing tonight in game one. I have made a fortune in the second half of the season betting on both of these teams, but I think in this one, the Rays are just going to be a little overmatched. Give me the Oakland Athletics as road underdogs tonight in game one from Tampa Bay at +111!