Take 'Under' For Athletics vs. Yankees Showdown In The Bronx

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, April 21, 2016 3:02 PM GMT

Two starting pitchers that are each probably better than their ERA could lead to a sneaky MLB pick of ‘under’ in the Bronx Thursday when Athletics visit Yankees.

 

MLB Record: 8-10-1, -0.97

In a matchup of two starting pitchers that have started this season slow but are both capable of more, the value may lie with the ‘under’ Thursday night when southpaw Rich Hill and the Oakland Athletics (8-7, 5-0 away) pay a visit to right-hander Luis Severino and the New York Yankees (5-8, 3-5 home) as the teams wrap up a three-game series from Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, NY at 7:05 ET in a game available on YES.

The posted total at Heritage Sports is 8 for this contest with the current MLB odds boards on the ‘under’ set at -110.

Oakland Still Unbeaten on Road
The Athletics are going for the three-game sweep at Yankee Stadium after winning the series opener Tuesday 3-2 in extra innings and then again 5-2 last night with both games staying ‘under’. Thus, Oakland remains the only Major League team that remains undefeated on the road this year at 5-0, and the A’s have also continued their uncanny mastery over New York that now has them at 20-8 in the last 28 head-to-head meetings.

Those first two losses in this series leave the Yankees as the losing MLB picks in six of their last seven games and they are just 1-4 on their current home stand, which continues after this game with a weekend series vs. the Tampa Bay Rays. New York has produced only 14 hits the last two nights, and only eight of those hits came from players other than Alex Rodriguez and Didi Gregorius, who had three apiece.

 

Severino Not Displaying Promise of Last Year…Yet!
Severino has yet to show the upside that he displayed after first coming up to the Major Leagues last season, as he is now 0-2 with a 5.91 ERA and 1.78 WHIP through two starts after getting hit hard by the Seattle Mariners in his last outing Friday allowing four earned runs on eight hits plus a walk with only two strikeouts while lasting just 5.2 innings in the 7-1 loss.

Still, it is just two starts though and Severino is just 22 years old, so there is no reason to believe that he cannot return to his rookie form of last year when he went 5-2 with a very nice 2.89 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 62.1 innings over 11 starts. Besides, Severino still has a 3.24 FIP and 2.72 xFIP over his first two starts this year, as his mainstream statistics have suffered from allowing an abnormal .436 BABIP, which will certainly not continue.

This will also be his first ever start against the Athletics, which should work to his advantage, and he is facing an Oakland lineup batting only .220 while averaging 2.93 runs per nine innings vs. right-handed pitchers this season, validating the preseason ZiPS projections that had Oakland with the lowest collective predicted offensive WAR in the majors.

Yankees Terrible with Men in Scoring Position
The A’s counter with the veteran 36-year-old left-hander Hill, who is also off to a slow start in 2016 at 1-2 with a 4.15 ERA and 1.69 WHIP through three starts. Oakland added Hill for pitching depth after he had an impressive brief stint with the Red Sox in his return to the Major Leagues last year when he posted a 1.55 ERA and 0.66 WHIP with 36 strikeouts 29 innings vs. just five walks after his September 1st call-up.

That momentum has not carried over to this year as of yet, but tonight could be a good night for Hill to regain his form considering the Yankees’ recent inadequacies offensively, as the Bronx Bombers have been anything but their nickname while going a woeful 4-for-58 with runner in scoring position over the last seven games, scoring a measly 15 runs (2.14 per game) in this span.

It also helps that Hill is very familiar with most of the veteran Yankee lineup after having been a member of the Yankees just two years ago. Perhaps that familiarity helped Hill limit the Bombers to two runs on only four hits in six innings in his only start against them last season. He now faces a New York lineup batting .230 and averaging 2.05 runs per nine innings vs. southpaws thus far.

 

Both Teams on Nice ‘under’ Runs
Finally, both of these teams are currently on nice ‘under’ runs as it has gone 12-3-1 in the last 16 Oakland games as well as 5-0-1 in the Yankees’ last six games overall. The ‘under’ is also 11-1 in the Athletics’ last 12 games vs. right-handed starters, as well as 21-7-1 in the Yankees’ last 29 home games vs. teams with a road winning percentage of greater than .600.

Expect those ‘under’ trends to continue with both starting pitchers returning to their normal forms when the Oakland A’s again visit the New York Yankees for the series finale from the Bronx on Thursday.

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Free MLB Pick: ‘Under’ 8 (-110)
Best Line Offered: at Heritage