Astros @ Athletics August 19 Free Play


We couldn’t afford the A’s on the runline yesterday, nor did we need the extra run-and-a-half. The A’s doubled eight times and Trevor Cahill gave up one hit and a walk in seven innings in the 7–1 victory.

The A’s and Astros will share the lead in the AL West for about twenty hours before the winner this afternoon assumes command. Next week, Oakland stays at home for three with Texas before playing four in Minnesota over the weekend. Houston continues its road trip in Seattle and then Anaheim. After, these two teams will link up one more time this season for three at Minute Maid Park.

The A’s aren’t just on the public radar, but the national story in baseball. My only hope for getting them at a last bargain price on Sunday was Justin Verlander, who is, indeed, a hefty road favorite.

Free Play

Verlander has been excellent in his career against Oakland, 11–6 with a 2.55 ERA. He’s also 1–0 at the Coliseum this season. He very well may pitch his team back into first place with another stellar outing; this is the sort of game he takes a special pride in as an ace and a stopper.

But Verlander is the only reason Houston should be as much as pick today. Even if he is great, he won’t go all nine innings and all the A’s seem to need is about two innings against Houston’s bullpen to do as much damage as the Astros can do in a full nine against the Athletics’ staff.

George Springer did play for the second consecutive game yesterday but he was pinch-hit for in the ninth inning. I wasn’t watching the game live at the time and I haven’t seen anything in the news this morning but it feels like a funny situation. Keep an eye on whether or not he’s in the lineup today, if you’d like.

I’m not banking on him sitting out. I believe in Oakland’s pitching either way. Sean Manaea isn’t Verlander but his numbers aren’t so far off, at least not his 1.04 WHIP.

Cahill’s outing on Saturday gave the bullpen some extra time to charge up. Blake Treinen has given up six earned runs the entire season; his ERA+ is 466! He, Lou Trevino, Shawn Kelley and Fernando Rodney are all available after a day off Saturday. All Bob Melvin needs is four or five innings out of Manaea.

I’ve got this game pegged as a coin flip so the +140 moneyline is a no-brainer. I’m also taking Oakland the runline because it gives me a better chance to win here and there’s an excellent chance this game stays close and low-scoring the whole way in a matchup of Verlander vs. Manaea and Oakland’s well-rested bullpen.

One more time!

Play: Oakland +1.5

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