What a great finish to the season we are enjoying! We picked up another money line underdog winner last night when we backed the Oakland Athletics against the Tampa Bay Rays. Athletics starter Edwin Jackson has been pitching as well as he ever has in his fifteen-year career and I felt that being able to back him and this red-hot A’s team as underdogs was just too good to pass up on.
The game itself was a fantastic affair as both teams wouldn’t give up an inch. Edwin Jackson pitched great again, throwing five innings of one-run ball. And the Rays used their committee of nine different pitchers to hold the A’s to just three hits on the night. The game was tied at one run apiece when it hit extra innings, and Oakland stole the game and the series lead, on a Kris Davis solo shot home run in the top of the tenth inning, his forty-second on the season.
The loss dropped the Rays to nine games back of Oakland for the second wild-card spot in the American League, and that might be the end of the road for the Rays this year. With the win, Oakland is now just a game and a half behind the Yankees for home-field advantage in the wild-card game and just two and a half games back of the Houston Astros for the AL West Division title. For today’s pick, I will stay right here in Tampa Bay for what is the best game on the schedule today and break down game two between the A’s and the Rays.
The Oakland Athletics are looking to pick up the series win tonight in game two of a three-game series with the Rays. The A’s have all the momentum in the world and are hoping that with a series win in Tampa, they can punch their postseason ticket.
Starting tonight for the A’s is Liam Hendricks (0-1 5.94 ERA), and for the Rays, it is Ryne Stanek (2-3 2.58 ERA). This is a matchup of two “openers” as both teams are going with a bullpen by committee approach today. This game is an even pick ‘em right now as both teams are -105. The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 3:10 PM PST from Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay.
This was supposed to be a start for Trevor Cahill for the A’s, but he was shut down with soreness, and so now the A’s are looking to pull a trick out of Tampa Bays hat tonight. Oakland will start bullpen arm, Liam Henricks, tonight and then plan to turn the game over to either Frankie Montas or Chris Bassitt after an inning or two. It is an interesting choice of moves as the A’s bullpen got a ton of work in game one and will now be called upon for a bunch more work here in game two.
I have wondered all season long as this opener experiment has been working really well for the Rays, when would another team copy their approach? And it looks like the answer is tonight! Tonight, is finally the night and it is fitting that it will be against Tampa Bay, the originator of the opener technique that has caused so much controversy this year. You could say this is the first game ever started by two openers, as unexciting as that sounds to baseball purists.
I am not sure I like what Oakland is doing in this one. They are trying to get fancy and get their starters some extra rest, but I don’t think right now is the time to get extra fancy. This team is playing as well as any team in the majors over the last month, and it’s not time to start changing things up now. I’ve always been a fan of the dance with the girl you brought theory. They are getting this close to a division title and now they decide to mix things up? Yeah, I don’t like it.
Throw in the fact that Tampa is nearly unbeatable at home, they had won twelve out of their last thirteen home games before dropping game one last night, and I like the Rays in this one. I know the Rays season is likely over at this point, but in reality, it has been over for months, and that hasn’t stopped this team from playing hard and winning games. I think the Rays will out bullpen the A’s in this one and find a way to tie up the series.
It will probably be another low scoring game that comes down to the wire, but getting the Rays at home at such a great price seems like some great value to me. Give me the Tampa Bay Rays at even money at home tonight n game two as they look to tie up the series.