The Oakland A’s visit the Los Angeles Angels in the fourth and final game of this AL West matchup in Anaheim, featuring two starters new to their respective rotations. Our handicapper analyzes the trends coming into the game and offers the value play for your Thursday MLB Picks.
We were fading Jered Weaver in last night’s game, and he went on to define ‘crafty veteran’ very well, pitching around 8 hits over six innings while only giving up one run. His bullpen let him down though, as Oakland busted through in the 7th and 8th innings, putting up crooked numbers to smoke the Angels 9-2. The A’s batters outhit the Angels, 18-4, in quite the offensive showing, so keep this in mind when looking at the MLB odds. With C.J. Wilson’s start pushed to Saturday, tonight we get Nick Tropeanos of the Angels versus the Jesse Chavez. Game time is a little weird, 4:05 PST, so I’d look for shadows and sun angles to slow down batters to begin the game. It also means the temp should be at the highs of the day, in the low 70’s at game time.
Starting for Oakland out of the bullpen is the journeyman, Jesse Chavez. Chavez has yet to give up a run this year, but he hasn’t started either. Last year, Chavez was very serviceable in the A’s rotation starting 21 games and garnering an 8-8 record while compiling a 3.45 ERA. The news with Chavez is that he has added a very effective cutter to his arsenal of pitches. First appearing in 2012, Chavez has thrown this pitch 53.1% of the time in the beginning of this young season. Per Pitchf/x found on fangraphs.com, that cutter has been his most effective pitch so far this season. With his fastball velocity hanging around for Chavez at 93+, the addition of the cutter to go along with an average to above average curve and changeup is an interesting development.
With C.J. Wilson a scratch for this game because of elbow stiffness, we get our first look at spot starter Nick Tropeanos as an Angel. Tropeanos was previously in the Astros organization, with just a cup of coffee to his name for major league experience in 2014. A 5th round pick in 2011, Tropeanos has steadily climbed through the minor leagues with an excellent K/9 rate of over 8. His plus pitch is definitely his changeup, which he throws with almost an identical delivery as his fastball – but at 10 MPH slower at 81 MPH. Tropeanos’ scouts also rave about his excellent command. Scouts have pegged Tropeanos as a back-end starter, with middle of the rotation as the upside.
The MLB Pick: With Oakland’s late inning burst last night, the Angels ended up burning through 5 relievers out of the bullpen. Not one of them failed to give up at least one hit, and four of the five gave up an earned run. I’m going to expect that some Angel relievers will not be available for this game, which could cause some matchup issues in the later innings. With both Tropeanos and Chavez being spot starters and possibly not the best candidates to pitch deep into the game, I believe this game will be decided by the bullpens. Oakland has the clear advantage in that regard coming into this game from a rest perspective. For this reason, I’m going to be taking Oakland at +100 for my Thursday MLB pick.
MLB Pick: Oakland +100 at 5Dimes