Hammel & Oakland A's to be Defeated at Atlanta in Friday MLB

Ross Benjamin

Thursday, August 14, 2014 10:07 PM UTC

Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014 10:07 PM UTC

It’s getting to be urgent times for the Atlanta Braves regarding staying in contention for a playoff spot. Can this struggling team regroup against the best team (Oakland) in baseball tonight? We’ll examine the details in our MLB betting article, and conclude the piece with a free pick.

Inter-League Series between Winning Teams
The Braves will host the A’s tonight at Turner Field in Atlanta with the first pitch slated for 7:35 PM ET. According to MLB betting odds the Braves are a -115 money line home favorite and the posted total is 7.0.  Oakland has gone a red-hot 19-7 in their last 26 inter-league games. The Braves have gone a poor 4-10 in their last 14 inter-league matchups.

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The Starting Pitchers
The Oakland A’s will send veteran right-hander Jason Hammel to the mound tonight. Hammel hasn’t exactly taken advantage of pitching for the division leading A’s since coming over in a trade from the lowly Cubs. As a matter of fact, he’s gone a disappointing 1-5 against the money with Oakland while posting a very lofty 5.90 ERA and a 1.83 WHIP. The encouraging news is that he’s shown positive signs over his last 2-starts, allowing just 1 earned run in 12.0 innings of work. What’s been frustrating for the A’s, is that this is the same guy who went 10-7 against the money, with a stellar 2.98 ERA, while pitching for a vastly inferior Chicago Cubs team this season.

The Braves will counter with 23-year old southpaw Alex Wood for the opening game of this series. The youngster has displayed very good form over his last 3-starts by posting an excellent 1.33 ERA. Wood has been rock solid in 13-starts at home in 2014 with a 2.77 ERA and a better than 5:1 strikeout to walk ratio.


A’s Stuck in Neutral as of Late
No matter how good a team is, through the course of a 162-game season, they’re bound to run into a lull, or sustain a prolonged losing streak. Luckily for the A’s it’s just been a lull of late. They’ve gone a very average 8-8 over their last 16, and 16-14 in their last 30-games. Despite their bout with mediocrity over the last month, they still possess a superb 73-47 (.608) record, and lead the AL West by 2.5 games over the 2nd place Los Angeles Angels. This is a club that’s the best in baseball in runs per game (4.9), and is 4th in ERA (3.17). The combination of those two statistics alone is a lethal one, and you begin to understand why this team has a legitimate shot at winning 100-games or more in 2014.


Braves in a Downward Spiral
The Braves haven’t only been playing themselves out of contention in the NL East, but they’re on the verge of doing so in regards to a possible National League wild card spot. Entering the opening game of this series tonight against the team with the best record in all of baseball, the Braves have lost 12 of their last 15-games. The major problem during this futile stretch has been offensive run production. The Braves have scored 3-runs or less in 12 of their last 14-games, and are averaging a paltry 2.6 runs per outing during that time. At the time of this writing, the Braves were 2nd in the NL East 5.5-games behind Washington, and are 3.0 games behind St. Louis for the final wild card spot.


Final Analysis
The Braves have a couple of things working for them here. You may be very surprised to know that Oakland has gone a dismal 2-14 this season as a money line underdog of +100 or more. Atlanta has also gone 36-16 at home the last 2-seasons versus an opponent with a winning record. Lastly, I do give a slight edge in the starting pitching department to Alex Wood over Jason Hammel tonight.
Free MLB Pick: Braves -115 over the A’s at Hollywood Sportsbook

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