The Los Angeles Dodgers have been a lousy baseball pick despite leading the NL West. But this Tuesday, they'll host an Oakland A's team that's in fire sale mode.
Jason's 2015 record as of July 27: 36-27, plus-9.63 units ML; 0-3, minus-3.30 units Total
Being good at baseball isn't enough to beat the MLB odds. You have to be better than market expectation, and even though the Los Angeles Dodgers lead the NL West at 56-44, they're 9.58 betting units in the hole. Remarkable. Of course, the Dodgers were second favorites to win the World Series at 17-2 going into the 2015 campaign, so that'll happen. In fact, the Top 4 favorites from late March are all losing money as we go to press.
The Oakland Athletics (44-56, –20.85 units) weren't one of those teams at 25-1, but they're still losing money hand over fist. And now that they've begun their now-familiar routine of shedding talent during losing years, we're not nearly as interested in their potential upside. But we might be interested in following the A's on Tuesday when Sonny Gray (2.96 FIP) takes the mound at Chavez Ravine against Brett Anderson (3.56 FIP). First pitch is at 10:10 p.m. Eastern.
Sonny-Wonny So True
So far, the A's have unloaded Scott Kazmir and closer Tyler Clippard, and they're expected to send Ben Zobrist packing at some point. As long as Zobrist (.802 OPS) is playing on Tuesday, those other trades aren't too problematic for our MLB picks. Clippard (3.89 FIP) wasn't doing very well this year anyway; Oakland's No. 24-ranked bullpen (0.2 WAR) has other options, including Fernando Rodriguez (1.53 FIP).
Gray has been the best of the A's starters this year, and he's even pitched well enough to earn 0.59 units in profit on a team record of 12-8. That includes four Oakland wins in Gray's last five starts. The sophomore righty is coming off his first All-Star appearance, and should have an advantage facing a Dodgers batting order that is largely unfamiliar with his body of work.
As luck would have it, the A's are at the top of their rotation on Tuesday, but they'll avoid Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. Anderson, a former Oakland starter, hasn't pitched all that poorly this year; however, the Dodgers are 10-9 in his 19 starts for a deficit of 3.68 units. Anderson's health is also in question after suffering an irritated left Achilles in his last start. The big lefty could be vulnerable in this situation.
We can't really recommend any particular hitter from either team in this interleague matchup, but Rodriguez has been lights-out in July with a 0.43 FIP in 8.1 innings scattered over eight appearances. He even bogarted a win on July 22 against the Toronto Blue Jays (+130 away), after Clippard blew a save for Gray. We're not sure where F-Rod might end up in the bullpen pecking order, but if holds are a thing in your fantasy league, that gives you extra incentive to add him to your lineup.
Free MLB Pick: Take the Athletics +115 at BetOnline (if Zobrist plays)