Athletics vs Yankees – MLB Picks and Parlays 10/3/18
Yankees OF Giancarlo Stanton
Welcome back to the LazyBets Free MLB Picks column for Wednesday, October 3rd. We certainly got our money’s worth in the NL Wild Card game, but we took a loss in our first playoff wager after the Rockies outlasted the Cubs 2-1 in 13 innings.
Kyle Freeland did it yet again, pitching a gem and beating us for the 6th straight time that we’ve bet against him this season. We’re not too upset about the losing the wager - one loss won’t make or break our postseason success - but we would have loved to see Freeland pack it in for the winter. Will we fade him yet again as the Rockies face the Brewers in the NLDS? Only time will tell...
For Wednesday, we’ll be taking a look at the AL Wild Card game, where the 100-win New York Yankees will have to play a single-elimination game for their playoff lives against the 97-65 Oakland Athletics. We’ll be betting the moneyline on this one as well, so let’s dive into the details to show you who we’re backing and why.
Oakland Athletics (Hendriks) at New York Yankees (Severino)
Luis Severino will take the mound for the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game for the second straight year, and it would be nearly impossible for him to do any worse than he did in 2017: he only managed to get one out, allowing 4 hits and 3 earned runs before being pulled. New York ended up winning that game and Severino would make three more postseason starts, but none of them were particularly impressive (4.02 ERA), and the Yankees were beaten in the ALCS.
It was an unfortunate end to a truly dominant breakthrough season for 24 year-old Severino, who exploded onto the scene with a 2.98 ERA over 193 innings in 2017. The Yankees righty cemented himself as one of the game’s best with a repeat performance in 2018 - while his ERA was a bit higher (3.39), that can be chalked up to a higher BABIP. All of the peripheral stats support Severino’s dominance, including that killer strikeout rate - 28.2%, good for 10th in baseball amongst qualified starters.
We’re not sure the average bettor has gotten the bad taste of last year’s Wild Card start out of their mouths, and we definitely don’t think Severino has gotten the credit he deserves as one of the game’s current best.
The A’s are opting to lean on the bullpen in the Wild Card game, as they’ll start by sending reliever Liam Hendriks to the mound. We can appreciate a little innovation, but we don’t love the strategy for Oakland here. The A’s do have the 5th ranked bullpen by reliever WAR, but over half of that has been accumulated by their absolutely lights-out closer Blake Treinen.
Other than Treinen, there just isn’t much talent in the bullpen for Oakland as there is for other clubs… like the Yankees, for example. Yusmeiro Petit, Lou Trivino and Ryan Butcher are decent arms, but New York boasts three non-closers (Dellin Betances, Chad Green, David Robertson) who are far superior to each of them. A’s Manager Bob Melvin will be under a lot of pressure to manage these relievers perfectly - if things go south for one of them, Oakland could be scrambling to find decent innings toward the end of the game.
The Yankees finished 2nd in offense by wRC+ for the season and the A’s finished 4th, so this is undoubtedly a strong offensive matchup. However, when projecting ahead, it’s safe to say New York has the far better lineup. Giancarlo Stanton had a down year by his standards (.266/.343/.509) and Aaron Judge missed nearly half of the season with a fractured wrist, but they’ll be the best two hitters in the stadium on Wednesday night and could validate all of the preseason hype with a strong postseason.
Oakland has a strong trio of power hitters in Matt Chapman, Khris Davis and Matt Olson. However, none of them have the talent of Judge or Stanton, and the Yankees boast better depth in their lineup. Aaron Hicks, Didi Gregorius, and rookies Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres all posted wRC+ figures of at least 120. Catcher Gary Sanchez also had a down year, but he’s healthy now and brings a lot of pop to the lineup at the backstop position.
Yankees Athletics Final Thoughts
While Oakland’s bullpen-centric approach to Wednesday’s Wild Card game is certainly innovative, we’d still rather have a good ‘ol fashioned ace on the mound, and Luis Severino certainly qualifies.
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Best of luck out there, and we’ll see you right back here soon for some more playoff baseball action. Let’s get a win!
Bet the Yankees -176
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