Pick: Seattle Mariners at Oakland Athletics
Time: 10:05 PM ET
Where: Oakland Coliseum. Oakland, California.
Listed Pitchers: LeBlanc (SEA) & Montas (OAK)
TV: NSCA & RTNW
Moneyline: SEA (+110) / OAK (-130)
Over/Under: 8.5 (-115 o / -105 u)
Thursday night marks the first game of a pivotal four-game set between American League West Divisional foes Seattle and Oakland. It’s the 13th meeting of 19 slated between the two clubs in the Regular Season. Currently, Seattle leads the series 7-5 thru 12 games and they’ve outscored the A’s 47-37. The pair have played six games at Oakland Coliseum thus far, splitting them with three apiece. Seattle’s 5.5 games behind Oakland for the second and final AL Wild Card spot with 29 games remaining. Consequently, this is unequivocally a make or break series for the Mariners.
Seattle enters this one riding an inopportune three-game losing streak, including back-to-back losses at the lowly San Diego Padres the past two days. During the subpar three-game skid, opponents outscored the M’s 15-6. In their past 14 games, the Mariners have accrued a 5-9 (.357) record. Certainly, as a team vying for an AL Wild Card berth, Seattle’s going in the wrong direction at the wrong time.
Overall, the Mariners are 74-59 (.556) which puts them in third place in the excellent AL West Standings. Surprisingly, Seattle ranks in the bottom half of the American League in the most relevant statistical categories. They’re 12th in runs scored (548), 8th in runs allowed (596) and 9th in run-differential (-48). On the road, the M’s are 36-31 (.537) this year.
The A’s had chances to avoid their first series loss since late July Wednesday afternoon at Minute Maid Park. Oakland had the bases juiced tied at four apiece in the top of the 7th with just one out but stranded all three base-runners which shifted the momentum in favor of the hometown Houston Astros. Then, Tyler White broke the tie with the game-winning solo-shot off Jeurys Familia (4-1, 2.87 ERA & 1.19 WHIP) in the bottom of the 9th to give the ‘Stros the 5-4 walk-off victory. Consequently, the A’s lost two of three Monday thru Wednesday against their division-rival: Houston. It’s Oakland’s first series loss since late July, when they lost every game of a three-game set at Coors Field to the Colorado Rockies.
Despite the series loss, Oakland’s won 19 of their last 27 decisions (.704). At second place in the AL West, the A’s are just 2.5 games shy of the ‘Stros for the top spot in the division. Overall, the A’s are 80-54 (.597) this season and 39-26 (.600) at Oakland Coliseum. The A’s rank in the top 40% of the most important statistical categories in the American League. They’re fifth in runs scored (638), sixth in runs allowed (553) and fifth in run-differential (+85).
Seattle’s sending veteran left-hander Wade LeBlanc (7-3, 3.92 ERA & 1.17 WHIP) to the mound in game one. In five August starts, LeBlanc’s 1-2 with a 5.54 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. He’s made one start versus Oakland this year at Safeco Field. Seattle won the game 4-1, but LeBlanc received a no-decision. LeBlanc allowed zero runs on three hits but pitched only four innings in the contest on May 3rd. In ten road starts this season, LeBlanc’s 1-1 with a 3.88 ERA and 1.25 WHIP.
Young Frankie Montas (5-3, 3.75 ERA & 1.47 WHIP) will be making his first start since late July for the A’s and his first career start versus Seattle. The right-handed Dominican is 1-2 in his last four starts, boasting a 3.86 ERA and 1.48 WHIP. At Oakland Coliseum, Montas has started four games and compiled a 2-2 record with a 4.01 ERA and 1.49 WHIP.
I see nothing but negative value on either side of the money line in this one, but after meticulous attention to details I noticed a colossal edge in the total number of runs department. The under is 8-4 (.667) thru 12 games between these two clubs this season and 5-1 (.833) at Oakland Coliseum. In the A’s last 13 games versus a left-handed starter (LeBlanc), the under is 10-3 (.769). Lastly, the under is 10-3 (.769) in Oakland’s last 13 games at Oakland Coliseum. According to my calculations, there’s a 76% chance this game will result in a total under the over/under (8.5). Sportsbooks are offering UNDER 8.5 at -105, which means the under would have to win 51.2% of the time to make betting on it profitable. Consequently, we have a whopping 24.8% edge against the number by taking UNDER 8.5 here.