By: Jack O’Keefe
We were cruising in the pitcher’s duel between Brandon Woodruff and Luis Castillo last night. The game was deadlocked at 2-1 for several innings, before the Reds opened up the floodgates in the bottom of the eighth inning. A four-run outburst and a two-run homerun by the Brewers in the top of the ninth did us in on the under 7.5 runs. Today is a new day! Back out west we go for a showdown between the Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Dodgers. Frankie Montas gets the ball for the Athletics while Dustin May will get the green light for the Dodgers. What can we expect from this matchup? Read below to find out!
Money Line: OAK +145, LAD -170
Run Line: OAK +1.5 (-145), LAD -1.5 (+125)
Total: 9.0 (O -110, U -110)
First Pitch: 8:30 PM CST, Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
Oakland Athletics (33-20)
The Athletics officially clinched the AL West last evening because of the Astros losing to the Mariners. We would have felt more of a sense of ‘accomplishment’ had the clinching opportunity been from a victory, but we will take the division crown for what it is worth. Although this year is unique with the new playoff format, a division title would have guaranteed the A’s an opportunity to play in a best of three series. The A’s have not been fantastic in the “winner-take-all” wild card game from years past (since 2014 0-3 in wild card round). The A’s have not had a series win since 2006, back when they swept the Twins in the ALDS, only to get swept the following round by the Tigers.The A’s have not won the AL West since 2013, so it has been a few years since they have been on outright on top in the west. The A’s were steam-rolled on Sunday by the Giants 2-14. Mike Minor was far from spectular in the game Sunday, giving up six runs over a five-inning span. The new Oakland hero, Jake Lamb, came up with a two-run single in the sixth inning… but obviously two runs would not be enough to surpass the Giants on Sunday. Tonight will serve as the perfect opportunity to bounce back from the lackluster performance they displayed on Sunday. I would hope, again hope being the keyword here, that the A’s bring their best baseball to Dodger Stadium for this three-game series. Yes, the division is locked up, but this is a good measuring stick to see how the A’s stack up against the best team in baseball. Frankie Montas goes for the A’s tonight, where he will look to figure it out and get back on the winning track we know he has in him. Over the last seven outings, Montas has a collective 6.62 ERA, which just makes you question if there needs to be a mechanics adjustment or is Montas hurt. It is hard to believe a guy that went 9-2 last year with a 2.63 ERA can be this bad in 2020. He has an outlandish 8.46 road ERA this season, and if I am being brutally honest, I do not see one of the best offenses in baseball (Dodgers) being held in check by Montas.
Los Angeles Dodgers (38-16)
So, as we mentioned in the Athletics section of this preview, 2013 was the last time the A’s won the division. Why is 2013 are we mentioning 2013 for the Los Angeles Dodgers as well? 2013was the turning point year for the Dodgers. After a three-yearhiatus, 2013 was the year the Dodgers won the NL West, and have not been dethroned by another team in the NL West since then. The Dodgers have two World Series appearances since 2013, but they came up empty in 2017 and 2018. The Dodgers have not won it all since 1988 over, my beloved Oakland Athletics, so maybe 2020 is the year they finally break through. In a year of abnormalities and chaos, how fitting would it be for the Los Angeles Dodgers to come out on top? The Dodgers are on a completely different level than the competition right now. They are a top-five team in almost every offensive and pitching category in baseball. Very rarely do you find a team THAT deep on both sides of the ball. The team has a collective ERA of 3.06, best in baseball. The team bullpen has an ERA of 2.86, second in baseball only behind the Athletics (2.08). Both teams have been dominant with relief pitching this season, and they are the only two teams that have a bullpen ERA less than 3.35. The Dodgers have only lost one series all season. That is absolutely incredible. The Dodgers have six games remaining, so it is pretty likely they will finish the season out with less than 20 losses. No other team in baseball can claim such a feat. As great as all the regular season accomplishments have been, this will be a failed season if the Dodgers do not win it all. Anytime you go get a superstar talent in Mookie Betts to add to an already ridiculous lineup, the expectations around the clubhouse areWorld Series or bust before Opening Day. Dustin May gets the ball for the Dodgers tonight, where he may start the game out of the bullpen (as was the case his previous start against San Diego last week). May will not go deep in the game, maybe four or five innings, but he yet to allow more than three runs in any outing this season. Once things are turned over to the bullpen, the Dodgers are difficult to beat. To no surprise, the Dodgers are 7-3 on games that May has pitched this season.
Analysis and Prediction:
The Los Angeles Dodgers are good, but they are slightly better on the road than at home this season. The A’s struggle away from the Coliseum (13-12), so I believe the Dodgers have the clear advantage in this game. I am really hoping the A’s are able to make it a contestable contest, but I am not really sure what to expect when Montas is on the bump this season. I would almost feel comfortable taking the Dodgers on the runline giving a run and a half, but as an A’s fan, that is too deflating to toss in the towel like that. Instead, I will keep it safe and take the Dodgers ML (-170) as my best bet this evening.
Jack’s 2020 MLB picks: (25-19; all picks are one unit) A $100 bettor has a profit of $166