The Oakland Athletics have been one of the best stories in baseball this season and that’s especially true over the last couple months. They’ve now surpassed the Mariners for the second wild card spot and continue to put pressure on the Houston Astros in the AL West. Meanwhile,
the Los Angeles Dodgers had their run a bit earlier than the A’s but sit in a tight battle for the NL West. These two teams meet in the second game of an interleague series on Wednesday on MLB Network. BETCRIS offers play-by-play betting odds for live sporting events every day! The user-friendly wagering interface on your smartphone provides an easy way to place bets on the go. Mobile betting lines are updated by the minute, so click here to start gambling on thrilling live action at BETCRIS!
ESPN Sunday Night Baseball– Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Oakland Athletics
Date and Time: Wednesday, August 8, 2018, 10:05 p.m. ET
Location: Oakland Alameda Coliseum, Oakland, California
2018 MLB Betting Odds at BETCRIS:(Check Back Later)
Dodgers vs. Athletics 2018 MLB TV Coverage:MLB Network
The second game of the series between the Athletics and Dodgers will feature a pitching showdown between two veteran southpaws and former teammates.
The Dodgers’ ace Clayton Kershaw will toe the rubber opposite former Dodger and second-time Athletic Brett Anderson for the A’s.
Kershaw missed the All-Star Game for the first time since 2010 which, interestingly, was the last year that Kershaw didn’t finish in the top-5 in Cy Young Award voting. The three-time Cy Young winner has been battled injuries the last few years but is still a very good arm when he’s on the mound. In 16 starts in 2018, he’s just 5-5, but has a 2.55 ERA and 1.070 WHIP in 95.1 innings of work. He typically not only gives the Dodgers quality innings, but he also gives them quantity, going deep in the game and taking pressure off the bullpen.
The Dodgers’ southpaw has delivered six straight quality starts and has allowed just nine total runs in those six games.
The A’s have been able to juggle no-names and has-beens to cover most of their starting innings this year and despite that, they’ve been winning. One of those in the latter group is Anderson. The 30-year old lefty was an up-and-coming ace when he was last in Oakland but couldn’t stay healthy.
He had a good year with L.A. in 2015 but hasn’t been able to deliver quality innings since. He’s been better this season than the last few but is still just 2-3 with a 4.64 ERA in nine starts. What’s a bit more alarming, however, is his 1.477 WHIP and 4.4 strikeout per nine inning ratio. Those numbers indicate Anderson’s limited success has been a result more of luck than anything else. He’s not fooling anyone, has allowed six homers in just 42.2 innings and has a strikeout to walk ratio below two.
New Dodger Bats Making their Mark
With Corey Seager out for the year, Manny Machado was a logical target for the Dodgers. The infielder is the primary shortstop for the Dodgers and now that Justin Turner is back off the DL, he slides back over to short.
The infielder is hitting .279 in Dodger blue and has hit a couple bombs but hasn’t quite shown the slugging that Dodger fans were expecting.
The other offensive upgrade for the Dodgers came at second base and Brian Dozier has been incredibly motivated in his first five games. He’s 6-for-15 with a couple home runs and seven RBIs in his first five games.
Dozier wasn’t having his best season before the trade but has always been a second half player. Whether he’s playing better because of the trade or because it’s the second half is uncertain, but right now, he’s hitting the ball exceptionally well.
Machado and Dozier are now part of a right-handed heavy lineup which could present problems from the A’s southpaw. Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy are the only key bats from the left side in the order and one—or even both—of them may not even start the game given the depth of the Dodgers’ roster.
Axford Not Providing Relief
The Dodgers needed some bullpen help at the deadline to help bridge the gap from the rotation to Kenley Jansen in the backend. Brandon Morrow was instrumental in that role late in the year for Los Angeles and with him in Chicago, the Dodgers are still trying to find the pitcher—or pitchers—to take that spot.
While focusing primary on offense at the deadline, the Dodgers did add John Axford to the mix, but early returns didn’t turn out favorable for that move. In his debut, he allowed six runs and only retired one batter.
Jansen is a lockdown closer for the Dodgers with a 2.24 ERA and 0.917 WHIP. Those numbers would look even better if not for a rocky start to the year. Jansen can be counted on to nail down the win if they get to him with the lead, but the middle innings can be a question. Fortunately, with Kershaw starting the game, the issue is mitigated some. Plus, it’s not like Dave Roberts is void of options. The issue may become bigger in the postseason, but for now, Scott Alexander, Daniel Hudson, and Pedro Baez should get the job done.
Continuing to Climb
The A’s are one of the hottest teams in baseball right now. They’ve won six in a row, 12 of 15, and are 38-18 since the start of June.
Their run has allowed them to leapfrog the Seattle Mariners in the standings and they now sit just a handful of games back of the defending World Series champion Houston Astros. They’ve gained five games on Houston since July 10.
The fact Oakland keeps winning remains a bit of a surprise—and a mystery. They’re starting to beef up their run differential, but they’re winning despite questions in the rotation in nearly every spot other than Sean Manaea’s.
The only way the A’s win without lockdown starting pitching is thanks to Bob Melvin pulling the right strings to get just enough out of whoever takes the ball any given day and then uses his superb bullpen to finish things out after the offense—and defense—take care of the leg work.
Offensively, Khris Davis is the big booper with 30 home runs and 85 RBIs. He’s still a lower average, lower OBP slugger, but he provides a thump in the heart of the order and from there, guys like Matt Olson add some extra power while Matt Chapman, Jed Lowrie, Stephen Piscotty and Mark Canha all provide quality at bats and do what needs to be done to keep the chain moving.
Athletics Relief Arms
After his tantrum in Washington, the A’s just acquired Shawn Kelly on the cheap to help beef up an already deep bullpen.
Kelly’s not a key guy in this pen, but he’s another quality arm to throw into the mix that already includes a pair of All-Star closers in Blake Treinen and recently acquired Jeurys Familia. The former is pitching to a 0.95 ERA and has just one home run allowed and 18 walks to go along with 75 strikeouts in his 57 innings of work.
Familia, meanwhile, had 17 saves and a 2.40 ERA in New York. Since coming to Oakland, he’s moved to set up role and has proceeded to allow just a single unearned run over his first eight innings in the green and gold.
Beyond the pair of closers, Billy Beane has quietly put together a nice collection of arms. Lou Trivino is having a monster season few outside of Oakland know about with a 1.18 ERA in 53.1 innings. From there they’ve got several different looks and skillsets from the likes of Yusmeiro Petit, Emilo Pagan, and Ryan Buchter. It’s a deep unit and one of the biggest strengths of the A’s. The only problem with being built around the bullpen: you have to get to the bullpen with the lead for that to matter.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Oakland Athletics Free Picks
These are two postseason teams that will put up a good fight. While the A’s are at home and have the better overall record, the pitching matchup is quite a mix match, at least on paper. Go with the Dodgers to steal this game on the road. They’ve got a good offense with a ton of right-handed bats to exploit the matchup against the southpaw. Meanwhile, they’re own southpaw is one that’s hard to bet against.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Oakland Athletics Pick: Bet the money line on the Los Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Oakland Athletics Score Prediction: Dodgers 6, Athletics 2
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