Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:30 AM EST.
7:05 PM EST. Winners of seven of its past nine games including the opener here last night, one really has to like the way the A’s are showing up and playing hard to close out the year. The two losses over that span came against Boston but prior to that series, Oakland swept Houston and scored 11, 11 and 9 runs respectively in the three-game sweep. The A’s will take a massive step down in class here when their hot bats will be facing Philadelphia’s, Ben Lively.
Lively’s 3.86 ERA is one of MLB’s most misleading marks this year among starters. Here’s a guy with 45 K’s in 75 frames and an ugly 33%/20%/47% groundball/line-drive/fly-ball profile. None of that plays well at this park. Lively was sent down earlier this year before being called back up on August 20. He had some surface success back then too with a 3.38 ERA. However, his skills painted a much different story back then and they still do. His xERA is almost three runs higher than is actual ERA. His K-rate is a minuscule 3.6 per nine, and his command is average at best. We’re now warning you of the impending difficulties that will bite this starter where the sun doesn’t shine. This is a weak pitcher filling a rotation need for now.
Give us a strong offense behind a pitcher that induces groundballs at this park and throw in a cheap price and you can pencil us in. That’s the case here. Kendall Graveman’s 68% groundball rate in his last start was just another one of his many starts in which he induces one groundball after another. Since returning from injury on August 3 and making eight starts, Graveman’s groundball rate is 55% and his line-drive rate is a mere 13%. That line-drive rate since the beginning of August is tops in MLB and means that batters are having a difficult time picking up the ball or squaring up off of Graveman. As we approach the end of the season and fish through the discount bin, we won’t find a better bargain than Graveman against the Phillies spotting such a cheap price.
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Oakland -106 (Risking 2.12 units - To Win: 2.00)