We picked up a nice underdog win last night when we took the Toronto Blue Jays against the Minnesota Twins. I mentioned in my pick that many books used to offer the run line bet on underdogs. This was quickly done away with as the payouts for taking underdogs on the run line were regularly +200 or more and the books got killed. Last night was a prime spot where I would have loved to take the underdog on the run line and was cursing the idiotic public that made a Twins team that had lost nine out of ten games, a favorite and stopped me from laying the run and a half on Toronto.
The Blue Jays jumped out to a 5-0 lead and cruised to a 7-5 victory that would have covered the run line had it been an option. What can you do, we will just have to be happy getting another money line underdog winner, rather than a jumbo payout. Lance Lynn did what he has been doing all season long, and that has been getting hammered. Lynn made it just five innings and gave up six runs, all earned in the loss. The Twins are 0-5 in Lynn’s five starts, it will be very interesting to see if Lynn remains in the rotation much longer as he has been completely ineffective, and the Twins have eyes on making a return trip to the playoffs this year. For today’s pick, I will stay right here in the American League and take a look at the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland Athletics.
The Oakland Athletics are in Seattle tonight for game one of a three-game series with the Mariners. The Mariners hit this series riding high as they have won five out of six games and their last three series overall. The A’s are playing better baseball recently as well. They lost their last series to the Houston Astros, but before that had won nine out of eleven games. The Mariners will start King Felix Hernandez (3-2 4.96 ERA), and the A’s will start Andrew Triggs (2-0 4.70 ERA). The Mariners are small home favorites at -115. The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM PST from Safeco Field in Seattle.
The Seattle Mariners have suffered through a bunch of injuries already this season. They lost Nelson Cruz, Ryon Healy, Ben Gamel, and Mike Zunino all to injury at some point this year. All of their stars returned for their last series with the reigning American League Central Champion Cleveland Indians, and it really showed. Despite having to face the Indians elite starting pitching rotation, the M’s won three out of the four games in Cleveland and exploded for thirty-two runs in the series. I have been saying it all season long, if this Mariners team can stay healthy, they have one of the best lineups in the majors and should be a playoff team.
Seattle will send its aging patriarch to the mound tonight in one King Felix Hernandez. Hernandez is certainly not the guy he used to be any more, a guy that used to compete for the Cy Young Award every season. But those that are writing him off as washed up are dead wrong. Felix is still a fierce competitor, and even though he doesn’t have elite level stuff anymore, he still plays hard and gives his team a chance to win games. The Mariners are 4-2 in Felix’s six starts this season.
The one place that Felix seems to have not lost his touch is at home at Safeco Field in Seattle. The Mariners faithful has always had a special place in their heart for their King, and he rarely doesn’t put on a show in Seattle. In his two starts at home this year, Felix has an ERA of just 1.54 with eleven strikeouts in eleven and two-thirds of an inning. I don’t love backing Hernandez on the road at this point, but getting him at basically even money at home? That feels like a steal.
When you look at this Oakland Athletics roster, you wouldn’t think this would be a team that is going to win too many games this year. Yet, here they are at .500 and competing day in and day out. They are getting the job done at the plate this year. Entering this series, the A’s are top seven in the majors in runs scored, home runs, slugging percentage, batting average, and on-base percentage. They are being led by a resurgent Jed Lowrie that is hitting a scorching .339 and is amongst the league leaders in homers (6) and RBI (27). I can’t imagine Lowrie will continue this torrid pace as he is a lifetime .263 hitter, but right now this team is slugging it with the best of them.
There is just something special about Felix Hernandez at home. And there always has been. Historically, Felix has won more games, has a lower ERA, and strikes out more guys at home. There is just something about that hometown crowd that gets him extra fired up, and he seemingly has another gear he can shift to in front of the hometown fans. I don’t think he will absolutely dominate tonight, but I do think he will do enough to allow this Mariners team that is swinging a heavy bat right now, to win the game.
While the Athletics have managed to keep their heads above water with great hitting, their pitching has not been very good. They are 24th in batting average against and will be playing against a Mariners team that is 6th in the majors in batting average. To me, that sounds like a bunch of runners on base and scoring opportunities for the Mariners.
So, I will take the Seattle Mariners tonight at home in game one of the series as small favorites at -115!