L.A. Angels vs Oakland Athletics Game 1 Picks

A's pitcher Kendall Graveman in action

Monday, May 8, 2017 3:26 PM GMT

Though it is only Week 6 of the baseball season, this will be the eighth game between the Angels and Athletics and the third time we will have the same exact starting pitching matchup.  

Over the years this has been a heated rivalry and is known for the visitor winning on the road and while it has cooled a bit with both clubs just trying to reach .500, things can change at a moment's notice.

 

Pitching Matchup - Nolasco vs. Graveman

Privately, manager Mike Scioscia probably still wonders what happened. This one proud franchise has been reduced to complete mediocrity but a poor front office, overbearing ownership, and Scioscia also contributing to the mess. Los Angeles has seen more than their share of pitching injuries, which is why they are stuck with pitchers like Ricky Nolasco (2-2, 4.68 ERA). At best, the 34-year right-hander should be a fifth starter, yet in Anaheim, he's one of their top rung and concedes a .292 batting average and has been tagged for nine home runs in just 32.2 innings. Nolasco is 4-3 with a 3.34 ERA in nine career starts against Oakland. 

Kendall Graveman (2-2, 3.95) at 26 could be described as a young Ricky Nolasco. When Nolasco was Graveman's age, he had a low to mid-90's fastball and a good slider. As long as he kept the ball low, Nolasco was effective, which perfectly fits Graveman's career to this juncture. After a good start, Graveman is 0-2 with a 7.71 ERA since coming off the DL. The A's righty is 2-2 with a 3.28 ERA in eight starts versus L.A.A.

 

Do Not Be Fooled, These Are Anemic Clubs

Despite both these AL West are still within the .500 range, they will not be for long. Oakland is 12th in runs scored in the AL at 3.9 and the team from Anaheim is 13th at 3.8. Take away Yonder Alonso and Mike Trout from these squads and the scoring average dips further.

One of my favorite stats in score differential, which is a good measuring stick of how good a team is. Consider the A's are 14th in run differential in the AL and the Halos are 12th and they are close to .500 record will soon be offset by Oakland having a 4-11 record in games determined by four or more runs and the Angels being at 2-7 in the same category.

 

Betting Odds, History and Bullpen Numbers

The MLB odds opened with Oakland at -133, but that has fallen to essentially a Pick with the news of Trout upgraded to 'probable' after missing last two contests with a strained hamstring. In either case, the total has remained at 8.5. Los Angeles has won five of seven this season (5-2 UNDER also) and is 13-9 at the Coliseum the past three years with the total 12-9-1 UNDER. The Angels are ninth in bullpen ERA in the junior circuit and the A's are 10th.

 

The Winner Is......

For MLB picks, the current line of a tossup sure looks right when you consider all the flaws of both teams, yet for some reason, the Angels are 2-13 in road games vs. teams outscored by one or more runs a game since 2015. I'll give the nod to the A's.

 Free MLB Pick: Oakland -102Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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