Blue Jays vs. Athletics MLB Odds & Picks: Back Surging Oakland To Continue Winning Streak (Wednesday, May 5)
Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Chris Bassitt.
- The A's have won three straight games entering Wednesday night's matchup with the Blue Jays.
- Opening Day starter Chris Bassitt will toe the rubber for Oakland opposite the inconsistent Robbie Ray.
- Michael Arinze breaks down why he's backing the A's as slight favorites.
Blue Jays vs. Athletics Odds
|Blue Jays Odds||+102|
|Time||9:40 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Wednesday morning via FanDuel.|
The Oakland Athletics picked up their third consecutive win Tuesday with their 4-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. That effort guarantees Oakland at least a split in the four-game series, but there’s no question it will be looking for much more in Wednesday’s contest.
This is the second time this season the Athletics have put together a three-game winning streak. Only the last time it happened, they tacked on 10 more games to improve that winning streak to 13 in a row.
It’s fair to say that these types of performances have become commonplace for Oakland. In 2020, it won nine consecutive games. In 2019, it was 11 and a year before that the Athletics triumphed six times in a row on four occasions.
Oakland is definitely a team you want to take note of when it gets on a hot streak. However, we’ll touch on another scenario where the club has been really successful and it has to do with facing left-handed pitching.
Toronto Blue Jays
Robbie Ray won his first decision his last time out when the Blue Jays defeated the Braves in a 13-5 home rout. Ray went 6 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on five hits. His record stands at 1-1 with a 2.78 ERA. And as pleasing as that might sound, a closer look reveals there might be some potential red flags with Ray down the road.
His 4.83 FIP is more than two runs higher than his ERA, making him a strong candidate to experience some regression.
Another thing that should get your attention is the decline in Ray’s strikeout rate. In the last five seasons, he’s had a strikeout rate of at least 11 hitters per nine innings, but that number is now down to 7.94 K/9 at the moment.
If we look at some other numbers, we’ll find he has a 3.57 BB/9 ratio and an HR/FB rate of 17.4 percent. Yet somehow, he’s managed to strand 93.5% of runners on base. That’s something that will be extremely difficult for him to maintain throughout the remainder of the season.
Keep in mind that hitters see the ball well against him, as they’re striking out less and making contact on 74.7 percent of their swings at the plate. That’s roughly a five-percent increase in contact this year when compared to his last three seasons.
The Athletics have won their last four games with Chris Bassitt on the mound. The Ohio native is 2-2 with a 3.93 ERA, and he’s delivered a quality start in each of his last three outings. Unlike Ray, Bassitt is a pitcher who’s pitching even better than the traditional numbers suggest. His 3.63 FIP is .30 points lower than his ERA this season.
Another positive for the right-hander is that he’s inducing more strikeouts. His K/9 ratio is up to 9.44, which would be the highest of his career.
Bassitt also generates the highest GB/FB rate (1.52) of his career by almost .20 points. He’ll be pitching at his home park, and while that hasn’t always translated into wins, he’s been much more effective in this spot when you compare his career splits.
Bassitt has a 2.78 ERA at home vs. a 4.51 ERA on the road. His 0.52 HR/9 ratio at home is also promising when comparing it to 1.33 HR/9 on the road.
One thing I’ll be watching closely is how Toronto handles Bassitt’s cutter. It’s his second-most thrown pitch and has a .227 batting average against; a .273 wOBA; and, whiff rate of 23.4 percent. Per FanGraphs, the Blue Jays are a league-worst 9.7 runs below average against the cutter.
Blue Jays-Athletics Pick
In the third game of this series, we have starting pitchers seemingly trending in different directions, according to their advanced analytics. Couple that with an Oakland team that looks primed for another one of its winning streaks and I’m not sure I’m ready to step in front of that train.
The Athletics are 101-76 for 14.96 units following a three-game winning streak. They’ll be facing Ray and Oakland tends to prefer facing southpaws.
This season, they have a .240 AVG / .325 OBP / .448 SLG slash line against left-handers compared to .210 AVG / .302 OBP / .360 against right-handers.
And if you go back to the 2019 season, Oakland is 54-20 (73%) for +21.77 units when facing a left-handed starter.
That number’s too good to pass up and I love I can still find Oakland at -120 odds at FanDuel. I think this is a great spot to back the home favorite to pick up their fourth consecutive win.
Pick: Oakland ML (-120)