By Jack O’Keefe
Winners of two straight, the Athletics look to close out the four-game series taking three out of four at T-Mobile Park against the Seattle Mariners. The big right-hander, Frankie Montas, gets the nod for Bob Melvin’s squad this evening. Opposing Montas will be left-hander Justus Sheffield for Seattle. Will the A’s hot streak continue, or will Seattle pick up another win to stay in contention in the log jammed AL West? Read below to find out!
Money Line: OAK -190, SEA +165
Run Line: OAK -1.5 (-120), SEA +1.5 (EVEN)
Total: 9.0 (O -105, U -115)
First Pitch: 8:10 CST, T-Mobile Park, Seattle, WA
Oakland Athletics (5-4)
After dropping three games in a row (two at home to Colorado and one at Seattle), the A’s look like they have once again found their stride winning two straight. Frankie Montas will look to notch his first victory of the 2020 season tonight against a fairly hot-hitting Mariners lineup. Montas last pitched July 29th against the Colorado Rockies in Oakland, a game the A’s would go on to lose 5-1. Montas had an average pitching line, by his standards, going five innings with five hits allowed, two runs given up, two walks and only nabbing three punch outs. Montas only faced Seattle once last year, but he was highly effective in the game he pitched. On July 15th last year, the A’s pounded the Mariners 11-2, with Montas pitching six innings and recording nine punchouts while only surrendering two runs. I think it is pretty likely that Montas will go for five or six innings once again tonight and allow two or three runs to the Mariners. I trust in the bullpen to minimize the damage as well. Joakim Soria danced out of danger Saturday night by not allowing a run despite a bases loaded situation with one out. Liam Hendriks picked up three save Sunday as well, and he has bounced back nicely not allowing a run in his last three outings. A glaring defect though for this Oakland lineup is their inability to string hits right now. They are hitting a horrendous .188 as a team collectively, second to last in the MLB.
Seattle Mariners (4-6)
The Mariners caught my attention taking two out of three in Los Angeles against the Angels last week. It was not just that they won two out of three, but the fashion in which they did it surprised me more than anything. In terms of the “eye test” the lineup is loaded with young talent, perhaps still a few years away from really being developed though. Well, you would be wrong for falling into that false narrative. The Mariners put up a robust 20 runs in their three-game series against the Angels. On the year, the Mariners are hitting as a team .240 which is the 12th best rank in the league. Kyle Lewis leads the Mariners offense, hitting .425 with three homeruns already this season. Shortstop phenom, JP Crawford, is hitting .333 on the season as well. Both players only 25 years of age, the future is looking bright in Seattle. Another youngster will be out for the Mariners on the mound tonight in Justus Sheffield. Only 24 years of age, Sheffield looks to improve upon his 5.50 ERA from 2019. He got roughed up in his first outing this season, only last three innings and allowing four runs to the Angels. Walks were a bit of an issue for Sheffield as well, surrendering four base on balls to the Angels last Tuesday night. In his last start against the Athletics in 2019, Sheffield pitched five innings and only allowed one run… but he also issued four walks in the game. It seems like the more patient a team is, the better the chances they can get a runner via the base on balls and create scoring opportunities for themselves.
Analysis and Prediction:
Despite losing two in a row, I still trust the Mariners young bats to keep swinging it and getting on base. Oakland simply cannot generate runs, outside of the long ball, which makes it an upward battle for them to generate consistent scoring opportunities. For that reason, I see a lot of value with the Mariners +1.5 (EVEN). In both defeats, the Mariners have lost by a mere run. I expect tonight to be no different from what we have seen the last two days. Like I said earlier, I expect the A’s to allow two or three runs from Montas, so I have trust in the Mariner’s offense to at least generate two or three runs to keep things close in this game.