Our last play here in August was on the Padres as a home underdog against Felix Hernandez and the Mariners. They cashed and we finished the month at an even .500 after starting poorly, sizzling in the middle and finishing with something left to be desired.
King Felix is up again on the road today and I like the home team this time too, for an obvious reason.
That obvious reason is that the home team is Oakland. The A’s have suffered a couple of bumps in the road in the last week, losing both Brett Anderson and Sean Manaea to injuries that could be season-threatening. The early word out of the club is that Manaea probably won’t pitch again this season but Anderson will. Either way, the A’s have to scramble for the time being.
So far, things haven’t gone well for the replacements, Frankie Montas and Daniel Mengden. Each started an Oakland loss in this weekend’s series with Seattle and neither pitched. Oakland did win a game in between with Mike Fiers on the mound, who had his worst start in an Oakland uniform but benefitted from five runs of support in the first inning.
Today it’s Edwin Jackson’s turn and it’ll be his first start against Seattle this season. He hasn’t impressed in either of his last two starts but neither was a disaster, either. In fact, his last start against Houston was Oakland’s only win in the tightly-contested series, despite the fact that Jackson didn’t make it through the fifth inning.
Meanwhile, I was impressed with the King in his start against San Diego. He doesn’t have the gas anymore but he surely knows how to pitch and he had the young Padres hitters completely off balance for seven innings.
Hernandez has pitched well in each of his last three starts, including five-and-two-thirds innings of two-run ball in Oakland on the 14th of August. It’s not that I don’t think he’ll pitch well today (though there’s certainly a chance he won’t), it’s just that I like Jackson more, even pitted up against an equally as good opponent.
But at home, Oakland’s offense is superior to Seattle’s on the road. Then there’s the bullpen, which is still the best in baseball. Considering Seattle has no distinct advantage in this game and the A’s will be hungry to salvage at least a split at their home park, the Athletics are heavily underpriced (once again) this afternoon.
Play: Oakland -130