Home run (Safe bet)
Pick the Oakland A’s, on at 1.42, to win at home against the Minnesota Twins.
This Friday slate doesn’t have too many sure propositions, but whenever Oakland is at home they are a strong bet. At 37-20, the A’s are currently second in the American League in home winning percentage. Having Scott Kazmir on the pitcher’s mound, greatly heightens Oakland’s chances at victory here. At O.co Coliseum, the left-hander is 6-2 with a dominating 1.92 ERA.
As for the Twins, 2014 is shaping up to a lost year. Minnesota is mired at the bottom of the American League Central and has a 13-17 record in its last thirty games. Starter Kyle Gibson has been one of the team’s best pitchers. But he’s struggled to find his footing on the road (4.38 ERA in away games compared to 3.28 at home).
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
In Seattle, look for the Mariners and the Chicago White Sox to score fewer than 7 runs; go with it at 1.72.
The White Sox are a good hitting team, but they will be blunted by the offensive-sapping Safeco Park and a strong Mariners pitcher in Hisashi Iwakuma.
Safeco currently ranks second-to-last of all Major League venues in run scoring, according to ESPN’s MLB Park Factors. Good pitchers take advantage of those sort of ballparks and Iwakuma is a good pitcher. He owns a 2.94 ERA this season and has a 1.84 ERA in his past two starts. In addition, Iwakuma has been masterful against Chicago’s hitters. In 56 career at bats versus Seattle’s starter, White Sox batters have posted a .111 batting average, .143 on base percentage and a .241 slugging percentage.
Unlike Chicago’s line up, which can be pretty potent, the Mariners’ have succeed this season in spite of an offence that ranks fourteenth out of fifteen American League clubs in run scoring. That difficulty to light up the scoreboard will continue against White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana. The left-hander has been going well recently. He owns a 1.96 ERA in his past four starts. Like Iwakuma, Quintana also has done well versus his opponents in this game. In 62 plate appearances, Seattle batters have a .224 batting average, .274 on base percentage and a .310 slugging percentage.