Mike Montgomery has been on fire since being called up but he faces the A's for the first time on Sunday. Our MLB Handicapper looks at this Sunday matinee and gives his MLB Pick.
Seattle and Oakland finish their 4-game series on Sunday afternoon in O.Co. Coliseum, and the biggest story of this game isn’t who is starting but who is missing. Oakland ace, Sonny Gray, was slated for this start but has been out with a bout of salmonella poisoning that required him to be hospitalized. His start has been pushed to Tuesday. Taking his place is Oakland call-up, Chris Bassitt. The opening MLB odds are basically pick-em at multiple sportsbooks with the O/U total listed at 7.5 runs.
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Seattle’s starter, Mike Montgomery, was lights out again in his last start against San Diego. Pitching a complete game shutout for the second time in a row, Montgomery lost a no-hit bid in the seventh when he gave up the only hit the Padres would get in the game to Yangervis Solarte. He’s been getting it done with excellent control, and his 64% first pitch strike rate is well above league average. After his second shut out on Tuesday, Montgomery’s stats on the season stand at 3-2, 1.62 ERA, 29/12 K/BB ratio, and an 0.90 WHIP. Nobody thinks that he can keep up this pace, but he’s definitely shown to be a serviceable starter so far for the Mariners.
Chris Bassitt will be making his second spot start for Sonny Gray after taking a tough luck loss on June 30th against the Colorado Rockies. In that game, Bassitt pitched 5 innings of one-run ball as the Oakland bats couldn’t get going and lost the game 2-1. Bassitt has a good fastball that touches 96 MPH, but his command had been lacking early in his minor league career, which will of course lead to all kinds of trouble if throwing strikes is your job. He’s got an 11/9 K/BB ratio so far this year in 15.2 IP in the majors, but was much better in AAA this year with a 64/18 K/BB ratio over 63 innings.
I want to quickly touch on some team offensive stats as they likely will come into play with my pick. The Mariners are near the bottom in most offensive categories, and as a team is batting with a .231 AVG and .291 OBP. Oakland on the other hand is in the top 10 in both of those categories with a .259 AVG and .321 OBP. The Seattle lineup is underperforming horribly compared to their career averages, so they should regress to ‘average’ soon.
MLB Pick: This is the first time that Mike Montgomery will be facing the A’s, and it just seems like they possess a lineup that could give him fits. Even if they didn’t score a ton of runs yesterday against Felix Hernandez the A’s were all over the base paths and consistently applying pressure. I like the prospect of them putting up a few runs this afternoon – they are 4th in the MLB in runs scored after all. Chris Bassitt is slated to be shipped back down to AAA afterwards and will be trying to make the most of this start. He will be pressing to throw strikes and the M’s lineup should be able to break through for a few runs off of the spot starter as well. Look for the offenses to come alive early in this one and take over 7.5 at BetOnline as your Sunday MLB pick.