By: Jack O’Keefe
The Oakland bats were alive on Thursday night. After being held in check for the first two innings, the A’s finally cracked into the scoring column with a run in the bottom of the third inning. The A’s would then go on to score in the next four consecutive innings, allowing for an eight-run total in that span. The A’s won the game 8-4, and it was a game won with relative ease. Frankie Montas gets the ball tonight for Oakland, and Jose Urena will look to bounce back in his third start as a Detroit Tiger. What can we expect in this Friday night matchup? Read below to find out!
Money Line: DET +155, OAK -182
Run Line: DET +1.5 (-134), OAK -1.5 (+114)
Total: 8.5 (O -110, U -110)
First Pitch: 8:40 PM CST, Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA
Detroit Tigers (6-7)
The Tigers were held off the scoreboard for most of the evening, except for lone runs in the fourth and sixth inning. Detroit also scored two runs in the top of the ninth, but the game was already far out of reach by that point in time. The Tigers had no issue getting hits last evening, as they outhit the A’s 9-8 in the ball game, but they were unable to generate enough hits in a row to put some runs on the scoreboard. The defense of the Tigers last night was a little shaky as well. The Tigers dodged a bullet with the fielding error by Willi Castro in the third inning. Matt Chapman ended the frame striking out with the bases loaded. The Tigers were not as lucky the next inning, when a throwing error from Jeimer Candelario in the fourth inning allowed the A’s to score a run.
Niko Goodrum and Willi Castro had themselves quite the night at the dish, going 5-for-9 with three RBIs between the two Detroit batters. The rest of the team was 4-for-27 on the evening. Tarik Skubal lacked control of his pitches last evening, allowing four batters to reach via the base-on-ball in the four innings he pitched. The A’s were only able to muster one earned run off Skubal, so given all the track with the walks issued by Skubal, he had a decent outing. The bullpen was simply horrendous for the Tigers last night. Buck Farmer gave up a run on one inning of work. Joe Jimenez was able to only record one out and allow three runs. Alex Lange gave up two walks and an earned run, without recording an out. Last, but certainly not least, Tyler Alexander did the best he could with damage control, going 2.2 innings and allowing just one earned run.
Jose Urena gets the nod tonight, and if he pitches anything like he did against Minnesota and Cleveland, the bullpen will be in for another long night. The former Miami Marlin has failed to go past the fifth inning this year, In the 7.2 innings pitched, Urena has allowed seven hits, seven runs and issued nine walks in that span. Teams that are disciplined at the dish that know how to work the count and get on base via the free pass will have no problem knocking around Urena.
Oakland Athletics (6-7)
I cannot begin to tell you how good it feels seeing a quality start tossed by Sean Manaea. After a dreadful first outing against Houston, Manaea seems to have found his groove again on the mound with a second consecutive quality start performance. Manaea was able to go six innings for a second time in a row, this time punching out seven Tiger batters, opposed to four strikeouts in each of his previous two starts. The Tigers were able to score two runs on Manaea, thanks to a Willi Castro double and Niko Goodrum homerun, but Detroit was unable to do anything else against him. The A’s did their part making sure Manaea had plenty of run support. The scoring started with a Stephen Piscotty home run in the third inning. Matt Chapman officially busted the game open with a double to the 7-Up signage out in left-center field, allowing the A’s to take a 6-2 lead. For good measure, Jed Lowrie added an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning. This now moves the streak of having at least one RBI to six games for Lowrie.
The A’s were 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position last night. Normally a team would not see eight runs scored with such little success hitting in prime scoring opportunities, but the A’s just find ways to get runs across the board and win ball games. I am perfectly content with that, even if the statistics do not necessarily correlate with it. Frankie Montas looks to make it two solid starts in a row tonight. Montas will be coming off one of his strongest outings in the last two years. His ERA is still at an astronomical 8.31, but I am sure Bob Melvin would be perfectly content with Montas going five or six innings tonight. If he gives up a run or two, that is perfectly fine. The A’s do not want the Tigers to pounce on Montas for a 5-6 run outburst though within the first three innings of the game.
Analysis and Prediction
The A’s have now won six games in a row, and they are only two games back from the division leading Mariners at the moment. Urena has been shaky this season, so I would almost certainly expect to see the A’s notch a few quick runs off the Tigers starting pitcher to begin the ball game. What Montas we will get tonight is anyone’s guess. I think he is going to have a solid pitching performance, but I can almost guarantee he will allow at least two or three runs tonight. The over has cashed in nine of the 13 games played by Oakland this season. The Tigers have seen the over hit in four out of their last six games as well, so it seems very likely the offenses of both teams will be buzzing at various points tonight. I am going to take the O 8.5 runs for my best bet this evening.
Jack’s 2021 MLB picks: (6-4)