Athletics at Brewers Picks and MLB Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 6/4/2013
It's two teams going in very opposite directions on Wednesday in the series finale at Miller Park as the Oakland A's visit Milwaukee in an interleague matchup.
I honestly don't know how the A's are being so successful. They are right on the heels of the Texas Rangers in the AL West (sound familiar?) and have lost just two games since May 15 (entering Tuesday and had not dropped a series). You look at their lineup and you don't see a star among them: Maybe Yoenis Cespedes. But he's been a little nicked up this year and is hitting just .229, albeit with nine homers and 30 RBI. Josh Reddick was a breakout star last year with 32 homers, but he's hitting just .176 with one dinger so far this year.
What the A's are getting is career years from the likes of Josh Donaldson, Jed Lowrie and Coco Crisp. Donaldson is quietly one of the top-hitting third basemen in the league at .321 with eight homers and 35 RBI. He had only played 89 career MLB games entering this season. The A's got Lowrie from Houston this offseason. He always has shown flashes of being a good player but couldn't stay healthy. So far, so good. He's hitting .317. Crisp has been around forever and is hitting .300 with six homers and 22 RBI despite missing a chunk of time. He's finished at .300 just once in his career. Crisp's on-base percentage is an excellent .401, and that's what Oakland does: get on base. If you saw the movie "Moneyball" or read the book, that's always been the focus of Billy Beane's strategy. Striking out is fine; better than a double play. But no giving away outs (i.e. no sacrificing, no stealing). Donaldson and Lowrie also are near a .400 OBP. Oakland ranks third in the AL on OBP at .336 but leads the majors in walks by a wide margin.
Milwaukee, meanwhile, now resides in the NL Central cellar, losing 24 of 31 entering Tuesday's matchup. The pitching staff is a disaster, and the signing of Kyle Lohse was a major mistake. The team committed three years and $33 million to Lohse, and he was 1-6 entering Tuesday's start. Lohse also cost the Brewers their first-round pick in this week's draft. That's why he was on the market so long. Milwaukee's Ron Roenicke is the 5/1 third-favorite on Bovada to be the first manager fired this season.
Athletics at Brewers Betting Story Lines
Milwaukee thought it had a legitimate No. 1 starter in Yovani Gallardo, who starts Wednesday's game, but he's also been a major disappointment at 4-5 with a 5.05 ERA. The Mexican right-hander has allowed nine runs and 11 hits (three homers) in 9.2 innings in his past two starts. The Brewers have won just one of his past six starts overall. His strikeout rate of 7.45 per nine innings is a career low as is his home-run rate. For some reason Gallardo isn't throwing the fastball as much, although that velocity is down. He has thrown his breaking balls 41 percent of the time this year, his highest rate in the past five seasons. Only a handful of A's have seen Gallardo, and none of them have had any success.
Oakland starts Bartolo Colon (6-2, 3.33), who has been shockingly good again this year. Remember, he was given a 50-game suspension last year for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs; six games of that carried over into the 2013 regular season. Even with that suspension on his record, the A's gave him a one-year, $3 million deal this winter. Looks like a terrific signing, presuming the 40-year-old doesn't test positive again because if he did it's 100 games and his career would be pretty much over. Colon pitched a complete-game shutout last time out against the White Sox (first 40-year-old to do so against any team since the Mets' Miguel Batista in September 2011) and pitched seven shutout innings the start before that against Houston. Those are two of the worst offensive teams in the AL, but still.
Only three Brewers have faced Colon, with shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt having the most at-bats by far with 34. He's hitting .353 off Colon. Because the Brewers are facing a right-hander, top second base prospect Scooter Gennett, who hits from the left side, should get the start over struggling Rickie Weeks, a right-hander. Gennett was to make his first MLB start on Tuesday night.
Athletics at Brewers MLB Betting Odds and Trends
At BetOnline, Oakland opened at -105 and Milwaukee at -105 with the total at 9. All trends entering Tuesday: The A's are 35-24 “over/under” (15-13 at home) and 34-25 on the runline. The Brewers are 33-22-1 O/U (20-10 at home) and 19-37 on the runline.
The A's are 9-1 in their past 10 interleague games against righty starters. The A's are 1-5 in their past six Wednesday games. They are 7-0 in Colon's past seven starts against teams with a losing record. The A's are 5-2 in Colon's past seven Game 3 starts. The Brewers are 7-3 in their past 10 interleague home games against right-handed starters. Milwaukee is 0-6 in its past six Wednesday games. The Brewers are 0-4 in Gallardo's past four against teams with a winning record. The over is 11-1 in Oakland's past 12 road games against teams with a losing home record. The over is 5-2 in Colon's past seven starts. The over is 8-1in Milwaukee's past nine interleague games against right-handed starters. The over is 13-3 in Gallardo's past 16 home starts vs. teams with a winning record.
Athletics at Brewers Picks and Betting Predictions
Getaway games tend to heavily favor the home teams because they get to sleep in their own beds the night before, while the road team has to travel out right after the getaway game. It's just human nature to be more comfortable at home. Thus, I like Milwaukee here because I still say Gallardo is a better pitcher than Colon even though it hasn't looked that way this season. Take the over.
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