Tom Milone of the Athletics has been one of the best kept secrets in the American League this year while fellow southpaw Aaron Laffey of the Blue Jays has also pitched well since his recall. Go ‘under’ in Toronto Thursday afternoon.
Runs should be hard to come by in an early matinee north of the border on Thursday when Tom Milone and the Oakland Athletics (53-44 overall, 24-23 away) take on Aaron Laffey and the Toronto Blue Jays (48-49 overall, 25-22 home) as the teams conclude a three-game series from Rogers Centre in Toronto, ON Canada at 12:37 ET.MLB Pick
The posted total at 5 Dimes is 9 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -115.
Shockingly, the Athletics are now in second place in the American League West, one percentage point ahead of the Los Angeles Angels and only five games behind the first place Texas Rangers. They are nine games over .500 despite the fact that they rank second to last in the Major Leagues with just a .230 team batting average, only one point better than the last place Seattle Mariners (.229).
The A’s certainly gained a lot of confidence by sweeping a four-game series from the New York Yankees last weekend, and they have now won seven straight games overall including taking the first two games of this series north of the border.
Now obviously, Oakland’s pitching has had to be great to put itself in this position with such a weak offense, and the A’s in fact lead the American League with a 3.33 team ERA. That has made them an ‘under’ bettor’s dream, as it has gone 57-36-4, 61.3 percent in all of their games with those contests averaging only 7.55 runs per game combined.
Thursday’s starter Milone has been a huge part of that as the left-hander has quietly gone 9-6 with a very solid 3.34 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 19 starts with a very nice ratio of 86 strikeouts against 26 walks. He now has five Quality Starts in his last six outings and they were not cheap Quality Starts either, as he had two scoreless outings and he allowed one run twice and two runs once.
Lest you think that Milone has merely been taking advantage of pitching in the most spacious ballpark in the American League, consider that he has allowed a grand total of three earned runs in his three road starts during his current hot streak. This will also be his first start ever vs. Toronto, which will make him doubly tough to hit.
The Blue Jays temporarily escaped the American League East basement by sweeping a three-game series from the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park last weekend, but losing the first two games of this series has them back in last place, percentage points behind the Red Sox and 10½ game behind the first place Yankees.
Toronto has its own hot southpaw going in this game in Laffey. The 27-year-old seems much more mature since the Blue Jays recalled him than he was when he first came up with the Cleveland Indians five years ago, and as a result Laffey has a spiffy 2.77 ERA and 1.15 WHIP while going 2-1 in five starts. He has four Quality Starts in those five outings with 22 strikeouts against just eight walks.
Yes the A’s are hot right now, but Laffey can still take advantage of an Oakland lineup that is batting .226 vs. left-handed pitchers this year and that is unfamiliar with Laffey, as his only career start vs. the Athletics came back in 2008.
Thus, look for both starting pitchers to control this contest and for these teams to stay ‘under’ on Thursday.
: Athletics, Blue Jays ‘under’ 9 (-115)