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May 20, 2016

There are two picks tonight.

1: Take LA Angels (-124) on the ML against Baltimore Orioles risking 3.72% to win 3%.
(Santiago and Wright must both start for wager to have action)

The Orioles have not been on the road since May 11th and even that was a short and relatively easy 2-game trip to Minnesota! They have been playing games at the friendly confines of Camden Yards and have not been truly tested in a hostile environment in some time. For the weekend series against the Halos, they've had to travel across the country and will not be in their comfort zone. This is an extensive road trip that'll take them to Seattle next and as good as Buck Showalter's side have played this season, it's worth noting that they are a mediocre team away from Baltimore. That's because the O's are just 7-7 on the road compared to 17-8 at home! That disparity isn't without its reasons.

Unlike their opponents, who had to fly all the way across the continent, the Angels won't be dealing with overlooked but important factors such as jetlag or time-zone adjustments. They've already been in Los Angeles for some time as even before their two home games against the Dodgers, they were at Chavez Ravine for interleague action. They are seeing the ball extremely well at the moment and against a hittable pitcher like Mike Wright, we expect them to cross home plate several times. The LA offense has 9 or more hits in 7 of their last 8 games with the lone exception coming against lefty Clayton Kershaw! They've taken pitches that they should and haven't expanded the strike-zone unnecessarily. That's allowed them to average more than double-digit hits over this recent 8-game stretch and get the entire lineup engaged and playing well.

Hector Santiago gets the ball for the Halos and is coming off his best outing of the season. The under-rated southpaw has twice out-dueled 'King' Felix Hernandez this season and yet continues to fly under the radar. He gave up just 2 hits and no runs in 8 shutout innings against a tough Mariners lineup that gave Baltimore trouble as recently as yesterday! Santiago's fastball has often reached mid 90's this season and when he commands it well, he's an incredibly tough pitcher to do damage against. The Orioles find it tough against left-handed starters anyway but now they get to face one of the better ones in the league in a venue that he knows very well. The same can't be said about Mike Wright.

Wright has an unsightly 5.35 ERA on the season and has been bailed out by the offense quite often. Most of those games however, came on a lengthy homestand that had Baltimore bats firing on all cylinders. On the road, he's only had 2 starts this season and both have gone poorly giving him an aggregate road ERA of 7.15! He now has to faces the likes of Calhoun, Trout and Pujols and retire them in order and unless they hit into double-plays, we don't see him having much luck. Pujols and Trout were struggling earlier in the season, especially with runners in scoring position but have both picked it up recently and that has coincided with a stretch that has seen Mike Scioscia's side win 6 of their last 7 games! Look for them to take the series opener against the O's as they won't have much of a pitching edge over the next two contests.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Angels are 31-21 in this price range over the last 3 seasons.
  • Orioles are just 2-5 as a road underdog of +100 to +125 this season.
  • Angels have won 13 of 20 games against teams with winning records!

2: Take Oakland A's (-120) on the ML against NY Yankees risking 3.6% to win 3%.
(Gray and Sabathia must both start for wager to have action)

We believe this is a pitching mismatch on the mound tonight as Sonny Gray and his Oakland Athletics square off against the New York Yankees and CC Sabathia.

For much of the season Sonny Gray has struggled, there is certainly no question about that. He had a poor start to the year, but it's important to remember that last season he was the unquestioned ace of this Oakland A's team. It would be easy to dismiss Gray given his recent performances as his ERA is more than double of what it was back in 2015, however we don't believe it's because he simply forgot how to pitch. He's had some bad luck thus far and his numbers are likely to trend toward their historical average which is a lot better than what he has shown thus far. Bob Melvin also believes Gray found something in the latter innings of his start against the Rays which will help him moving forward.

As previously mentioned, the Yankees will welcome CC Sabathia back into the rotation after spending some time on the disabled list. Sabathia, who's a local native to Oakland, has struggled in his career at the Coliseum as he owns a 5.44 ERA in 15 starts at this ball park. With this being his first game back off the D/L, we would expect him to be a bit rusty and that could spell disaster for him against an Oakland team who is seeing the ball well at the moment. Sabathia has certainly regressed over the years and is not the pitcher that he once was. His mistakes on the mound have been evident however his team’s offense has bailed him out in the past, but we don't expect that to be the case tonight. This current group of Yankees hitters has amassed only 13 hits in 63 previous at-bats against Sonny Gray, equating to a .206 collective batting average! We expect them to struggle tonight, especially if Gray has ‘fixed’ his mechanics.

Even though the Yankees have one of the best bullpens in the league, the 1-2-3 combo of Betances, Miller and Chapman have been used on consecutive nights so fatigue could certainly be a factor. It's possible that one of the 3 may at least get the night off, but even if they do all take the field, their arms could be tired and not as effective as they were the last two nights. Oakland has numerous advantages in this contest not only on the mound, but also with their bats. Danny Valencia and Khris Davis are seeing the ball incredibly well for the Athletics right now and are both capable of going yard in any plate appearance. We believe the A’s are a bit under-valued in this particular spot and should have been listed as high as a -145 favorite! To get them at a discounted price shows value. Against a rusty Sabathia, the A's offense should be able to put up enough runs to come away with the victory.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Yankees are just 2-12 in their last 14 trips to Oakland!
  • Yankees have won only 3 of 10 games a road underdog of +125 to +150.
  • A's are 4-1 in their last 5 home games vs. a left-handed starter!
  • Yankees are 1-4 in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a losing record.

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