Baseball Predictions: Rays at Athletics Odds and Picks
by Alan Matthews - 8/30/2013
Keep a close eye on Friday night's game between Tampa Bay and Oakland as it very well could be a preview of the one-game wild-card playoff between the teams -- they currently hold the top two spots. Friday's matchup involves the team's two aces in Rays lefty David Price and young Oakland right-hander Jarrod Parker. Whether both would be available on Oct. 1 would obviously depend on what happens in the final weekend of the season. If both clubs have a playoff spot locked up, they no doubt would rest their aces for the one-game playoff.
It would be interesting to see what Rays manager Joe Maddon and Oakland counterpart Bob Melvin -- two strong candidates for AL Manager of the Year -- would do in this scenario: Tampa Bay and Oakland each have clinched a wild-card spot but have the same record on the final day of the regular season. Do you start your ace to assure home-field advantage for that playoff game or rest him knowing he's then available no matter where that game is played? If you are wondering, the Rays finish in Toronto and Oakland in Seattle.
Should the teams finish with the same record, Tampa Bay holds the current tiebreaker thanks to a three-game sweep over Oakland earlier this year. Thus, the A's would need to follow suit here to move the tiebreaker to a potential second level, which is a higher winning percentage in intradivision games.
Rays at A's Betting Story Lines
Both the A's and Rays finished up series on Thursday afternoon. Oakland looked very impressive in Detroit -- and got Bartolo Colon back from the DL on Thursday -- while the Tampa Bay split the first two of three at home against the Angels.
You can have Detroit's Max Scherzer, who will win the Cy Young and might be the only 20-game winner in the majors this year. I'll take Oakland's Parker over him. Parker (10-6, 3.58) has allowed exactly one earned run while pitching at least eight innings in his past three starts. Scherzer hasn't had a three-game stretch like that. Parker is 8-0 in his past 16 starts. He should have another 4-5 wins if the A's would score for him. They have scored two or fewer runs in 13 of Parker's 26 starts, including his past three. The unbeaten stretch of 16 straight starts is one shy of the team record held by Hall of Famer Catfish Hunter. Parker threw 117 pitches last time out, so the A's pushed him back a day or else he would have faced Scherzer on Thursday.
Parker pitched in the April series at Tampa Bay and allowed one run and six hits in 6.1 innings in taking the loss. No Rays batter has more than nine official at-bats off Parker. Matt Joyce, Ben Zobrist and Kelly Johnson each have a homer off him.
As for Price, the Rays have won three straight and seven of his past eight starts. He outdueled CC Sabathia last time out, allowing two runs and five hits in six innings to what had been a red-hot Yankees offense. Price hasn't faced the A's in 2013. No Oakland hitter has gone yard off Price. Jed Lowrie is 4-for-15 with two RBI off him. Alberto Collaspo is 6-for-15. Yoenis Cespedes is 2-for-6 with two strikeouts. Cespedes didn't start Thursday, but it was just a maintenance day against a tough right-hander in Scherzer. Cespedes has been struggling, batting only .221 in August and .143 in the past week.
Rays at A's MLB Betting Odds and Trends
At BetOnline, Tampa Bay opened at -120 and Oakland at +110 with a total of 7. All trends entering Thursday: the Rays are 59-64-8 “over/under” (27-30-5 on the road) and 63-69 on the runline. The A's are 66-62-4 O/U (30-33-1 at home) and 68-64 on the runline.
The Rays are 12-4 in their past 16 against the AL West. They are 2-7 in their past nine road games. Tampa Bay is 7-1 in Price's past eight starts. It is 4-1 in his past five against teams with a winning record. The Rays are 0-4 in Price's past four starts with five days of rest. The A's are 8-3 in Parker's past 11 home starts. They are 5-2 in his past seven against teams with a winning record and 5-2 in his past seven Friday starts. The over is 6-1 in Price's past seven with five days of rest. The over is 20-8 in Tampa Bay's past 28 Friday games. The over is 7-3 in Oakland's past 10 series openers. The under is 6-2 in Parker's past eight vs. the AL East. The over is 5-0 in Price's past five against Oakland. The over is 6-1 in the past seven in Oakland.
Baseball Predictions: Rays at A's Betting Picks
As noted above, the Rays swept three early this season against the A's, holding Oakland to four total runs. The travel is a wash here with both clubs having to fly West after a getaway day game Thursday. It's rare, though, that you will get Parker as a home dog, and Oakland is an excellent 39-25 at home and the Rays only .500 on the road. Take the A's and the under in what should be an excellent pitching duel and hopefully an October preview.
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