Athletics vs Mariners: Emergency Fill-In Could Doom A’s in Seattle

Jason Lake

Saturday, July 8, 2017 1:33 PM UTC

Saturday, Jul. 8, 2017 1:33 PM UTC

The Oakland Athletics will give Chris Smith his first big-league start Saturday night against the Seattle Mariners. Does that give the M’s enough edge against the baseball odds?

Funny how nobody talks about Billy Beane anymore. He’s still running the show for the Oakland Athletics, now as their “Executive VP of Baseball Operations” and part-owner. And Beane is still doing all those Moneyball things that made Oakland a success in the early Aughts. But now that other teams with much larger budgets are following his lead, there isn’t much hope for the A’s to compete. They’re last in the American League West at press time, 38-48 and 9.46 betting units in the hole.

Having your starting rotation felled by injuries doesn’t help. Jharel Cotton is on the 10-day DL with a blister on his thumb, so Chris Smith is penciled in for his first major-league start Saturday night (10:10 p.m. ET) against the Seattle Mariners. Seattle has opened as a –151 home chalk on the MLB odds board. Should we bet half the farm, or all the farm?

Moore Is Less?
Hold your horses. The Mariners (41-46, –7.55 units) have had their own medical issues with starting pitchers; as a result, we’ll see rookie Andrew Moore get his third start in the bigs this Saturday. And FiveThirtyEight projects Seattle to win 60 percent of the time, or –150 on our SBR Betting Odds Converter. Sugar.

Moore might even be a little overvalued already. He delivered quality starts in each of his first two MLB games, allowing six earned runs over 15 innings of work; the Mariners ended up splitting the pair. But Moore also benefitted from a .182 BABIP. He’s not a groundball pitcher, either, nor is he a flame-thrower. Playing at Safeco Field in front of excellent defenders helps Moore’s cause somewhat. Chris Smith To Be A's Oldest Pitcher Ever To Make First Big-League Start @UCR_Baseball

— Highlander Athletics (@UCR_Athletics) July 7, 2017

Smith, meanwhile, is making his first MLB start at the tender age of 36. He’s been kicking around the minors since 2006, with the occasional call-up for relief work: 92.1 innings in total, with a 5.43 FIP. Smith’s recent results have been better, though. There could be some sneaky value here for your MLB picks. But we’ll take our chances with the OVER on the total of 9.5 runs. Neither team has a good bullpen, Seattle can hit, and the sun will be out Saturday night. We’ll buy that for a dollar.

Free Pick: OVER 9.5 (-125)
Best Line: Intertops 

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