The Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics begin a two-game series starting on Monday. The Mariners will be taking on the Athletics for the 11th time this season with Seattle leading the season series, 6-4. This has been a series where the home team has dominated, as Oakland is 3-1 at home and Seattle is 5-1 in their own ballpark.
Seattle comes in at a slight edge at -116 with the odds set for Oakland at -105. Seattle will be looking for victories, as they trail Oakland by four games in the standings, putting them four games out of the wildcard race. Oakland is 3.5 games behind Houston for the top spot in the AL West.
Mariners Look to Cut into Deficit
The Seattle Mariners are four out for the final wildcard spot in the American League. This is an opportunity to gain two games in the standings, and they are taking full advantage of that of late. After dropping five of the first seven games in August, the Mariners have responded with a 9-4 record over the last two weeks.
Seattle has struggled offensively all season, but the pitching staff has come alive in August, posting a 3.69 ERA. It has been a 1.22 WHP and a .231 batting average that has helped this team during the month. That is nearly a full run less than what they have allowed this season (4.40).
Seattle will start left-hander Marco Gonzales who is 5-5 with a 4.10 ERA in 17 starts. Gonzales has been brilliant in August, posting a 0.67 ERA in four starts. He tossed 5.1 shutout innings in his last start, and has allowed two earned runs in 27.0 innings pitched, posting a 0.74 WHIP this month.
Athletics Faltering as September Approaches
With a little over a month before the playoffs begin, the Oakland Athletics find themselves struggling of late. The team dropped two of the last three against Cross Bay rival San Francisco, giving them six losses in their last eight games. It has been a struggling pitching staff that has been the culprit on many nights, as the team has given up 32 runs in those six losses.
Despite the recent struggles, Oakland still has the sixth best pitching staff in baseball with a 3.67 ERA. Even in August they have posted a 3.86 ERA and a solid 1.22 WHIP despite the recent struggles. This is a team that can quickly turn things around, and the offense is doing their part. Oakland is hitting .255 in August, seventh best, and they are 10th with 26 homers.
Oakland will start right-hander Paul Blackburn. Blackburn’s 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA in his only start this season. The right-hander allowed three runs in 5.1 innings to the Chicago White Sox on August 18. After a successful 2017 rookie season when he made 10 starts for the team, Blackburn has struggled to remain in the Majors, making just 12 appearances over the last four seasons.
- 5-0 in their last five games on Monday.
- 2-5 in their last seven games
Seattle Mariners vs. Oakland Athletics Pick
With the way that Gonzales has been pitching of late, there is no denying that Seattle should be the favorite in this contest. In fact, I am a bit surprised that oddsmakers give Oakland as good of a chance as they do. Even if Blackburn gives up three or four runs, it is likely that Oakland is out of this game.
It is true that the home team has dominated this season, but pitching is the great equalizer. You have to take Seattle all the way.
Seattle Mariners vs. Oakland Athletics Total:
Oddsmakers are leaning a little bit toward the over, but I go under. I am expecting Gonzales to have another outstanding start where he allows no more than a run or two at most. While Blackburn struggled in his first outing of the season, he was pitching well down in Las Vegas, posting a 4.97 ERA in 17 starts. The numbers aren’t fantastic, but Las Vegas is not an easy place to pitch, so they are pretty solid.
The total number of runs scored in the game will probably be right at eight. Thus, it makes sense to take the under.