50 Shades of Gray: Oakland's Sunny Gray to Tie Down the Angels Friday Night

Steven Suarez

Friday, June 19, 2015 2:10 PM GMT

With ace Sonny Gray toeing the rubber, the Athletics are the clear-cut favorites to win tonight at home against the Angels. Find out which way we're leaning with our MLB picks inside.

Odds Overview
At time of this writing, the Athletics were at approximately -155 to grab the win this evening, leaving the Angels in the +140 to +150 range to score the upset away from home.

If a total play is more up your alley in this spot, the O/U is currently trading at an even seven runs. As you can see, oddsmakers aren't expecting a whole lot of offense in Oakland tonight.

 

Oakland Athletics (Gray)
The Athletics weren't able to earn a win yesterday, but they still come into tonight's game playing good baseball overall. They've won four of their last five, having taken three of four in a home series against San Diego, and now they'll be welcoming Mike Trout and company for a three-game set over the weekend.

You have to like Oakland's chances of starting off this series in positive fashion, as they'll be sending out their ace to the bump. Sonny Gray has been outstanding for the Athletics this season, going 8-3 with a 1.60 ERA and 0.93 WHIP over his first 14 starts. The right-hander has posted a stellar 88:22 K:BB ratio and has only allowed four home runs all season long.

Gray has become well-acquainted with this Angels team, as he's faced them three times already in 2015, posting sparkling numbers in the process. In those three meetings, he's gone 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA, striking out 22 batters and walking just three. Needless to say, Gray knows what it takes to shut down Los Angeles.

 

Los Angeles Angels (Shoemaker)
After splitting a series with Arizona, the Angels take the short trip to Oakland to do battle with the Athletics. LA is hovering just above .500 at 34-33 on the year, thanks to yesterday's 7-1 victory in which the Angels jumped all over Allen Webster.

We'll have Matt Shoemaker on the mound for the Angels in tonight's series opener, and he's been going through a rollercoaster of a season so far. He's 4-5 with a 4.85 ERA and 1.17 WHIP, which are very different numbers than what he was able to post last season (16-4, 3.04 ERA). There have been a few standout quality outings for the right-hander in 2015, but for the most part it's been a disappointing year, at least so far. 

Shoemaker will try to quiet the Athletics bats tonight, knowing that he's struggled to do so in previous meetings this season. He's 0-2 with a dreadful 6.91 ERA in three matchups with Oakland, with the Athletics batting .311 against him. Those numbers don't exactly make us feel confident in LA's chances tonight.

 

MLB Pick
The low total suggests we'll be in for a pitcher's duel, and that makes sense given what we've seen out of these two pitchers. Shoemaker hasn't been nearly as dominant as Gray, but we've seen him dominate in the past (and at times this season), and the Athletics offense isn't the most prolific.

Nonetheless, we do see value in backing Oakland here, but only on the moneyline. Shoemaker is a much better pitcher than what we've seen out of him, and we wouldn't be surprised to see him post a quality outing in this spot.

Normally we don't like to take on this much chalk, but we want to play it safe in this instance, as we could easily see this game decided by just one run. The Athletics, behind the impressive arm of Gray, should be able to get the job done though, thus earning their fifth win in six games and improving to 30-40 on the season. We're backing Oakland with our MLB picks.

Pick: Oakland Athletics -155 at 5Dimes