We preview Sunday's Game 3 between the Chicago White Sox & Oakland Athletics, sharing our betting odds analysis and free MLB pick, noting the pitching matchup between Samardzija and Kazmir.
The Chicago White Sox Can Win Because…
If you were to pick a more disappointing team in the major leagues through one and a half months, you would have a hard time identifying a team worse than the Oakland Athletics. The A’s have been a model of consistency for so many years, with general manager Billy Beane making the moneyball moves that have put a highly successful team on the field for comparatively few dollars. However, last year, Beane went against his instincts. He panicked and went for big-dollar acquisitions such as Jon Lester and Jason Hammel. He tried to win quickly instead of retaining the core of his lineup in an attempt to be patient. The A’s push for the World Series failed miserably with a loss in the American League wild card game against the Kansas City Royals, and Lester went to the Chicago Cubs in the offseason. Now, the A’s are a shell of their former selves, although they are favored on Sunday's MLB betting odds. They gave up Yoenis Cespedes and other pieces for Lester, and what’s been left behind has not been able to do much of anything. The A’s entered Saturday night with a 13-24 record, buried in the American League West and immersed in a full-fledged crisis. Chicago, as poorly as it has played this season, has fared better than Oakland. The White Sox can expect to defeat the A’s, much as they did on Friday night in the first game of this series. Chicago can once again victimize Oakland’s bullpen and make this matchup work in its favor.
The Oakland Athletics Can Win Because…
They're in ownership of the much better and more effective starting pitcher in this matchup. Chicago starter Jeff Samardzija has simply struggled to find his release point and any comfortable kind of rhythm, at least something he’s been able to sustain. Samardzija was supposed to be an elite number two starter behind staff ace Chris Sale, but things just haven’t worked out that way in the Windy City, where Samardzija used to pitch for the Chicago Cubs. Pitching in the American League has been an adjustment for Samardzija, one he hasn’t handled well. The Notre Dame product has a 4.80 ERA. He has been ripped to shreds in most of his recent starts. He gave up seven runs in his most recent start on May 11 against Milwaukee. He was solid in his previous start on May 5, but in the start before that on April 29, he was shelled by Baltimore for eight runs in five innings. He is just an undependable pitcher right now.
Oakland starter Scott Kazmir, on the other hand, has a 2.78 ERA. He has allowed more than three runs in only one of his seven starts this season. He’s miles better than Samardzija at this point in the season.
The pitching struggles of Samardzija are too great to ignore. He’s given up six home runs in seven starts and he’s allowed at least four earned runs in four of his seven starts. Pitching away has been a problem for him as he’s 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA at home compared to 0-2 with a 6.48 ERA on the road. As for Kazmir, he’s been solid on the year but has been roughed up a bit in May, posting a 5.50 ERA so far, compared to April, where he had an ERA of 0.99. That being the case, go over with your MLB picks here.
MLB Pick: Over at Bovada