MLB Picks: Ubaldo & Indians vs. Straily & Athletics

Ross Benjamin

Saturday, August 17, 2013 1:55 PM GMT

The Indians and Athletics square off in game 2 of a 3-game series on Saturday night at Oakland Alameda Coliseum.

 

Money Line

Cleveland +135

Oakland -145

 

Total

Over 8.0 (-105)

Under 8.0 (-115)

 

Run Line

Cleveland +1.5 (-170)

Oakland -1.5 (+150)

 

The Indians are in 2nd place in the AL Central with a record of 65-57 and 6.0 games behind the division leading Detroit Tigers. In addition Cleveland finds themselves 4.5 games behind Oakland and 5.0 behind Tampa Bay for the American League wild card spots. Oakland enters today with a record of 69-52 and in 2nd in the AL West just a 1/2 game behind division leading Texas. If the season ended today the A’s would qualify for the playoffs as a wild card team.

Oakland took the opening game of this series 3-2 on Friday night. The A’s Yoenis Céspedes hit a 2-run homer in the 1st inning his 20th of the season to give the A’s an early 2-0 lead that they never squandered. Cespedes is 10 for 25 with two home runs and eight RBI’s in seven career home games against the Indians. Eric Sogard doubled in the bottom of the 7th to score Stephen Vogt breaking a 2-2 tie. Grant Balfour came on in the 9th for the A’s to capture his 31st save of the season. Justin Masterson took the loss for Cleveland dropping his record to 13-9 on the season. The Indians hurler gave his club 7.0 solid innings allowing 3 earned runs on 7 hits while striking out 4 and walking just 1. The Indians have only themselves to blame for last night’s loss after after leaving 13 men on base, and going 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position.

Cleveland sends Ubaldo Jimenez to the hill on Saturday night. Jimenez enters this start with a record of 8-7 with a 4.11 ERA. The Indians are 14-9 this season when Jimenez is their starting pitcher. Jimenez has displayed very good form over his last 3 starts posting an excellent 1.96 ERA. In 12 road starts this season the Cleveland hurler has posted a solid 3.37 ERA. Jimenez is 3-0 in his career starts versus Oakland with a 3.57 ERA. The right-hander has seen 20 of his 27 career road starts go under the total after allowing 2 earned runs or less in his previous start.

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Oakland will start right-hander Daniel Straily. Straily enters this outing with a record 6-6 with a 4.19 ERA. Oakland is 11-8 this season when Straily is their starter. In his last 3 starts the Oakland hurler has a very good 2.81 ERA but a shaky 1.50 WHIP. Those kinds of splits more times than not indicate that a pitcher has wiggled out of several jams and the ERA may be a bit deceptive. This will be Straily’s first career start versus the Indians.

The Indians are now just 3-9 in their last 12 games following last night’s loss. The Indians bats have gone a bit silent hitting just .205 as a team over their last 7 games. The Indians are a very good 38-25 at home but a less than stellar 27-32 on the road. Cleveland is still a very profitable 17-7 this season versus AL West opponents. The Indians are now 4-1 versus Oakland in 2013. Cleveland has also lost their last 5 games played at Oakland. The Indians have gone under the total in 10 of their last 13 road games.

Oakland has been a very good 37-22 at home this season and a respectable 32-30 on the road. The A’s are an extremely profitable 38-14 over the last 2 seasons as a home money line favorite of between -125 and -175. Oakland has gone under the total in 24 of 36 games in 2013 when they’re facing a starting pitcher who allows an average of 5.5 or less hits per start. Oakland has seen 8 of their 10 home games with Cleveland go under the total over the last 3 seasons, and 16 of their 22 overall go under the number versus the Tribe in that same time span. Oakland has gone under the total in 7 of their last 9 home games overall.

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Ubaldo Jimenez has been much more consistent on the road than at home this season. I also can’t ignore the fact that Jimenez has had relatively good success in his brief history versus Oakland. The Oakland starter Daniel Straily is a dismal 0-4 since the all-star break. Cleveland needs to take the last 2 games of this series in the worst way not only to turn things around, but to improve their chances of staying in the American League playoff chase. I have the slightest of leans in this spot the team with more of a sense of urgency. A small wager on the Cleveland Indians is my call in this one.

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