Oakland Takes Game 1 in Bay Bridge Series ... with Whomever Starting Pitcher Is

Doug Upstone

Monday, July 31, 2017 3:10 PM UTC

Monday, Jul. 31, 2017 3:10 PM UTC

How quickly times passes, even when you are involved in the grind of betting baseball in the spring and summer months. Take the fortunes of Oakland and San Francisco as the perfect examples.

From 2012 to 2014, the Bay Area was the place for baseball, as the Giants won World Series championships in 2012 and 2014, giving them three in five years, while the Athletics were winning 94, 96 and 88 games, respectively, during the regular season and was in the postseason each time.

Fast forward to 2017 and each has the second-worst record in their league, as they begin a four-game home and home series that will only matter to the locals. (And to those making MLB picks like us,)


Pitching Matchup: Cain vs. Gray

All those years of 30+ starts and 200-plus innings, which did not include two long stints in the postseason, took their toll on the Giants' Matt Cain (3-9, 5.45 ERA), who has not been the same since the second half of the 2014 campaign. Once a real workhorse, Cain has lost velocity, lacks the bite on the slider, and with 41 walks and 59 strikeouts this season, command is the latest issue, all for someone who is still only 32 and seems like he's 42 and is only pitching regularly because of big contract. Besides the free passes, teams are hitting .310 against Cain's offerings. The right-hander has not faced the A's since 2014 and is 4-5 with a 2.17 ERA as a starter against them.

I type this with trepidation, because there is a very good chance Oakland's Sonny Gray (6-5, 3.43) will not make this start with the trade deadline looming this afternoon. After making only 22 starts last year and on the DL again this season, more than one person who regularly studies the MLB odds wondered if the diminutive Gray (5-foot-10) was sturdy enough to handle the workload at still only 27. He's answered that question in his last six starts with a 1.37 ERA, allowing a .164 batting average and winning four times.


Mindset Could Be The Difference

A truly awful season was made worse this past weekend for the Giants in being swept by their bitter rivals L.A. San Francisco was in perfect position to win twice at Dodger Stadium, but their bullpen blew more saves and enters this battle on a three-game losing streak.

Conversely, Oakland came from behind twice against Minnesota the past two days, including trailing 5-0 on Sunday, and is feeling great after two such confidence-growing triumphs.


Betting Odds, Head-to-Head & Bullpen Numbers

As it stands now, the A's are -140 home favorites with a total of 9.5. San Francisco has won three of five across the bay the last couple of years and the total is 4-0-1 'over.' As far as the bullpen's ERA, the Giants rank 15th and Oakland is much lower at 26th.


The Winner Is ...

If Gray is traded as expected, Paul Blackburn (1-1, 3.38) is the most likely candidate to take his place. With Cain 0-6 (San Fran 2-7) with a 8.14 ERA in nine road starts this season, either way, I prefer Oakland.

Free MLB Pick: A's -138Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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