The Oakland Athletics got started last night with a 3-run shot by Ramon Laureano in the 2nd inning. Kyle Gibson left a meatball over the plate for Laureano to swat deep. Gibson got into some more trouble with a leadoff double in the next inning to Marcus Semien, but was able to work himself out of it without any damage done.
Matt Fiers had a flawless night against one of the best offenses in baseball. The Athletics were originally slated to start Tanner Anderson, but ultimately pushed his outing back to Thursday. It was a good move because Fiers was feeling it and didn’t allow a hit until the 5th inning. Fiers can be sneaky good and pull a game like that out of his hat here and there. The Twins broke through in the next inning with a run, but were unable to add any more. They had a runner on the 3rd with 1 out and failed to deliver. It took extra innings to ultimately decide a winner.
Bringing Fiers in from Detroit was a pretty solid move. It goes unnoticed, but has had a nice impact for their club. He was going into last night with a record of 8-2, so it’s been a great ROI for the Athletics. The wins Fiers has produced could be the difference between the postseason or not. Oakland are hanging around and might be a team to look out for the in the second-half. Catching the Astros would be awfully difficult, but they might make it interesting for a minute or two. Even if they don’t pull that improbable run off, they could be a difficult out in the Wild Card Game.
What’s going to be interesting is what they’re going to do at the deadline. The A’s are not a team why go out there and acquire top talent, but there are so many attractive pitching options out there that they may entertain the idea. Oakland came on late last night, but didn’t give themselves enough room to stage a comeback. Their first-half was horrible and did them in. However, that hasn’t been the case this season, as they have set themselves up for a run at the postseason prior to the break. Tanner Anderson, who was pushed back to Thursday, will get the nod for the A’s in this one. Jose Berrios is expected to counter for the Twins. Head below for our free Twins vs. Athletics pick.
Minnesota Twins vs. Oakland Athletics Pick:
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The Twins have relied on Jose Berrios as their ace this season and he’s delivered. There were a lot of expectations for Berrios in 2019. He had a strong offseason and Twins’ management were really excited about what he could do in his fourth season. Berrios posted ERA’s of 3.89 and 3.84 his past two seasons, expecting him to make the jump to the next level this season. Unless he bombs in the second-half, Berrios is going to surpass his previous career-high with ease.
Entering tonight, Berrios holds an ERA of 2.89 and 1.08 WHIP. He hasn’t allowed more than 3 runs since May 18th, eight starts ago. Berrios has had success against the A’s in his career, as they’re hitting .231 with 2 home runs against him in 39 at-bats. It’s not much of a sample size, but it isn’t like he’s allowed much at all this season in 112 innings. Berrios goes into Thursday with an ERA of 2.42 and 0.99 WHIP in his previous three starts.
Conversely, Anderson could be in danger of losing his chance in the starting rotation if he doesn’t figure it out fast. He’s coming off a weary start, allowing 8 hits and 7 earned runs in 2.2 innings of play. In three of his four outings this season, he’s gotten pushed around for a 9.00 ERA and 1.75 WHIP. I don’t know if he’s at a point where he can be a fulltime starter with the Athletics yet. But with Marco Estrada on the 60-day IL, Anderson is getting an opportunity to impress, which he has been giving a failing grade up to this point. After struggling to put the Athletics away the last two days, expect them to break through with a solid performance Thursday afternoon in Oakland.