MLB Regular Season

Matchup: Baltimore Orioles at Oakland Athletics

Date/Time: August 4, 10:05 p.m. ET

Pitching Matchup: Miguel Gonzalez (9-7, 4.28) vs. Chris Bassitt (0-4, 3.10)

MLB Betting Odds From BetDSI Sportsbook

Moneyline: Oakland -110

Total: 7.5

Most people would have looked at this series in Oakland as a possible playoff preview between the Baltimore Orioles and the Oakland Athletics. Instead, it’s one team that hasn’t been consistent and one that has been consistently inconsistent. The Orioles and Athletics are both on the outside looking in for the playoffs right now, though only one team has a legitimate shot at making the postseason. The Orioles are in the wild card hunt, while the A’s are planning for 2016.

The Orioles were just 23-29 over their first 52 games, but they battled back to put themselves in a position to be chasing down the second wild card spot. It was a bit of a surprise to see Baltimore be so quiet at the trade deadline, adding only Gerardo Parra for their postseason push. On the other hand, at least they were adding pieces and not trading them away. That’s what Oakland did with Scott Kazmir, Ben Zobrist, and Tyler Clippard. The A’s have been the victims of a lot of bad luck this season, with an 11-25 record in one-run games and a record well below .500 with a positive run differential.

Miguel Gonzalez represents one of the openings in the Orioles rotation after the season. The soon-to-be free agent has a 4.28 ERA with a 4.81 FIP and a 4.18 xFIP on the year. Gonzalez continues to be a guy that inexplicably strands a high number of runners with a poor strikeout rate. Over the last two seasons, his command has taken a turn for the worse, with 42 home runs allowed in his last 268.1 innings of work. This season, he has allowed 18 in 109.1 innings.

The thing about Gonzalez is that he has been an effective innings eater for Baltimore by outpitching his advanced metrics. Since that has largely stopped this season, he has been of very little value. His line drive run is sitting at almost 26 percent and an increase in home runs combined with hitting more barrels is never a good thing for a pitcher. His strand rate of 77.2 percent is basically the only thing keeping him from having an ERA that more closely resembles his FIP. But, in O.co Coliseum, Gonzalez could have some success as a fly ball pitcher with a home run problem.

Chris Bassitt is a fly ball pitcher as well, but he’s in a better park to do that. He’s a rather interesting case. His stat line profiles a lot like that of Chris Young, but Young is 6-foot-10 and actively works up in the zone because of his high release point. Bassitt is 6-foot-5, so he does have some good height, but 37 percent of his pitches have been classified by PITCHf/x as having sinker-like movement. Whatever it is, Bassitt is trying to carve out a niche as the latest Oakland A’s pitcher to let his outfield defense do the work in the spacious cavern that is Oakland’s home stadium.

Bassitt has flashed some strikeout per inning potential in the minor leagues, but it’s hard to see at this level. He could be a guy that outpitches his advanced metrics if given significant big league time. This season, Bassitt has a 3.10 ERA with a 3.97 FIP and a 4.78 xFIP, though that’s in a small sample size of 40.2 innings of work. The A’s will have the luxury of finding out what they have in him the rest of the season, though they’d prefer to be in a different position. They actively looked selected him in the Jeff Samardzija deal with the White Sox last offseason, so they must see something.

MLB Prediction: Oakland Athletics

Miguel Gonzalez has shown some big command problems this season and even in a park like O.co Coliseum, that’s still an issue. The A’s have some problems defensively, but they still have a lot of bats with a platoon advantage against righties. Gonzalez has been pretty hit or miss in his outings this season and I’m expecting a miss in this one.