Today's Free Picks for
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Posted at 10:30 AM EST and are subject to change.
Oakland over Boston
4:07 PM EST. Nick Pivetta (RHP - BOS) is known in this market, but it is buyer beware, as he sports an xERA of 4.39 that is higher than his surface number (3.95). Pivetta brings an unideal ground ball rate of 34.6% to this start, which is cause for concern. Also concerning is a drop in strikeouts and his swinging strike rate. In his last start, Pivetta gave up just one run on five hits over six innings to pick up his fourth win, but that it came against free-swinging Baltimore cannot be ignored.
We backed the A’s yesterday and ripped up that ticket, but with the under the radar Paul Blackburn (RHP - OAK) heading out to take his turn, we are going to come right back on Oakland today.
Blackburn was saddled with the loss on Monday after he pitched 6.2 innings, in which he gave up four runs on five hits while striking out five versus Houston. It might not look all that impressive on the surface, but giving up a stat line like that to the mighty Astros is not so bad. Blackburn is 5-1 and while pitcher wins are a team stat, one figures his teammates are playing with confidence behind him and why not? Blackburn’s walks are low (1.99 BB/9), his 2.15 surface ERA is backed by a solid 3.34 xERA, his swinging strike rate is up 4% over last season and so, too, is his called swinging strike rate (29.6% to 23.6%). As a pooch, at home, there is much to like with Blackburn as a value pitcher. Oh, we forgot to mention Blackburn’s elite ground ball rate of 50.3%. *Chef’s kiss*
Oakland +125 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.50)