June 3rd 2014 - Posted at 5:00 PM Eastern Time
There are two picks risking a total of 4% tonight.
#1: Take Oakland Athletics on the Money Line (-125) against NY Yankees risking 2%
(Kazmir and Kuroda must start)
For game one at Yankee Stadium, Oakland will send out Scott Kazmir (6-2; 2.36ERA) who has won two of his last three decisions. Kazmir is having a great season and has allowed 53 hits and just 18 earned runs while striking out 53 over 68.2 innings! He has had somewhat of a resurgence and is currently pitching some of the best baseball of his career. With the New York bats silent recently, Kazmir should put on another solid performance.
The Yankees will counter with veteran Hiroki Kuroda (4-3; 4.75 ERA) tonight. Kuroda is coming off a couple of decent performances but it is clear that he has lost some velocity as he's gotten older. For the season Kuroda has allowed 75 hits and 33 earned runs over 65 innings. The Japanese pitcher has given up nearly double the amount of runs that Kazmir has so far this season and his team haven't fared well when he's been an underdog.
The Oakland A’s have the second best record in baseball this season. They have shown over the last few seasons that they are a force in the American League. What's even more impressive than their overall record is the fact that each player is contributing on a consistent basis. They are hitting the ball extremely well, getting hits and converting them into runs. The A's have the #1 offense in the Majors and have outscored their opponents by a combined 115 runs this season! The fact that they have been able to string together hits in consecutive order has often helped them jump out to early leads. As a team the A’s are hitting .252 with Josh Donaldson hitting .284, Brandon Moss hitting .276, and Coco Crisp hitting .257!
Pitching has also been a big part of their early season success as the their staff currently own a collective ERA 2.93 with the starters at 3.00 and the bullpen at 2.78. Oakland should have a slight advantage both on the mound and at the plate this evening.
The Yankees offense has been somewhat stagnant as of late. They appear to be getting hits but are not able to plate the runs needed to win games. Over their last 6 contests, the Yankees are only averaging 2.5 runs per game! While that was good enough for a couple of victories in lower scoring games, we believe they are going to need more runs than that to be able to compete with Oakland. New York has lost 3 of their last 4 games and struggled in series-opening games while Oakland are a confident group riding a good streak. We expect the A's streak to be extended to 4 straight as they have an edge in almost all facets of the game. At this low price, Bob Melvin's well-oiled machine is simply too good to pass up on.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Yankees are 0-4 as a home underdog of +100 to +125 this season.
- Oakland is 10-1 on the road when the total is set at 8 or 8.5 runs this season!
- Oakland is 6-3 following a day of rest.
#2: Take St. Louis Cardinals on the Money Line (-130) against KC Royals risking 2%
(Garcia and Shields must start)
James Shields (6-3; 3.36 ERA) for the most part had been the most dangerous pitcher in the league when it came to road starts. Shields is one of the few pitchers who doesn't seem to be shaken away from home. While that has usually been the case, he went seven innings against the Blue Jays in Toronto last Thursday and allowed 8 hits, including a season-high 3 home runs giving up 6 earned runs in what turned out to be one of his worst outings in his entire career! After a disastrous game like that, it will be interested to see if his confidence is shaken. He will need to be at his best against a hungry and motivated Cardinals team.
Not only are the Cardinals looking to get back to their winning ways but they have historically had success against Shields; more so than any other team in the league. Collectively, the Cardinals have a .411 batting average in 73 at-bats against Shields! Jhonny Peralta has been the player to have the most success in his career against Shields and is 11-for-29 against him with a double, three home runs and nine RBI's! If Shields shows any weakness tonight, this Cardinals lineup could pounce on it and make him pay. They have silent recently but are capable of an offensive explosion.
St Louis will turn to Jamie Garcia (1-0; 4.12 ERA) on the mound tonight. Garcia is still getting used to being back in the starting rotation as he has pitched just over 19 inning thus far. Garcia has had some problems with his control in the early going giving up an abnormal amount of home runs. But that is normal after almost a year off due to injuries and he's starting to find his rhythm. He has historically been solid at home, but the late start to the season has obviously put him just a bit behind at the moment. On a good note however, Garcia hasn't walked a batter this season through 19.2 innings and has struck out 19 which shows he has a tremendous upside. We expect it's only a matter of time before Garcia gets his mechanics in full order and becomes the force at home that he has been in past years. It's also worth noting that no one in the Royals lineup has been able to hit a home run off of Garcia in their careers. Let's hope that statistic stands after tonight.
This has been a homestand that the Cardinals would like to forget. They have been struggling recently but this is a veteran team that has shown their ability to overcome adversity. The Cardinals' stock is low at the moment, which brings additional value in backing them. They have historically been an extremely strong home team and are 129-76 at Busch Stadium over the last 3 seasons! They are also a team that often bounces back after a loss. With this being their last home game before they set out on an extended road trip, we expect Mike Matheny's team to end on a high note. With the success that determined individuals like catcher Yadier Molina have shown against Shields in the past, we expect them to find a way to win tonight.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Cardinals are 18-9 after a loss this season and 111-68 over the last 3 seasons!
- Cardinals are 6-2 in last 8 games when playing Kansas City.
- Cardinals are 11-6 at home when the total is set at 7 runs or less this season!
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