Athletics at Orioles MLB Pick September 12

by Taylor Smith
on September 12, 2018
4

Minute Read

Oakland A’s (-195)
VS
Baltimore Orioles (+182)
Total: 9 1/2

The Baltimore Orioles are bad. Extremely bad. The O’s currently own a record of 41-103, which is baseball’s worst and it’s getting worse by the day. Baltimore has lost 9 of its last 10 games overall, including each of their last 5. The O’s have traded a few key parts this season, including Manny Machado, Zach Britton and Jonathan Schoop, and the result is a watered-down roster featuring a mixture of established veterans and upcoming young players. Things are probably going to get worse for this franchise before they start getting better.

As for the A’s, they just keep on winning. Oakland has continued to put pressure on the AL West-leading Houston Astros, and Oakland is currently in the midst of a 5-game winning streak. The Athletics are still 3 games back of the Astros with less than 20 games left to play, but that’s a gap that can be made up in that span. As of now, the A’s are also just 2 games back of the New York Yankees for the first Wild Card spot in the American League.

The O’s and A’s will throw Liam Hendriks and Andrew Cashner to the mound in tonight’s head-to-head clash.

Hendriks is essentially the starter in name only for Oakland tonight. The A’s have adopted the Rays’ strategy of occasionally starting a game with a reliever before bringing in a more stretched out arm to pitch the bulk of the middle of the game. Hendriks will likely top out at one inning tonight before giving way to someone like Chris Bassitt. Bassitt came on and twirled 3 innings of relief the last time Hendriks drew a start, so one would imagine that’s Bob Melvin’s plan of attack again tonight.

Bassit has a middling 17.8 percent strikeout rate on the season, which includes 8 big league appearances, 7 of which were starts. He has a solid 3.40 ERA on the year at the big league level, but his 4.76 SIERA suggests there’s some luck involved in the ERA. The right-hander has allowed hard hits at a rate north of 33 percent and he gets a park downgrade tonight going from the coliseum into Camden Yards.

Bassitt has shown some pretty staunch reverse splits in his career, so the right-handed hitters in the Orioles lineup could give him some problems. The lineup isn’t as impressive as it was at the beginning of the season, but there are still some capable right-handed sticks they can throw at him. Adam Jones, Trey Mancini and Tim Beckham are still decent individual hitters.

As for Cashner, he has really struggled this season after a successful 2017 as a member of the Texas Rangers. The former TCU Horned Frog has a super low 14.7 percent strikeout rate on the year along with a walk rate hovering dangerously close to 10 percent. The hard contact rate over 32 percent against him isn’t atrocious, but his 5.30 SIERA isn’t doing his 4.89 ERA any favors.

Cashner has also allowed 24 home runs across 27 starts, and the long ball figures to be an issue for him tonight against an Oakland lineup that has as much power as any in baseball. Cashner has also been essentially neutral from a splits perspective, so hitters from either side of the plate figure to have some success against him. Khris Davis, Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Marcus Semien, Stephen Piscotty and others all profile well against the struggling right-hander.

This just looks like a smash spot in general for the A’s. Cashner is a vulnerable pitcher and Camden Yards is a far more hitter-friendly park than Oakland’s home stadium. Most sportsbooks see the A’s as heavy favorites here, and with good reason. A good bullpen should be able to limit what is already a weak Orioles lineup on one side, while I expect the A’s hitters to have their way with Cashner and whichever other mediocre relievers come into the game behind him.

Take Oakland to cover the runline here.

Pick: Athletics -1 1/2
-120

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