As has been the theme in 2021, the A’s bats were held in check last night while the opposition pelted the pitching staff. The Dodgers hung up 10 runs on Oakland last evening, making it now five in a row the A’s have lost to open the 2021 season. Perhaps history is in Oakland’s fortune though. The A’s have dropped to 0-5 for what is now the third time in franchise history. The other two occurrences, 1979 and 1987, the A’s then went on to win their first game in the sixth attempt. Can history repeat itself with Chris Bassitt getting the nod? Or will Clayton Kershaw be too much to handle for Oakland? Read below to find out!
Money Line: LAD -162, OAK +140
Run Line: LAD -1.5 (+102), OAK +1.5 (-121)
Total: 8 (O -120, U -103)
First Pitch: 8:40 PM CST, Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA
Los Angeles Dodgers (4-1)
After watching last night’s performance, you will be hard pressed to bet against the Dodgers in October. Los Angeles has so much power on offense, and their pitching will be among the league’s best this season. Dustin May had arguably one of his best starting pitching performances in his professional career last night. The lanky right-hander tossed six innings of shutout baseball, only allowing two hits and two walks on the night, while picking up eight strikeouts along the way. His eight strikeouts were a career-high for May, who looks to have cemented his spot in the rotation for the Dodgers this season. His closest competition, David Price, pitched two innings last night, surrendering four hits and three runs in that span.
The super durable rookie, Zach McKinstry, started the scoring for the Dodgers in the second inning with a sacrifice fly to drive in Max Muncy. Mookie Betts drew a walk, and Corey Seager promptly unloaded the bases with a deep drive to center for a double. The score was 4-0 in the second inning, which in hindsight proved to be all the runs the Dodgers would need for a victory. Will Smith launched a homerun in the third inning, while the pesky McKinstry drove in one more run later on in the inning (another run was scored in the inning on a wild pitch by Frankie Montas). 7-0 in the third inning. The Dodgers taxed on one run in the seventh, eighth and ninth inning to cruise to a 10-3 victory. The aforementioned McKinstry is making quite a splash to start his MLB career by posting a .545 batting average. Along with McKinstry, who had three hits on the night, Max Muncy and Justin Turner also had multi-hit nights. Muncy is batting .400 on the season, while Turner is hitting .353. Oh, and that Corey Seager guy is only hitting .529. In short, the Dodgers can hit with the best of them out there. It is slightly disappointing to see David Price struggle the way he has so far this season, but father time seems to have caught Mr. Price in his footsteps. In 3.2 innings pitched this season, Price has allowed nine hits and five runs.
Clayton Kershaw looks to bounce back after his rough start last Thursday in Coors Field. You will have to turn back the dial all the way to August of 2018 to find Kershaw’s last start against the A’s. The lefty went six innings that day for Los Angeles, and he only allowed two runs on the campaign. Oddly enough, Kershaw only punched out one batter that day as well. I can almost guarantee you that Kershaw will have more than one strikeout recorded tonight. Mark Canha has had the greatest success over Clayton Kershaw, racking up three hits in six plate appearances. Overall, the A’s bats are a career .185 against Kershaw.
Oakland Athletics (0-5)
We definitely saw the 2020 version of Frankie Montas on the bump last evening. It is befuddling how Montas went from a 9-2 2.63 ERA pitcher in 2019, to where he was last year and this season. Is he injured? Is he tipping pitches? Logistically, it does not make sense how a player can have such a drastic regression in such a short time-span. Once again, this put pressure on an already well used A’s bullpen this season to throw a fire blanket on the Dodger offense. Montas was unable to get past the third inning, before Bob Melvin gave him the yank. Officially, Montas went 2.2 innings pitched, where he allowed seven hits and seven runs. Ouch. AJ Puk did a great job though of throwing water on the flames for a few innings last night. Puk went 3.1 innings, holding the Dodgers to one hit and no runs allowed. Puk’s performance was much needed, considering how unreliable the bullpen has been up and to this point. Adam Kolarek, Sergio Romo and Reymin Guduan all pitched for the A’s too last night and allowed a run while upon the pitcher’s mound.
The A’s were able to generate some offense behind the bat of Mark Canha, who blasted a solo shot in the eighth inning. Matt Chapman followed the act with an RBI infield single in the eighth inning and Ka’ai Tom had an RBI poke that inning as well. So in short, the A’s were able to scratch three garbage time runs in the eighth inning, but they were shut out in all the other innings of the game last evening. The A’s are now the third team in MLB history to allow eight or more runs in each of their first five games of the season. Alongside the 2021 A’s are the 1974 San Diego Padres and the 1995 Chicago White Sox. How did those teams fare for the rest of the season you ask? The Padres went 60-102 and the White Sox went 68-76.
Chris Bassitt will look to get back on track Tuesday night. Bassitt pitched 5.1 innings on Thursday against Houston, allowing three runs in that span. All things considered, that is a standing ovation outing in terms of what the Oakland starters have been unable to achieve this season. Bassitt has yet to face the Los Angeles Dodgers, which perhaps might benefit the A’s given the unfamiliarity to the right-handed pitcher.
Analysis and Prediction
I think before everyone starts pressing the panic button in Oakland, take a step back and breathe. The A’s open the series on a brutal stretch, four games against Houston, three games against Los Angeles and then three more with Houston. The Astros and Dodgers very well could be two teams in the World Series this season, given how much talent both teams have. So if the A’s only win two out of the first ten ballgames, it does not mean the season is over and this is all for nothing. Baseball is a marathon, not a sprint. The A’s are going to get going at some point; I just do not see tonight being that night though. I will go back to the well with this pick: Dodgers ML is where I will be putting my bucks behind tonight for my best bet.
Jack’s 2021 MLB picks: (2-1)