Cleveland Has Too Much Carlos Carrasco for the Athletics

Doug Upstone

Friday, July 14, 2017 1:11 PM UTC

Friday, Jul. 14, 2017 1:11 PM UTC

Cleveland is right where it wants to be when its season resumes Friday in Oakland: in first place in the AL Central. The A's are looking for improvement, but can they be trusted by those betting baseball?

Sonny Gray is the A's second half starter, but Milwaukee wants to make a package to add him in trade. The Indians are 26-16 on the road and want to keep building off recent 16-9 record and pull away in their division. I will start the so-called second half with 24-17 record of late against the MLB odds, and like both these clubs I'm looking for more wins.


Pitching Matchup: Carrasco Vs. Gray

Carlos Carrasco (10-3, 3.44 ERA) has emerged as one of the best hurlers in the American League this season. The difference has been his secondary pitches have been as good as his lively fastball, which he throws in the 94-97 MPH range. Opposing batters are hitting only .227 against Carrasco, and he continues to strike out about four batters for every walk. On the road, the 30-year- old has been sick, with a .197 BA allowed and a 2.38 ERA. Against Oakland, he is 3-0 with a minuscule 1.80 ERA lifetime.

Since having a 4.72 ERA at the end of May, Gray (4-4) has been making strong progress and lowered his ERA to 4.00 over his last seven starts. Gray's game at this point is generating weak ground balls which are easily fielded for outs. When he's sharp, his command lowers his pitch count and he walks fewer hitters. In Oakland, Gray only concedes a .212 average compared to .274 on the road. The righty is 2-2 with an ERA of 4.00 against Cleveland.


Athletics' Offense Better At Home

Oakland's offense is reliant on the home run, ranked fifth in the AL. The problem with A's is the all-or-nothing approach, since they are listed 13th in the league in on-base percentage and have the second-most strikeouts. They are at least much better at the Coliseum, averaging 4.7 runs a game compared to 3.9 on the road.

Cleveland's offense is more on an even keel ringing up 4.8 RPG in the home whites or road grays. With their pitching, and scoring that much on the road, that is why the Tribe are so tough.


Betting Odds, Head To Head & Bullpen Numbers

Oddsmakers have pushed Cleveland out as -140 away favorites with a total of 8. Oakland has a positive 4-3 home mark the last two years in this series, with the 'under' 6-1. The bullpens could hardly be any more different, with the Indians having the best pen in the league and the A's 14th, based on ERA.


The Winner Is ...

For making MLB picks, Cleveland jumps off the page as the right choice; however, it is intriguing to note the Tribe are .500 against losing teams this season (22-22). Nonetheless, AL road favorites with a money line of -125 or more with a team batting average of .265 or less and hitting .305 or better over their last five games are 53-13 since 2013.

Free MLB Pick: Indians -140Best Line Offered: Intertops

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