The Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees close out a three-game series on Sunday afternoon in what could be a preview of October. With the Yankees vying for the AL’s best record and the A’s in the thick of the Wildcard hunt, these two teams could meet again in October. For now, however, Oakland needs this win much more than the Yankees who have the AL East all but locked down, but can the A’s upset the Yankees in this afternoon contest?
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- Date and Time: Sunday, September 1, 2019, 1:05 p.m. ET
- Location: Yankee Stadium, New York, New York
- 2019 MLB Betting Odds at Betcris: (Check Back Later)
- Athletics vs. Yankees 2019 MLB TV Coverage: TBS
J.A. Happ is scheduled to get the ball for the Yankees in this one. He’s been one of the weakest links in an already questionable rotation this MLB season.
The veteran southpaw was big for the Bronx Bombers in the second half of last season but has really struggled this year. The great offense and bullpen have helped prop up his win-loss record as he’s 11-8, but he has a 5.57 ERA.
The 36-year old lefty has made 26 starts and thrown 134 innings so he’s at least providing some length, but his ERA has been awful. His FIP is even worse at 5.65. He’s got an inflated 1.358 WHIP due to a high batting average against, but the biggest issue for Happ has been the home run ball. He’s allowed 32 homers. That’s already a career high and good for 2.1 homers per nine innings.
Happ is not a big swing and miss pitcher and while he’s been okay at limiting walks, he’s not elite in that either.
On the positive side, Happ showed some progress in his last start, limiting the Mariners to three runs in five innings. The biggest positive there was the two hits allowed, though he did walk three.
His start prior to that was against this same A’s team when he allowed five runs in four innings.
The A’s haven’t announced their rotation for this series, yet, but Mike Fiers would be in line to make this start if the rotation stays intact.
With Frankie Montas out, Fiers is the clear ace of the staff. He’s 13-3 with a 3.40 ERA and 1.152 WHIP in his 164 innings of work.
The veteran right-hander does have a FIP of 4.64 thanks to a low strikeout rate and low BABIP, but he’s been able to outperform his FIP over his career. He’s also been better than Happ at avoiding the long ball while doing a reasonable job at limiting his walks.
Fiers isn’t the ideal ace, but he has been a very good hurler all year with a 3.8 rWAR compared to Happ who is just replacement level.
Fiers is coming off a one-runs, 5.1-inning performance against the Royals and immediately prior to that held the Yankees two two-runs in 5.1 innings without giving up a home run. In fact, he’s only allowed a home runs in one of his last four baseball games.
The Yankees have a great bullpen. That’s well established. Aroldis Chapman, Adam Ottavino, and Zack Britton are about as good a trio in the back-end as there is. Meanwhile, Luis Cessa and Nestor Cortes Jr. provide some length for the starters—like Happ—who struggle.
That, of course, doesn’t even factor in Chad Green or Tommy Kahnle, though the former has struggled in a relief role this MLB season.
Whatever the case, the Yankees have the arms to close this out if they have the lead early. They also have some quality long options to hold a deficit if needed.
As for the A’s, they’ve got Blake Treinen back healthy and Liam Hendriks who proved himself with Treinen was out to the tune of a 1.43 ERA and 16 saves.
Both Ryan Butcher and Jake Diekman offer good matchup options from the left-side, though the Yankees’ lineup is right-handed heavy.
While A.J. Puk is also a southpaw, he could be a nice weapon. The rookie is getting a look in the pen and brings electric stuff. Meanwhile, Yusmerio Petit, Joakim Soria, and Lou Trivino are all good arms that were part of what was a truly great pen last year.
The Yankees are the best offensive team in baseball even with their slew of injuries. They’ve scored 791 runs, 17 more than the next best offense. They’ve got a .835 team OPS and have hit 250 total home runs, second most in the game.
While Oakland has a solid offense, scoring the fifth most runs in the AL and combining for a .770 OPS, they don’t quite matchup with New York.
That said, a lot of A’s hitters are hot right now. Mark Canha, for instance, has a .979 OPS in his last 24 games with six homers and 17 RBI. Marcus Semien, and Matt Olson also have great numbers over the A’s last month. Meanwhile, Matt Chapman seems to be breaking out from a bit of a slump.
This team can hit and hit for power. Khris Davis has had a down year by his standards but has still hit 19 bombs. Chapman, Olson, Semien, and Canha have all hit at least 20. These guys could have a field day against a home run machine like Happ.
Of course, it hardly matters who is on the mound for an offense like the Yankees who can get a home run seemingly from anybody at any time.
D.J. LeMahieu, Gleybar Torres, and Gio Urshela each have an OPS+ of at least 135 and of those three only Torres was expected to be an everyday regular. Mike Tauchman has also been a beast while Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez remain huge power threats themselves.
This team has perfected a way to get offense regardless of who is batting with guys like Mike Ford and Cameron Maybin having success along with everyone else.
The A’s are a team, like last year, that’ve gotten hot at the right time. They’re 26-15 since the All-Star break and 15-8 in August.
Oakland is playing great baseball right now both at home and on the road where they’ve been able to more than hold their own of late.
As for the Yankees, they’ve run away with the AL East and have the best record in the American League. They’re 49-10 at home, that’s a .710 winning percentage.
New York has won four in a row and five of their last six games, but were swept by this A’s team immediately prior to that.
The Yankees are at home and have plenty of offense and a great bullpen. That all points in the favor of the Bronx Bombers who come into this game with the better record, but the starting matchup could point this in a different direction.
Fiers has a great win-loss record and while Happ has won more games than he’s lost, he’s also been very home-run prone.
Look for Happ to give up a couple dingers again in this one to give the A’s an early lead. From there, count on a solid start from Fiers to at least get the team into the sixth—if not the seventh—with the lead.
From there, the Yankee’s pen has an edge, but the A’s should be able to hold the lead thanks to a number of quality bullpen arms.
Oakland Athletics vs. New York Yankees Pick: Take the risk and back the underdog on the road.
Oakland Athletics vs. New York Yankees Score Prediction: Athletics 7, Yankees 5