April 17, 2021

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Los Angeles Dodgers vs Oakland Athletics: Preview & Best Bet – 4/7/21

The A’s bats were held in check once again last evening, but there really is no room to nag about the pitching last night. The Dodgers were held to just five runs, which seems like a miraculous feat given the A’s pitching this season, but Oakland was unable to get anything going offensively. The series finale kicks off this afternoon with a matinee affair between Trevor Bauer and Jesus Luzardo. Will the A’s have the brooms busted out on them for a second series in a row? Read below to find out!

Money Line: LAD -165, OAK +140

Run Line: LAD -1.5 (-104), OAK +1.5 (-115)

Total: 8 (O -105, U -115)

First Pitch: 2:37 PM CST, Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA

Los Angeles Dodgers (5-1)

The Dodger fans were treated to a vintage Clayton Kershaw performance last night. Kershaw was mowing down the A’s lineup, with the first inning being the only blemish inning on the night for Los Angeles. Kershaw pitched seven strong innings, allowing just four hits and one earned run. The lefty made history last night as well. Kershaw had eight punchouts on the night, which pushed his career strikeout total to 2,743. He passed the legendary Don Sutton for most strikeouts (regular season and postseason combined) in Dodgers history (2,739). There is still some work for Kershaw to catch Sutton in most strikeouts in the regular season, but if he keeps pitching the way he did Tuesday night, it is very attainable for Clayton Kershaw.

The A’s scored one run in the first inning, which was their first lead at any point in a game for 2021. The lead was short lived though, as Austin Barnes tied the game up in the next half inning with an RBI double. Max Muncy and Edwin Rios both took Chris Bassitt deep in the third inning, which extended the lead to 4-1. Mookie Betts picked up his first homerun of the season as well, with a solo shot to left in the ninth inning, to officially put the game on ice with a score of 5-1.  Blake Treinen and Kenley Jansen both pitched one inning apiece, not allowing any runs to come across. There was no save opportunity for Jansen, but the closer had not pitched since Saturday, so one inning of a non-save situation to knock off some rust was the move made by Dave Roberts.

Trevor Bauer was far from his usual dominant self in his first outing as a Dodger against the Colorado Rockies last week. The California native picked up a win, but he allowed four runs on 6.1 innings pitched, which is pretty uncharacteristic of him to give up that many runs. I know that sounds sort of odd to be bashing a guy who gave up four runs, but in his 11 starts last season with Cincinnati, he allowed four runs just once. Bauer last faced Oakland in 2019, where he ironically enough gave up…. Yep, you guessed it, four runs. That game was played at Progressive Field though, a much more hitter friendly park than the Coliseum. He did have a start once that year at the Coliseum, allowing just two runs on seven innings pitched.

Oakland Athletics (0-6)

So, the A’s did not win last night. But! They did lose by a significantly smaller margin than their last few games. Look, this team is still loaded with talent and is far too good to be playing this bad. Things are going to turn around for them, at some point this season. Chris Bassitt was good, not great, in his start last night for Oakland. The right-hander went six innings, where he allowed nine hits and four earned runs, bringing his record to 0-2 with a 5.56 ERA. The damage could have been a lot worse than what it was, considering the Dodgers were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position last night. Matt Olson was out with a knee injury, which allowed Mitch Moreland to slide into first base, instead of being the designated hitter. Moreland made several heads up plays, saving the A’s at least two runs on the night. Lou Trivino and Yusmeiro Petit both pitched a clean inning in relief, which is promising to see at least the A’s have two dependable arms available. Jordan Weems was just called up from the alternative site, where he promptly allowed a solo homerun to Mookie Betts in the ninth inning, welcome back!

The A’s pitching was much better last and the defense did their part not giving away outs to the Dodgers. The bats are still ice cold though at the moment. The A’s were only able to muster five hits on the evening, two of which came in the first inning from Ramon Laureano and Jed Lowrie. Aside from Laureano and Lowrie, the A’s were 1-for-24 (.042). Another historic milestone was reached with last night’s loss… The A’s 0-6 start is now tied for the worst start in franchise history (1916 Philadelphia Athletics started season 0-6). If the A’s can muster a few runs on the board and pitch like they did last night, good things will come their way… eventually.

Jesus Luzardo gets the ball for Oakland on Wednesday, where he looks to improve from his not so great start against Houston last Friday. The lefty racked up eight strikeouts against Houston, but he was also responsible for allowing eight hits and five earned runs over a five-inning span. Luzardo saw the Dodgers once in a relief situation last season. He allowed three hits, three walks and three runs over a three-inning span in that game. Fortunes might bode well for the young lefty however, as the Dodgers have a .188 career batting average against Luzardo.

Analysis and Prediction

As I mentioned earlier, the Athletics are going to win sooner or later. They have too much talent on both sides of the ball to be playing this poorly. That being said, the Los Angeles Dodgers are not the team you want to face when you are in a slump. Trevor Bauer was simply amazing last season, and he is going to get right back on track this afternoon to lower that 5.68 ERA. Sorry A’s, we are going to have the brooms brought out on us for a second time in only two series so far this season. I am backing the Dodgers ML as my best bet this afternoon.

Jack’s 2021 MLB picks: (3-1)