CM – Mariners vs. Athletics: How to Bet on the Battle Against Wild Card Contenders


The race for the AL wildcard heats up as Seattle travels to Oakland for a critical two-game run. The Mariners are three games behind the Athletics for second wildcard place, and both teams send unchecked starters on Monday evening.

Seattle turns to left-hander Marco Gonzales, who despite recent successful appearances to bad starts and many hard contacts tends. Oakland countered with right-wing Paul Blackburn, who made a start in 2021 and struggled with few strikeouts and too many walks at minor league level.

The batted ball data of both offenses suggests that they are in this one Season better than the current season, and the over is undervalued as both AL West opponents should jump on the starters early and score some runs.

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In many ways, Seattle is overrated as a team this season. The Mariners are 26-14 in one-run games, 11-4 in extra innings, and have a run differential that suggests they should be well below .500.

But in other respects the offense becomes the Mariners actually pretty underrated. They have the second worst GDP in the league, behind only Texas, although they are not in the top five for medium or hard hit rates. Seattle ranks second on flyball rate and the bottom 10 on HR / FB rate. All of this suggests that their offense should probably be better than it is now.

Seattle is struggling with strikeouts but is unlikely to strike much against Blackburn on Monday night as its strikeout rate is low. < The Mariners counter with Gonzales, who is one of the worst regular starters in the entire MLB. For xSLG, xwOBA and xERA it ranks in the lower 10th percentile. He's in the high 80s with his fastball and hits very few strokes. Gonzales has allowed two or fewer runs in six consecutive starts, but he's got luckier than good.

His xERA of 5.78 says everything you need to know about Gonzales as a pitcher, and good form doesn’t change his Person as the pitcher.

Oakland ranks in the bottom five against left-handed pitching in BABIP. The A’s have a WRC in the top 8 against southpaw and are top 5 on medium hit rate and the top half of the league on hard hit rate when faced left-handed. You haven’t done very well against Gonzales this season, with three runs in two starts, but I tend not to read much into a Startkrug story against a team because the sample size is so small. Oakland has scored well against left-handers all season and may be underrated offensively as a unit.

I also have important questions about A’s right-handed Paul Blackburn. Athletics turns to him for a point start, but he hasn’t shown that he can succeed in the major league. He’s in the lower 90s with his fastball and hasn’t generated many strikeouts in the minor leagues.

He allowed a 50% hard hit rate on his last start against the White Sox, even though his xERA suggests he did was a little unlucky at this start, its sample size is not large enough to draw a meaningful conclusion from. His K / BB rate in his scattered time in the majors has only topped two once for the past few seasons. He had some good stretches in the majors in 2016 and 2017, but was consistently below average in the otherwise permitted rolling wOBA.

Both offenses have underlying metrics that suggest they are especially recent Time went a little unhappy. The Athletics have had significantly more successes against left-handed pitching this year and have already seen Gonzales twice in 2021. Anything -110 or better at 8.5 is worth a game.

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