It was hard to imagine the Oakland A’s season could hit any more low points, but that was proven wrong over the weekend during their series with the Nationals. With two blown leads and a viral fielding mishap, the A’s were being talked about all over social media for the wrong reasons. Looking to at least put their most recent series behind them, Oakland will continue their road stand tonight with the Cardinals, and we’ll preview the opening game before going over my play on the total.
While the A’s were off blowing a 7-2 lead in the 9th inning yesterday, the Cardinals were enjoying an off-day after beating the Royals 5-4 on Saturday. With the win, St. Louis split the quick two-games series with Kansas City before returning home to begin their seven-game homestand. Tommy Edman did all he could to make the flight back to St. Louis enjoyable, as he hit two home runs on Saturday, driving in three of the team’s five runs.
Back home at Busch Stadium now, the Cardinals will send Miles Mikolas to the mound for his 26th start of the season. The veteran has turned in two straight quality starts but still came away with the loss in both of them. Over those two outings, Mikolas has thrown a combined 14 innings with 12 strikeouts and five runs (four earned) allowed. Those two starts have helped lower his ERA to 4.20 in 141.3 innings of work.
Mikolas will face an Oakland lineup tonight that did everything they could yesterday to set their team up with a win. In their 8-7 loss, the A’s registered 11 hits, four of which came from rookie Zack Gelof, who left the yard twice yesterday. Even with the six total extra-base hits, the A’s 7-2 lead entering the bottom of the 9th would not be safe, as their bullpen would allow six runs in the inning, leading to the crushing loss.
With the craziness of this weekend's series behind them, the A’s will have left-hander JP Sears on the bump. In three of his last four outings, Sears has taken a loss, including his most recent start, in which he lasted just four innings and allowed four earned runs on nine hits.
The total for this interleague matchup is currently set at 9, and I’ll be taking the over for my play. According to the Action Network, the over has a 17% ROI in the A’s last 59 away games and a 12% ROI in the Cardinals' last 49 home games. Both teams are also throwing starters that have been susceptible to big innings, and Oakland has one of the worst bullpens in the league.
Before the Cardinals can face the A’s bullpen and their 5.33 FIP over the past two weeks, they must face JP Sears, which should be an ideal matchup since they hit lefties well. Over the past month, the Cardinals are hitting .278 and rank 8th in OPS and 6th in wRC+ against left-handed pitching at home. With Sears pitching to a 5.16 xFIP on the road, St. Louis is in a good position to find the run column often tonight.
The A’s offense has numbers that show tonight is a good matchup for them as well. Since July 14th, the A’s rank 11th in wRC+ and SLG and 10th in OPS in 292 plate appearances against right-handed pitching on the road. Now they face a starter in Mikolas, who is in the 23rd percentile in xERA/xwOBA, 16th percentile in xSLG, and has a .275 batting average against at home this season.
Over 9 (+100)