This is looking like a very promising matchup for any MLB Betting Fans. The Oakland A’s enter play Friday at 15 games over the .500 mark, but they still find themselves 10 games out of first place in their own division. That’s the downside of sharing a division with a team as dominant as the Houston Astros. On the bright side, Oakland is very much in the thick of things in the AL Wild Card picture. The A’s are currently 3.5 games back of the Cleveland Indians for the top spot, but they’re only a half-game behind the Tampa Bay Rays for that second Wild Card position.
Getting into the playoffs via the Wild Card isn’t the greatest thing, as the A’s know. Oakland was beaten in the single-elimination Wild Card Game last year by the New York Yankees. Still, it’s better than missing out on postseason play altogether. It’s also fair to say that whichever team they will potentially face in this year’s game won’t be as daunting an opponent as last year’s Yankees, who won 100 games but finished behind the 108-win Red Sox in the AL East.
The Chicago White Sox, meanwhile, are cruising along in the midst of their lengthy rebuilding project. Chicago is in third place in its own division, though they’re 18 games adrift of the first-place Minnesota Twins. Chicago is only 11 games under .500, though, so they’re not as far away from contention as some of the other also-rans in the American League like Detroit, Kansas City, or Baltimore. The White Sox will host the A’s at Guaranteed Rate Field for three games starting on Friday.
2019 ATR Home
2019 ATR Away
2019 O/U Home
2019 O/U Away
The A’s have a run differential of +80 on the season, which ranks third among AL Wild Card hopefuls. Oakland has been hot for months, and they’re 7-3 over their last 10 games. The issue is that the Astros don’t lose games either, so they’ve been able to make up almost no ground in the divisional race. This is largely the same roster we saw last season with a few minor tweaks.
Mike Fiers is slated to take the ball for Oakland on Friday. The veteran right-hander has a very solid 3.46 ERA on the season, but his underlying numbers suggest he’s gotten pretty lucky. Fiers has allowed a hard contact rate north of 38%, and his 5.38 xFIP and 5.34 SIERA are downright bad. He’s held opposing hitters to a low .243 BABIP and getting fly ball outs is a workable strategy in his spacious home park.
Guaranteed Rate Field is quite a bit more homer-friendly than the Coliseum in Oakland, however. The White Sox aren’t the greatest offense by any means, but the righty will still have to navigate plenty of right-handed power hitters, including Jose Abreu and Eloy Jimenez. Fiers has gotten lucky from a batted ball perspective, but he has still allowed 11 homers to right-handed hitters on the season.
There are strikeouts to be had with this lineup, but Fiers doesn’t miss many bats in the first place. The 34-year-old has a strikeout rate of just 16% on the year, which is one of the lowest marks in the league among regular starters.
White Sox’ Rebuild
There’s no shortage of young talent in the White Sox’ system. Chicago is trying to take the Cubs/Astros approach to getting good again, which obviously takes time. The process is starting to bear fruit, though, so it may only be another year or two before this team starts to make some real noise. For now, they’ll have to settle for finishing third in their division.
The White Sox have endured some injuries to the rotation, which helps explain how a 33-year-old journeyman like Ross Detwiler will get the call in today’s game. Detwiler has pitched in eight games for the Sox this season, including four starts. The results haven’t been pretty. The left-hander has a 5.72 ERA, though his 4.31 SIERA shows that he has been a little misfortunate.
Still, there’s little reason to believe Detwiler should be anything special at this advanced point in his career. He has successfully generated ground balls at a 61.6% clip, but he has an even lower K-rate than Fiers (14.5%) and he’s allowed 37% hard hits. Detwiler is also a lefty facing an A’s lineup that is almost entirely right-handed. With the exception of Matt Olson, Detwiler should face 8 RHBs in the A’s lineup on Friday.
Detwiler has surrendered a .431 wOBA with 7 home runs in just 19.1 innings of work against righties on the season. He’s still been good about inducing ground balls, but this doesn’t look like a spot for success. Too many good hitters will have the platoon advantage against him.
Runs will be scored in Chicago today. Oakland is a massive favorite, so there isn’t much value in betting on the A’s to cover the runline (-145) or win outright on the moneyline (-215). So, I think the over on 10 ½ is the right approach. This A’s lineup is built to pummel left-handed pitching, as we saw them do to Jon Lester on the other side of Chicago just a couple of days ago. Fiers isn’t some ace either, so Chicago should be able to put a few runs on the board themselves.
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...
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