Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Rockies starting pitcher Kyle Freeland
Betting odds: Oakland Athletics at Colorado Rockies
- Athletics: +105 (Sean Manaea)
- Rockies: -115 (Kyle Freeland)
- Over/Under: 11.5 (u-120)
- First Pitch: 8:40 p.m. ET
Even if you lost a few games betting against Oakland the past few nights (like I did), don’t be afraid to go back to the well.
The Athletics have won six straight, but could easily have lost six of seven since the break. Four of those six wins came by one run — and that doesn’t even include a three-run victory over Texas in the largest MLB comeback since 2012. Not getting starter length and relying on late-inning two-out homers is just not a sustainable recipe for success.
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Plus, the Rockies are just as hot. In fact, both teams have won eight of their past 10 and 15 of 20 overall — but Colorado’s wins have come against better competition. Let’s look at a few reasons why I think the Rockies hold value tonight.
Unless you follow the Rockies closely, you’re probably not a “Kyle Freeland guy” — and likely don’t even recognize that phrase without searching Twitter. However, it’s time to start showing some respect for the Colorado southpaw.
Freeland entered his second MLB season as Colorado’s No. 5 guy, but has been its most reliable starter thus far. The 2014 first-round draft pick owns an 8-6 record with a 3.28 ERA — which speaks volumes considering 40% of his 20 starts have come at hitter-friendly Coors Field.
The altitude doesn’t seem to bother Freeland, who boasts a 3.34 career ERA in 27 games (24 starts) at Coors. He’s been even better at home this season, posting a 5-2 record with a sparkling 2.76 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and .223 BAA. The Denver native clearly feels right at home when at Coors.
To illustrate the point even further, guess who has the fourth-highest Pitching WAR (Wins Above Replacement) in the National League?
Not bad company.
The Rockies bullpen will also be in much better shape. While the Athletics have played seven consecutive days since the All-Star break, the Rockies have been off two of the past four days — including last night. And in the two games they played this week, both starters pitched at least seven innings. Expect a full and rested stable of Rockie relievers.
Meanwhile, Oakland just had its bullpen taxed in a grueling four-game series in Arlington. The pen worked especially hard the past three games, as not one A’s starter made it past the fifth. As a result, their top three relievers all may be unavailable.
- Blake Treinen, arguably the filthiest closer in the game right now, pitched each of the past three nights.
- Setup man Lou Trivino was used the past two nights — and threw 30 pitches on Thursday. He hasn’t pitched on three consecutive days all season.
- Jeurys Familia also threw 30 pitches last night and 54 the past two appearances over three innings.
Even if the A’s have a late lead, they might have trouble extending their MLB-best 41-0 streak when leading after seven innings. (Oakland is the only remaining undefeated team in that scenario.)
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Additionally, the Rockies hold a significant offensive edge in a battle of two former Missouri Valley conference left-handers. The Rockies have raked against southpaws all season, while the Athletics have much more pedestrian splits:
I can’t pass on the just-as-hot Rockies as a small home favorite in this spot.
The Bet: Rockies -115
Editor’s note: The opinion on this game is from the individual writer and is based on his research, analysis and perspective. It is independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.