The Oakland A’s visit the Los Angeles Angels in the third game of this AL West matchup in Anaheim. Our MLB handicapper analyzes the trends coming into the game.
The thing about baseball is that teams really don’t have time to dwell over a loss. Unlike football, you've got a game the next night to erase that memory. The Los Angeles Angels used a few big innings to shell the Oakland A’s last night, 14-1. That game featured three fielding errors by Oakland, and them bringing in 1B Ike Davis to pitch. Interestingly enough, with a scoreless ninth, Ike Davis was the only Oakland pitcher not to give up an earned run. I liked the strategy, as even when losing by 13 runs Oakland only used two relievers out of the bullpen – same as the Angels. Sometimes a game like this will have a ripple effect with bullpen fatigue and this won’t be the case here.
MLB odds today are slightly favoring Oakland starter Sonny Gray is off to a great start this year although he has just one win in 3 starts. The last game Gray started against the Angels was a tough luck loss as he only gave up one earned run and struck out twelve over 7 innings. After reviewing the batted against stats for Gray and the Angels, there really are no standouts to speak of. Of course, that’s pretty normal for a pitcher with a career 2.93 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. What Gray has to hope for is that the A’s have gotten all of the fielding errors out of their system, as more than most he is dependent on defense with a high groundball rate of 55%.
Jered Weaver takes the mound for the Angels and is trying to adjust to his drop in velocity this year. It hasn’t gone especially well as Weaver has given up 4 HR in 3 starts. With a career FB% rate of 47% (11% higher than Gray), the decline of skills for a pitcher like Weaver is that he is going to start giving up the long ball. I mean, he’s coming in with an 83 MPH fastball and 77 MPH changeup – which partially explains the lowest swinging strike rate (8.1%) in his career that Weaver is having in this young season. But, as long as he is making $18,000,000 this year they will keep throwing him out there and see if he can’t capture some of that pitcher of old. I don’t see it, and am going to be putting Jered Weaver on Fade Watch™ for the rest of the season's MLB picks.
MLB Betting Verdict
I expect that the patient batting approach of Oakland will afford them some very hittable pitches from Weaver in this game. Using historical stats for Weaver to predict an outcome is a little suspect right now, as his stuff is just so much different. Sonny Gray is not dealing with any of these types of issues, and is the pitcher I would trust most coming into this matchup. I believe that the value here is to put yesterday’s A’s performance behind us, and take Oakland at -105 on the money line as one of your MLB Picks for Wednesday.
The MLB Pick: Athletics -108 at 5Dimes