The Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners are both jockeying for position in the AL West as they continue their four-game series against one another on Saturday night. Oakland took the series opener on Thursday while the Mariners struck back with a win on Friday. The A’s are slight road favorites on Saturday with a moneyline of -125 compared to Seattle’s moneyline of +105.
With Friday’s win, the Mariners are back to six games over .500 but seven games behind Houston in the AL West. They’ve gone 4-3 since the all-star break and need to start stringing wins together to remain within striking distance of a playoff spot. Of course, they are in the midst of seven straight games against the A’s and Astros, so this is Seattle’s chance to make a move.
As for the A’s, they’re a little closer to the top of the AL West, trailing the Astros by just 3.5 games after Friday’s loss. Oakland is also 4-3 since the break but is at the start of a 10-game road trip. The A’s also have the advantage of currently possessing one of the two Wild Card spots, although they are just 3.5 games ahead of Seattle in the Wild Card standings.
Oakland’s opening-day starter Chris Bassitt will take his turn in the rotation on Saturday. Bassitt has earned ten wins over his first 20 starts of the season while pitching to a 3.31 ERA. However, the month of July has not been kind to him, as Bassitt has surrendered ten runs in 18.1 innings of work and took the loss in his last start against Cleveland.
Meanwhile, the Mariners are trying to find a way to get their offense going again. Seattle’s offense had appeared to turn things around in late June and early July, although the Mariners have scored just eight runs over their last three games. Ty France has gotten it going since the all-star break, but outside of a couple of home runs from Mitch Haniger and three from Luis Torrens, the rest of the Seattle lineup has been sluggish since the break.
The Chosen One
The Mariners will send rookie Logan Gilbert to the hill on Saturday night. Gilbert has made an immediate impact in the first 11 starts of his big league career, going 4-2 with a 3.50 ERA. While there’s been a couple of bumps in the road, Gilbert has come on strong lately, giving up just two earned runs on just 11 hits over his last 20 innings.
Meanwhile, the A’s are also searching for some offensive firepower after averaging just 3.7 runs per game since the all-star break. The trio of Mark Canha, Matt Olson, and Ramon Laureano continues to carry the Oakland offense, which was also the case during the first half of the season. But nobody else in the Oakland lineup has contributed much over the past week.
Believe in the Underdog
The A’s haven’t looked like an obvious favorite since the all-star break. Meanwhile, Gilbert has been so good that he will neutralize any edge that Oakland gets from Bassitt. That makes this game more of a toss-up, meaning the best value is picking Seattle as a home underdog.
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