Athletics vs. Mariners Odds, Preview, Prediction: AL West Matchup Features Pair Clinging To Postseason Hope (Monday, September 27)

Athletics vs. Mariners Odds, Preview, Prediction: AL West Matchup Features Pair Clinging To Postseason Hope (Monday, September 27) article feature image
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Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images. Pictured: Oakland celebrates after Starling Marte (center) hits a walk-off double.

Athletics vs. Mariners Odds

Athletics Odds -105
Mariners Odds -115
Over/Under 8.5 (+100 / -120)
Time 10:10 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

We’re into the final week of the MLB regular season, and the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland Athletics are still trying to fight their way into the postseason.

The Mariners are two games out of the final wild-card spot, and FanGraphs gives them a 2.7% chance to make the playoffs. As for the Athletics, they’re three games out of the wild card with a 0.6% chance for the postseason.

This three-game series will be the final meeting between the two sides and the Mariners hold a 12-4 edge this season. There’s been nothing fluky about Seattle’s dominance in this matchup, and I’ll share my reasons why I think that will continue yet again on Monday night.

Luck Factor Is Real With Athletics’ Irvin

Oakland will hand the ball to left-hander Cole Irvin in the series opener. Irvin comes into this game at 10-14 with a 3.99 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP. However, his 4.92 xERA and 4.84 xFIP suggest he’s probably been a bit fortunate given that his ERA is below four.

After looking at his numbers, I’m baffled how his numbers aren’t even worse as his 6.22 K/9 and 0.97 GB/FB ratios are both underwhelming. I certainly have some trouble going all-in on a pitcher who’s below-average in striking out the opposition and inducing ground balls. However, to his credit, he’s done well to keep the ball inside the park, as evidenced by his 1.06 HR/9 ratio.

Yet, after digging into his season numbers, I’ve struggled to come up with an explanation of how he’s been able to do so. If I had to take a guess, I’d say it’s more deception and guile than anything else. While it’s not uncommon to describe a southpaw using those words, Irvin does benefit from a balanced five-pitch mix.

Per Baseball Savant, he features a four-seamer (41.4%), changeup (22.5%), sinker (18.6%), slider (14.5%) and curveball (3%). Since he throws four of those pitches at least 14% of the time, hitters have more to factor in when they step into the batter’s box.

But that’s really where his edge stops because according to FanGraphs’ Pitch Info Values, his sinker is -6.7, runs below average, his curveball is -4.7 runs below average and his slider is -2.9 runs below average.

While his deception might befuddle some teams, that hasn’t been the case against the Mariners. In 70 at-bats, Seattle’s lineup has an impressive .400/.462/.557 slash line with a .157 ISO.

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Mariners’ Flexen Remade Himself In Korea

It’s been quite a year for Seattle’s Chris Flexen. As a Mets fan, I recall looking away from the television screen just about every time he went to the mound. After the 2019 season, the Mets released their former 14th-round pick. And why not? In his three seasons in Queens, he went 3-11 with an 8.07 ERA, 2.13 WHIP and a 49:54 strikeout to walk ratio.

Those numbers indeed weren’t good enough to get him a job with another team in the majors, so Flexen went to Korea to continue his baseball career. That decision proved to be a godsend for him as he went 8-4 with a 3.01 ERA, a 1.09 WHIP, and a 132:30 strikeout to walk ratio. He parlayed that performance and his $750,000 contract into a two-year deal with the Seattle Mariners for $4.75 million.

Flexen ‘s been well worth the bargain as he’s 13-6 with a 3.56 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP.

However, like Irvin, Flexen’s advanced numbers suggest he’s likely been a bit fortunate this season. His 4.32 xERA and 4.55 xFIP are almost a run higher than his ERA, and he’s only striking out about 6.27 batters per nine innings. Both pitchers are very similar as Flexen’s also done well to keep the ball inside the park, given his 0.90 HR/9 ratio. Yet, while his 1.17 GB/FB ratio is a bit better than Irvin’s, it’s far from elite.

Flexen utilizes a four-pitch mix with his four-seamer (38.9%), cutter (30.2%), changeup (15.5%) and curveball (15.3%). Of those pitches, his curveball is the only one with a below-average run grade (-1.9).

Thus, when you compare both starting pitchers, the numbers suggest that Flexen is the better of the two. It also helps that he’s limited the Athletics’ lineup to a .224/.278/.328 slash line with a .104 ISO in 67 at-bats.

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Athletics-Mariners Pick

Irvin has clearly had his struggles against this Mariners lineup and it’s hard to see a pitcher going deep into games with those kinds of head-to-head numbers. That’s why the first thing I wanted to do was to see how he fared in the first five innings against Seattle.

I have to be honest. I’m not at all surprised his Athletics team has trailed after five frames in each of the games he’s started against the Mariners. His 0-4 mark is against the moneyline, which means he hasn’t even been able to keep the score level in either outing.

Note that Oakland trailed by two runs after five innings in each of Irving’s starts. As a result, I love the Mariners in this spot, and I think they’re worth a look at -115.

Pick: Mariners F5 ML (-115)

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