We hit the Yankees as small home favorites on Friday night and I want to squeeze one more play into June before it’s over. Cleveland and Oakland square off on Saturday afternoon in Oakland and it’s a coin flip.
If you’re wondering, yes, Oakland is starting the same Edwin Jackson who first broke into the big leagues in 2003. The Athletics are his 13th different Major League team and he debuted earlier this week in Detroit.
He didn’t look like a near-35-year-old man making his season debut in late June. Jackson tossed six clean innings, striking out seven and walking none against the Tigers.
Jackson hasn’t logged many innings in the last few seasons, mostly because he hasn’t earned steady work on whatever team he’s been with. Overall though, he’s remained remarkably healthy over the course of his career and for many of the individual seasons, he’s been above average.
So on one hand, I buy that Jackson could be the next one of these older pitchers who have survived the tricky job description of throwing a baseball 95 miles per hour over and over again and become the next crafty veteran to pitch effectively into his mid-30s.
On the other hand, I wonder how much the floundering Detroit offense contributed to his nearly immaculate outing and I want to see him do something close to the same thing against a team like Cleveland before I feel confident about Oakland’s little experiment.
He’ll go against a rookie in Adam Plutko, who hasn’t been dominant but has pitched well enough to go 4–1. A lot of people throw record out these days but I don’t. There’s something to be said about a winning mentality and how your teammates play the day you’re the starting pitcher. So far, so good for the rook who will turn 27 in October.
Of course, there has to be more to it than just that and the peripherals check out for Plutko thus far: just less than a hit per inning and 22 strikeouts to 8 walks.
I’m willing to give the rookie a shot and excited to fade Jackson in a spot that isn’t going to be nearly as easy as what he saw six days ago.
Free Pick: Cleveland -105