One of baseball’s hottest young pitching arms, Sonny Gray, should have a field day for the Oakland A’s when they host the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday.
In his brief time in the Major Leagues, Gray has been as electric as more marquee “phenoms” like Matt Harvey. In 18 innings pitched, he’s only given up two earned runs and he’s struck out 20 batters. His last outing against the Houston Astros was particularly masterful. He threw eight shutout innings, allowing just one walk and four hits while striking out nine. Clearly, the confidence is there for Gray. It should be further bolstered by his team’s impressive record at home.
Coming into this series, the A’s owned a .623 winning percentage at O.Co Coliseum. Another advantage for Gray is the opportunity to square off against Seattle starter Joe Saunders. The Mariners’ pitcher has been a constant struggle this season as evidenced by his 4.86 ERA.
He’s got worse as the season has progressed (he owns a 7.28 ERA in the second half) and is particularly bad on the road (5.60 ERA compared to a 3.94 ERA at home). While he has thrown reasonably well at O.Co this year (4.09 ERA), don’t expect him to out-pitch Gray. Pick the A’s at 1.49.
I like the prospect of a pitchers’ duel in New York as the Mets welcome the Atlanta Braves to Citi Field. Overall this season, Citi Field has been very much a low-offence environment. Out of thirty teams, the stadium ranks 27th in terms of run scoring, according to ESPN’s MLB Park Factors. Take that data point and add in the quality of the two starters in this contest and it will likely be hard for a glut of runs to be put on the scoreboard.
Atlanta’s Brandon Beachy has been sharp in his past three starts. He missed most of the season recovering from an arm injury and was shelled in his first game back. But since then his delivered a trifecta of quality starts (six inning or more pitched; three or fewer earned runs allowed.). He’s just gotten stronger in his past two outings, giving up two runs in 14 innings. In those two games he allowed a mere nine hits and one walk. Mets’ pitcher Zach Wheeler has also built momentum as of late. In his last two outings he’s yielded two runs in 12 1/3 innings.
But the most eye popping stat is the fact he’s struck out 16 in those games. Wheeler pitched effectively against the Braves on July 25, earning a win (six innings pitched; three earned runs allowed). But expect him to do even better this time around as he has shown even greater command in games since then.
Oakland A’s to beat the Seattle Mariners at 1.49.
New York Mets vs Atlanta Braves: Take under 7 runs at 1.97.