2014 Postseason Picks for Athletics vs. Royals

Jeff Grant

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 11:30 AM GMT

Tuesday, Sep. 30, 2014 11:30 AM GMT

The Oakland Athletics acquired Jon Lester for this type of situation, which is one of the main reasons they should be backed with your MLB picks early on against the Kansas City Royals Tuesday night. 

A Long Hard Road
Oakland compiled an 88-74 record to earn the second American League Wild Card spot, which is important to consider when making your sports picks, as the club dropped 20 of its final 30 games of the regular season.

The Athletics went 2-5 against the Royals this season, with their .286 winning percentage resulting in their lowest single-season mark in the matchup.

It’s important to point out to those placing MLB picks that the franchise went 4-15 on the road with a betting total of 7 or less this year, with the 'under' going 8-6-5 in that situation.

 

Unfamiliar Territory
Kansas City will be appearing in the postseason for the first time since 1985, which can’t be ignored when looking over the MLB odds, as manager Ned Yost prepares to place speed at the top of the lineup to jumpstart the offense early.

The Royals are expected to send out Alcides Escobar, Nori Aoki and Lorenzo Cain to occupy the top three spots in the batting order—a combination that resulted in a 9-6 record and the team averaging 4.4 runs over that span to close out the regular season.

MLB handicappers analyzing the Wild Card situation this year will find that the squad put together a 19-7 mark at home with a money line of -100 to -125 in 2014, with the 'under' going 15-11 in those 26 opportunities.

 

Lester
Athletics starting pitcher Jon Lester (16-11, 2.46 ERA) picked up a victory in three of his last four efforts of the regular season, but he suffered a 5-4 home defeat to the Los Angeles Angels last time out.

The left-hander went 8-5 with a 3.07 ERA in 15 road games—surrendering 11 home runs in 99.2 combined frames.

In 13 lifetime starts versus the Royals, Lester has compiled a 9-3 record and 1.84 ERA—his best ERA against any AL team since becoming a professional.

 

Shields
Royals starting pitcher James Shields (14-8, 3.21 ERA) didn’t earn a decision in a 6-3 road win over the Chicago White Sox to close out the regular season, as he allowed three earned runs for a third consecutive trip to the mound.

The right-hander went 4-6 with a 3.51 ERA in 15 home appearances—issuing 17 walks and striking out 76 batters in 102.2 innings of work.

Shields will look to improve upon his 2-4 record and 4.98 ERA in six previous postseason starts, with each of those outings coming as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays.

 

Prediction
I’m going to recommend that readers back the Athletics instead of the Royals with their MLB picks in the first five innings, as Lester has gone 6-4 with a 1.97 ERA in his previous 11 starting assignments in postseason play.

Free MLB Pick:  Oakland Athletics First 5 Innings at 5 Dimes

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