Pick King Felix & His Court in A's vs. Mariners Today

Willie Bee

Saturday, September 13, 2014 1:54 PM GMT

Locked in a battle for the American League wild card slots, the A's and Mariners continue their final MLB odds series of 2014 with a matchup of aces on Saturday.

Baltimore is running away with the East while the Angels have control of the West, leaving just the Central and Wild-Card spots to decide in the American League. That means someone is going to be disappointed since four teams are in the fight for three remaining playoff invites.

Two of them go head-to-head Saturday night in Seattle where the charging Mariners host the sinking Oakland Athletics. The 9:10 PM (ET) start will find the division rivals just a half-game apart, Oakland holding that tenuous lead and having to up against one of the game's best hurlers in Felix Hernandez.

Seattle is priced -155 at home behind its ace, the A's sending young Sonny Gray to the bump in hopes of dethroning the King. SBR's live MLB odds have 6 for the total, a few shops taxing 'under' bettors a little heavier.

 

Four Teams Divided By ½ Game With 2 Weeks To Go
Friday night saw the Mariners pull up just behind Oakland for the top AL wild-card slot with a 4-2 victory in the series opener. James Paxton and three relievers limited the Athletics to six hits and one earned run while striking out 12, three different Seattle hitters poking bleacher bombs to account for enough offense.

The triumph was Seattle's 10th in 17 matchups with the A's this year, and fourth in the seven games played at Safeco Field. The final tally stopped shy of a 7 run total, cashing 'under' tickets for a fifth time in Emerald City.

While the M's were beating the A's, the Tigers moved back into the AL Central lead with a win coupled with a Kansas City loss. That quartet is packed within .003 percentage points of each other with the end of the 2014 campaign only 16 days away.

 

Gray In Major Rut Last 6 Weeks
There has been a lot of discussion lately about Gray having worn down already in his first full season at the major league level. His numbers since the end of July certainly bear that out, the former Vanderbilt star sitting 12-3 with a 2.65 ERA through the first four months before dropping off to 1-5, 4.76 from Aug. 1 forward.

We see the same thing when looking at how Gray performed from April through July against the Mariners, and how he has done vs. Seattle since. The 24-year-old righthander won his first three assignments against the M's while allowing just two earned runs in nearly 21 innings; he was smacked around by this lineup less than two weeks ago, surrendering six earnies in five frames.

Hernandez has been getting some stiff competition for the AL Cy Young Award from Chicago's Chris Sale lately, but the Seattle ace remains the odds-on favorite to capture his second trophy. King Felix has only allowed more than three earned runs in two of his 29 assignments, and he's been a huge problem for Oakland's lineup all season. The Mariners have won each of Hernandez's five starts vs. the A's while he pitched to a 2.15 ERA.

 

Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
Mike Muchlinksi, a native of nearby Tacoma, has the dish for fourth time at Safeco this season and second with Gray on the hill. Two of his previous three plate assignments here stayed 'under' to mimic his overall season record (10-16 O/U). Home teams have split the 26 outcomes, going 10-8 when lined with chalk.

A gorgeous day is in the Seattle forecast, sunny skies leading to afternoon highs in the upper-70s. The weatherman has pegged 73º for first pitch with a light north or northeast breeze blowing in from left and left-center.

If you have been reading along all season, then you probably already know how I'm going to play this for my free MLB pick.  Let's back the king and his court on the run line tonight.

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My Free MLB Pick: Mariners -1.5 (+160) at 5Dimes

Willie Bee's Season Record: 118-115 (+2.15)