Cleveland Indians at Oakland Athletics MLB Pick for 7-16-17

by Jason Armstrong
on July 16, 2017
Cleveland Indians
Oakland Athletics
Total: 8.5

The Oakland Athletics will look for a three-game sweep tonight from Oakland-Alameda Stadium. The Athletics took game one 5-0 Friday and game two last night 5-3. Today’s pitching matchup will see the Athletics send left hander Sean Manaea (7-5 3.76 ERA) to the mound to face off against Cleveland’s Trevor Bauer (7-7 5.24 ERA).

Manaea is just another in a long line of strong young pitchers to come up through the Athletics organization in recent years. Tim Hudson, Gio Gonzalez, Rich Harden, Dan Haren, Barry Zito, Mark Mulder, the list is seemingly endless of top of the rotation type talent that has been cultivated in Oakland, only to be traded away to become stars for other teams. Manaea is showing similar promise in his short stint in the majors, sporting an ERA under four and a stingy WHIP of 1.2 or less in his two Major League seasons. It makes me think which team will snatch up this budding talent to help make a playoff run?

Manea had a bit of a slow start to his season this year, going 1-3 with an ERA over 5.50 through his first six starts, but since then he has found his groove and has been cruising as of late. Going 6-2 with an ERA of 2.95 over his last ten starts, Manaea has been producing stellar results for a struggling Oakland team. Against these Indians in particular, Manaea has quite dominant, owning a lifetime 2-0 record with an ERA of 1.29.

The Oakland A’s have been famous under GM Billy Beane for scouting great talent but not being able to hold on to them long term. Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, Josh Donaldson, all MVP level talent that Beane used his Moneyball philosophy to allow them to walk away. This year appears to be no different as A’s star pitcher and ace of the staff Sonny Grey is being shopped. At some point, one would have to wonder if Moneyball really works? With zero World Series titles, I am starting to think the “genius” GM story might have made a great movie but not necessarily a great MLB executive.

The Cleveland Indians were as close to winning the World Series last year as you can get. Taking the series to game seven at home but failing to seal the deal and win their first championship in over fifty years. Coming into this season, Cleveland appeared to be all in as they picked up slugger Edwin Encarnacion to bolster their already formidable lineup. Many had Cleveland as the prohibitive favorite to once again come out of the American League and win the pennant.

It’s hard to say that Cleveland is underachieving as they are in first place in their division, but at 47-42, this isn’t the dominant Cleveland team a lot of people expected. Only a game and a half ahead of a Minnesota Twins team that had very little realistic playoff aspirations coming into the season, Cleveland has yet to run away with a Division title that they seemingly should have had clinched in April. Will this team catch fire in the second half and lock up a playoff spot or are they going to struggle to hold off the Twins and Royals in the weakest division in the American League? Only time will tell but with talent like they have one would have to think so.

For today’s game, I think Manaea will be too strong and continue his recent success. Bauer has been shaky at best. Cleveland has lost four out of his last six starts, and he has seen his ERA hover right around the 6.0 mark all season. That isn’t the kind of stopper performance you need if you are a Cleveland team looking to hold off a suddenly surging A’s team that has won six out of eight contests and are looking for a sweep at home. A home underdog in game three looking for a sweep in a spot where I think we are getting the best of the starting pitching matchup? Sounds like a recipe for success. I’ll take Oakland to finish off the Indians and continue their hot streak.

The Bet: Oakland -102
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