The NY Yankees and the Oakland A's meet for tonight's series opener. Join us as we break down the game's odds and share our MLB picks.
Get ready for some late nights the next few days followed by
a Sunday matinee as we bring you all four games in the Yankees-Athletics
series. SBR has spared no expense in
stocking my 5-Hour Energy supply, plus has agreed to fund part of my martini
tab in order to preview this entire set for the masses.
In all honesty, I'll just take short naps after dinner then
get up and watch Thursday, Friday and Saturday games with a couple of glasses
of sweet tea, but the other bit sounded more exciting.
This is a big matchup in all seriousness, and it pits two of
the hottest teams running in a classic David vs. Goliath confrontation. Oakland
bounced back from just its second loss of the month to gain an exciting split
with the Rangers on Wednesday in walk-off fashion, and New York has been blowing and going the last
50 games, the AL East lead ballooning to 10 games following a rain-shortened
win to lead into this 7-game road trip.
The set gets underway Thursday night, and baseball odds makers have opened with New York a -115 favorite and a 7.5 run total
priced about 15 cents OVER. Oakland rookie AJ Griffin
will toe the rubber for the A's against Freddy Garcia.
Trends between the two suggest that the New York Yankees are in great
shape to continue their torrid ways this weekend while the Athletics' surge back
into the picture comes to a crashing halt. New York's recent record in Oakland goes beyond mere
mortal descriptions like amazing, stupendous and unreal. The Yanks have swept the A's their last three
trips into town and have won 17 of the last 21 played in Oakland. Not only have they cashed the moneyline the last nine games, the Yankees
have cashed the run line each of those clashes.
Griffin got the call when Oakland lost Brandon
McCarthy to the disabled list with a bum shoulder, and the 24-year-old has been
remarkably consistent since making his big league debut June 24. Consistency also led to a rather rapid ascent
through the minors after being a 13th-round pick out of San Diego University
in 2010; the righthander posted a 3.13 ERA in 280+ minor league innings, and is
half a run below that in his first four big league starts, each quality efforts
that lasted six innings.
He grabbed his first win the last time out at Minnesota in what is his
worst showing so far (6 IP, 3 ER). A bit
odd that his worst game was against the Twinkies following excellent outings
vs. more formidable lineups in the Rangers and Red Sox. But that's baseball, and as far as we're
concerned when it comes to betting baseball, the most important stat is a 3-1
record for the A's when he pitches, good enough for $2.50 on the return.
Facing the Yankees for the first time is always a big
adrenaline factor for a rookie like Griffin, and
the good news is Griffin
will be going up against a pitcher who hasn't exactly been a ball of fire this
year, and one the Athletics have had some success against in the past.
Garcia has certainly been better since moving back into the
rotation for an injured Andy Pettitte than he was back in April when he posted
a 12.51 ERA in four starts. The Yankees
are 2-1 in his three July assignments and Garcia has lopped more than a run off
his season ERA in that span. Still,
those five walks in five innings to the Angels last Saturday weren't too
comforting, and the Yankees bullpen plus their home run power deserve most of
the credit for that victory.
has consistently hit Garcia from his early days with the Mariners in the
late-90s. Some of his 5.22 lifetime ERA
(182 IP) was inflated during the Steroids Era, and his last two starts at the
venerable Coliseum were feast or famine (nice outing in 2011, one of his worst
career starts in July 2010).
Having recently suggested in a short-term
fade/follow article that Oakland
might be a good team to follow, I find myself in a bit of a conundrum with this
game. Do I buck the recent New York dominance in this stadium and try a spin on the
A's train, or do I follow the Yankees and expect them to continue their winning
ways in Oakland?
In the end I'll do neither and add a play the OVER to my MLB picks for the first game of this series.
Over 7.5 (-115)