Oakland Athletics ML -176 ($466.61 to win $265.12 Units)
The Cincinnati Reds at times looked like they could actually win a few games this past weekend but bad pitching took its course and the Reds have now lost four of their last five. In fact they are 5-5 in their last 10 games but have managed to hit only .254 in those games but have actually had better pitching than I originall thought. You have to keep in mind here that this is their first road game in almost two weeks as they are coming off a nine game home stand and I don't know that they can get things going against an Oakland team that is coming off two embarassing home losses. On the mound for Oakland tonight is Joe Blanton who is 2-1 in his last three starts, having allowed only 15 hits in 23.1 innings pitched with an ERA of 1.54 and a WHIP of 0.84. Blanton has been just as good at home as on the road as visiting opposing batters are hitting only .171 against Blanton in this ballpark this season and that can't be good news for a Cincinnati team that hits only .240 versus right handed pitchers on the road this season. Blanton can pitch almost seven innings everytime he goes out there and thats what the A's need because their bullpen has been shaky as of late and they don't want this game coming down to the very end. I think the Reds lineup is going to have problems against a guy who is getting better and better as the season goes along.
It may have come as a shock to some of you that the Oakland A's lost two of three games against the Cardinals after convincingly beating them in Game 1 of that series but you have to remember that Tony Larussa never takes these 'return to Oakland' games lightly and thats pretty much what happened there. I don't know if Eric Chavez is in the lineup tonight but injuries are a big problem with the light hitting Oakland A's but they still find a win to win games so you have to trust that they can do the same against a mediocre pitcher who has been haunted by American League lineups since his move to the NL last season. That pitcher would be the one and only Kyle Lohse who although has pitched well recently, is a guy that used to get demolished in the AL each and every start and I think we see the old Lohse tonight. Well this is the second time since the move where Lohse gets to face an AL lineup and in his first start he got crushed for 5 ER's in 1.1 innings against the Cleveland Indians. Like I said, Lohse has actually pitched pretty damn well as of late but much like Blanton he gets virtually no run support (only 3.0 runs per game in last three starts) so this game still comes down to smaller variables. Despite hitting only .256 on the year, the A's are not in bad company tonight as Cincinnati hits even lighter at .255. So seeing how things are pretty even on all fronts, you have to like Oakland coming off those losses and with Blanton on the mound at this price against a guy who used to be one of the best fades around when he was in the AL.
Just to let you all know, these two teams have met a grand total of six times and the Oakland Athletics have won all six times so there is some kind of advantage in betting on these guys in this matchup. Both teams are very light hitting so that would obviously favor the home team in this case because they know this ballpark better and they have the better starting pitcher going to the mound. Cincinnati, believe it or not, is 2-8 in Kyle Lohse's last 10 starts, they are 1-5 in his last five road starts and a whopping 0-7 in his last seven starts versus a team with a winning record. That goes back to what I was talking about earlier about Lohse not being able to beat better lineups and collecting most of his good stats against weaker teams. Prior to losing against last night, Oakland had won five straight games coming off a loss so that still makes them 5-1 after losing the night before. They are also the kind of team that has actually been profitbale with shitty prices in interleague play winning 20 of their last 25 as a high priced favorite in interleague play. Blanton has been a guy who has often carried a high price tag but it has been well deserved and he has been cash money with them. Well Oakland has dominated this series with good pitching in the past and although their offense is missing quite a few guys, I think they can pull this one off tonight.