By Jack O’Keefe
Wow, I was not expecting that result in the slightest. I know Frankie Montas was coming off extended rest, but he just looked very off last night against Arizona. Maybe this is retribution for what the A’s did to the Giants last week? Baseball can be a funny game, in that sense. The A’s got popped in the face with a 10-1 drubbing last night, and they come back home to the Coliseum with hopes of evening the series. The Diamondbacks will turn to Merrill Kelly while the Athletics will give the ball to Jesus Luzardo. Is today the streak ends for the Diamondbacks or can we expect to see them pick up win number seven in a row? Read my insights below to find out!
Money Line: ARI +145, OAK -170
Run Line: ARI +1.5 (-135), OAK -1.5 (+115)
Total: 8.5 (O -110, U -110)
First Pitch: 8:40 CST, Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA
Arizona Diamondbacks (13-11)
Luke Weaver took exception to me calling him a terrible pitcher in yesterday’s preview. So, what do you do if someone slanders you and your 11.85 ERA? Shutdown one of the most potent offenses in baseball, naturally. This game was over by the first inning, and that is not even an exaggeration saying such a thing. The A’s had a nice scoring opportunity lined up in the top of the first, and they failed to cash in on it. During the bottom of the first, the Diamondbacks also had a scoring opportunity, and they seized the moment by scoring five runs off Frankie Montas. Nick Ahmed hit a three-run homerun in the first and added on to his RBI campaign by driving in two more in the second inning. After two innings of play, the A’s found themselves in a 9-1 hole. I do not care how impressive your late inning heroics are as a team, any time you fall behind by that magnitude of runs, it is virtually impossible to come back. Luke Weaver turned in his best pitching performance Tuesday night. The right-hander went five innings, allowed just three hits, one run, and struck out six batters. His ERA is still at an outrageous 9.16, but if he is capable of turning performances like this one on a more regular basis, the ERA will dwindle. The bullpen kept things in check as well, with Taylor Widener going three innings (picked up six strikeouts as well) and Yoan Lopez pitched a clean inning. Essentially everyone in the lineup contributed in some fashion at the plate Tuesday for the Diamondbacks. Nick Ahmed had three hits, one being a homerun, and collected five RBIs. Kole Calhoun had two hits, with one being a homerun as well. Starling Marte had two hits and a walk, which has now pushed his hit streak to eight games. The former Pittsburgh Pirate outfielder is batting a robust .361 this year, sixth best in baseball. Merrill Kelly gets the nod for the Diamondbacks on Wednesday. Kelly has been fantastic this year, and he will be fresh off his best outing pitching 6.2 innings of shutout ball against the powerful San Diego Padres. Kelly has been a workhorse for the Diamondbacks this season, going at least six innings in all four of his starts this season. He has yet to allow over three runs in any of the outings as well. Assuming the Diamondbacks will continue to tear the cover off the baseball, Kelly will be in good position to pick up another win, which would boost his record to 4-1 in 2020. He has yet to face the A’s in his career, so we have no data available at this time.
Oakland Athletics (16-8)
Frankie Montas left A’s fans simply scratching their heads in disbelief last night. It is one thing to be a little off your game, but I think saying Montas was a little off would be the understatement of the year. He simply stunk last night. Tuesday night’s nightmare was the worst start in Montas’ career. He had never given up more than seven runs in a game in his MLB career. You have days like this sometimes, we hope though that this was an anomaly and not a sign of what is to come for Montas. His official line from last night was 1.2 innings 6 hits 9 runs 4 walks and 1 strikeout. There, it has been said, now let’s move on. Lou Trivino pitched 2.1 shutout innings and Daniel Mengden pitched four innings as well with one run allowed. If nothing else, at least the bullpen held their ground and did allow anything to get totally out of hand more than it already was in some aspects. As I mentioned earlier, this game was over for all intent and purposes back in the second inning, but I turn to the first inning as the “game changing” inning. If the A’s would have cashed in on scoring when they had two on and no outs, things might have went differently in the ballgame. Instead, they left the runners stranded, and we all know what happened after that. It is encouraging having Ramon Laureano back in the lineup and knowing the bullpen rocks… but how do you win games when homeruns are not flowing? The Diamondbacks can manufacture runs with homeruns or simply driving in runners on base throughout the ballgame. The A’s with runners in scoring position against Arizona? 0-9. That makes it an upward battle to win games when the power of blasting bombs suddenly goes cold. The A’s will turn to Jesus Luzardo to right the ship and get back to their winning ways on Wednesday. Luzardo will look to rebound after his dreadful start last Friday against the Giants. In that game, the lefty allowed six runs over 3.1 innings pitched. Like Merrill Kelly, Luzardo has never pitched against Arizona in his career, so there is no data available at this time.
Analysis and Prediction:
Arizona has looked like the more complete team thus far in the series. Merill Kelly has been lights out for the Diamondbacks this year as well. The Diamondbacks have won in all but one game Kelly pitched, the one loss coming from the best team in baseball, Los Angeles Dodgers. I would expect Kelly to pitch six or seven innings tonight against the Athletics and pick up his fifth straight quality start this season. Jesus Luzardo has been steady for the A’s for most of the 2020 season. His last outing worries me though, especially with knowing how hot the Diamondback bats are right now. I am thinking the Diamondbacks will get out to a comfortable lead in this one and never look back once they get the lead. For today’s game, I am going to back the Diamondbacks ML (+145).
Jack’s 2020 MLB picks: (10-5; all picks are one unit) A $100 bettor has a profit of $296.