Baseball Picks: Athletics at Orioles MLB Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 8/23/2013
It's now late August, so I think it's fair to call a series "huge" if it deserves that moniker, and Oakland's visit to Baltimore this weekend for three games definitely is huge in the wild-card race. I have given up on the A's winning the AL West over the Rangers. They currently hold down the second wild-card spot behind Tampa Bay. The Orioles are three games behind the A's, so we could have a deadlock by Sunday afternoon should Baltimore sweep.
Both teams were off Thursday. The A's enter having lost two straight at home to Seattle, definitely a missed opportunity considering Seattle ace Felix Hernandez didn't pitch in either game. The A's are 15-16 since the break and batting .195 with runners in scoring position after hitting .251 in those situations before the break. Baltimore has also been treading water since the break at 14-15. The O's just lost two of three at home to Tampa Bay in another big series. This is really big for them because afterward they play three in Boston, three at the Yankees and three in Cleveland.
Athletics at Orioles Betting Story Lines
Oakland is a bit banged up. Catcher Derek Norris broke his toe in Tuesday's game against the Mariners. He didn't play Wednesday but is hoping to avoid the disabled list. Stephen Vogt will catch for now, and he's hitting just .221 (the A's don't have one player batting .300). Outfielder Josh Reddick sprained his wrist in Wednesday's game. He may have to go on the DL, having done so earlier this season because of the same injury. Since having five homers in two games Aug. 9-10, Reddick hasn't gone deep and has just one RBI.
Meanwhile, the Orioles are having some closer trouble with Jim Johnson. His overall numbers look good with an AL-leading 39 saves and a 3.58 ERA (actually not a great ERA for a closer), but he has blown his past three save chances, has seven losses on the year and a league-leading seven blown saves. Buck Showalter says he's not quite ready to make a change, but he used three pitchers in the ninth inning on Wednesday, and Johnson wasn't one of them. Tommy Hunter got the save. Chris Davis hit his 46th homer in that win over Tampa Bay to keep his cushion over Miguel Cabrera, six homers back.
The A's start right-hander Dan Straily on Friday. Straily (6-7, 4.22) allowed three runs and six hits over 5.2 innings, walking four, in a loss to Cleveland last time out. The A's have lost five of his past six starts, and he hasn't won since July 9. Straily hasn't faced the O's this year and is 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA in 4.2 innings career against them. Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters has to be drooling as he is 2-for-2 in his career off Straily, both homers. Davis is 0-for-1 with two walks.
Baltimore starts Bud Norris (9-10, 3.93), who has been better than fellow trade acquisition Scott Feldman. Norris, acquired from the Astros, was hit around a bit last time out, allowing four runs and nine hits in 5.2 innings against Colorado but still got the win. The Orioles are 4-1 in his starts. Norris faced Oakland in his final start with Houston, allowing three runs and four hits in 6.1 innings in a no-decision. He's 0-2 with a 7.82 ERA in three starts against the A's this year. Jed Lowrie is 2-for-6 with a homer off him. Coco Crisp and Seth Smith also have gone yard off Norris. Chris Young, who is likely to play with Reddick out, is 1-for-9 with three strikeouts.
Athletics at Orioles MLB Betting Odds and Trends
At BetOnline, the Orioles opened at -129 with the A's at +119 and the total at 9. Oakland is 61-61-4 “over/under” (31-28-3 on road) and 64-62 on the runline. Baltimore is 60-58-8 O/U (29-30-5 at home) and 71-55 on the runline.
The A's are 1-4 in their past five after an off day. They are 6-0 in Straily's past six with five days of rest. Baltimore is 5-1 in its past six Friday games. The Orioles are 1-7 in their past eight against teams with a winning record. The under is 5-1 in Oakland's past six road games against teams with a winning record. The under is 4-0 in Straily's past four with five days of rest. The under is 6-1-1 in Straily's past eight against teams with a winning record. The over is 7-3-1 in Baltimore's past 11 at home.
Baseball Picks: Athletics at Orioles Betting Predictions
Back in late April the Orioles won three of four in Oakland, and the only A's win came when they scored two in the bottom of the ninth to tie and then won in 10 innings on a rare error from Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. For what it's worth, Orioles closer Johnson wasn't available to close out that game in the ninth, having been used four times in the previous five games. Davis had two homers and six RBI in that series. Nate McLouth was 9-for-16 in that series with a homer and five RBI. Machado was 8-for-19 with three doubles.
It's hard to ignore how good Straily has been with that extra day of rest as well as how the A's seem to feast on Norris. Take Oakland the under.
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