Today's Free Picks for
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Cleveland -1½ +115 over Oakland
7:10 PM EST. Let’s put the starting pitchers aside for a moment and discuss state of mind. The A’s lost again last night, this time by a score of 13-2 for their 8th loss in a row and 14th loss in their last 17 games. Losing takes on a life of its own and right now, Oakland is not having fun. They are not only losing but they’re getting steamrolled, which also takes a toll on the defense (being out there for long stretches) and bullpen (being out there for long stretches). It is early June and the A’s season is essentially over, as they have no shot of making the playoffs with their 20-38 record.
By contrast, the Guardians can’t wait to get back to the park today. Cleveland has won three of four and eight of 11. Furthermore, they’re scoring runs again and that makes coming to the park even more enjoyable. When we factor in all the intangibles, give a massive edge to the Baseball Team.
Also give a massive edge to the Custodians Guardians on the hill, both physically and mentally. First up is Konnor Pilkington (LHP - CLE) who will make just his fourth start of the season and has thrown just 17 innings at this level this year. Pilkington was acquired at the trade deadline from the White Sox in 2021 in exchange for César Hernandez. Pilkington has struck out 23 batters in 17 frames with a supported 15% swing & miss rate. The scouting reports say he has above-average pitchability. His secondary arsenal shows promise, with a sweeping slider that he commands well glove-side that could be a plus pitch with continued development, a promising change-up, and a curveball that projects to be an average offering. He’s walked 10 batters in 17 innings and his WHIP is high (1.59) but he’s had success and he’s pitching with confidence, which gives him a big advantage of Oakland’s starter, who is pitching scared. Pilkington’s profile is one that can chew up a Quad-A caliber offense like the Athletics.
In seven starts covering 33 frames, James Kaprielian (RHP - OAK) is 0-3 with a well-deserved 6.06 ERA. In his last start, Kaprielian walked two batters and struck out one in five frames with a miniscule 4% swing & miss rate. His groundball/line-drive/fly-ball is also horrible at 33%/21%/56%. After his May debut last year with moderate success, Kaprielian wound up on the IL with shoulder problems. Then came ineffectiveness (5.36 ERA), and it ended with bullpen work. His high fly-ball rate and struggles against LHB are two areas of concern, along with his shell-shocked state of mind. Whether 2022 is a stepping stone or a reality check is the question but right now, he’s pitching for the A’s and it’s ugly. How does Cleveland not win by two or more?
Cleveland -1½ +115 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.30)