We’ve got a busy Monday on the betting board in Major League Baseball. There were only three games last Monday and a number of teams that had Monday off also had Thursday off, so they’ll get caught up on the schedule today. One of the games is a good one out in California between the Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Angels.
At most sportsbooks Oakland is favored in the -155 range with a total of 8.5 at the Coliseum to open up this weekday set. The Angels are on quite a roll right now, as winners of six in a row to climb over .500 for the first time in a long time. We’ll see if the division-leading A’s can put an end to that streak.
Los Angeles Angels
The Angels are also doing this without Mike Trout, which is quite an accomplishment. Los Angeles also hasn’t gotten a lot of offensive contributions from Anthony Rendon, who was supposed to be a huge piece of the offense. Guys like Shohei Ohtani, Jared Walsh, and even Justin Upton have been carrying the load with the bats in Trout’s absence.
It might be about time for the Angels to hit the skids, though. They are now a team with a winning record despite a -16 run differential. They’ve actually won eight of nine and have outscored the opposition 66-36, so they were a team with a -46 run differential not that long ago. Some positive regression on the pitching side and a weaker portion of the schedule have helped.
Case in point, the Angels just swept the Diamondbacks over the weekend. Arizona has lost 10 in a row and 33 of 38. It took a couple of one-run wins in high-scoring games and then a 10-3 blowout to accomplish that feat. The Angels are playing really well right now, but there is also a reason why the Angels hadn’t been over .500 since they were 12-11 on April 28.
Dylan Bundy gets the start today for the Angels. Bundy has a 6.16 ERA with a 5.14 FIP in his 57 innings of work. There are some signs of positive regression in the profile, as Bundy has a 4.20 xFIP with a 19.7% HR/FB% and a 62.9% LOB%. Bundy has allowed a very high rate of home runs, even for him. We saw numbers closer to this when he was in the AL East with those ballparks and those offenses, but he had an 8.2% HR/FB% last season pitching in the AL and NL West.
Bundy only allowed five home runs last season in 65.2 innings. He’s allowed 13 in 57 innings this season. His K/BB numbers are fine and so are his contact management metrics with a 36.3% Hard Hit%, but the long ball has been a problem. He’s given up eight homers in his last four starts and his K% has suffered recently. He’s working through some things and is a tough guy to back right now.
The Oakland A’s sit at 40-27 and have the top spot in the AL West. Not bad for a team that started the season 0-6 and was outscored by 37 runs. That 50-13 run differential took a long time to climb out of, but the A’s now find themselves at +21 for the season. They’ve lost seven of 10 to Houston and been outscored by 32 runs, so that makes then 37-20 against everybody else.
The Angels are included in “everybody else”, as Oakland is 4-3 in the head-to-head meetings, outscoring the Angels 29-21 to this point. The A’s have won three in a row and eight of 10 with some good play of their own recently. They, too, have taken advantage of a soft spot in the schedule, beating up on the Royals, Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Mariners in that span. Those teams will get your record healthy in a hurry.
The A’s aren’t as good defensively as usual, but still rank in the top 10 in position player fWAR. Their .318 wOBA ranks 10th and their 107 wRC+, which is park-adjusted for the Coliseum and the other road parks in the division, ranks sixth. This has been a good offensive team yet again, but also a team that has gotten some excellent pitching.
That includes some great contributions from Monday’s starter, Sean Manaea. Manaea has a 3.09 ERA with a 3.18 FIP in his 75.2 innings of work. He’s struck out 73 and walked 18 on the year. His 80% LOB% might be a touch high, but he’s got the second-best K% of his career and has lowered his Hard Hit% from where it was last season.
Manaea has only allowed two earned runs over his last four starts. He hasn’t given up a homer in that span and two of those starts were against the Angels, with one at home and one on the road. Manaea has struggled in a couple starts against Houston and got rocked by Boston, but has otherwise been dominant this season.
Angels vs. Athletics Free Pick
Both of these teams are on heaters because they’ve been playing against weak competition. They’ve both been able to beat up on teams with losing records lately. The ceiling for Oakland is clearly higher than the ceiling for Los Angeles and Bundy’s complete lack of command right now is enough of a concern to look at the A’s, even at the big price. The A’s also have the better bullpen here, so we’ll go ahead and take that plus-money shot with the run line.
Pick: Oakland Athletics Run Line