Athletics at Tigers MLB Pick June 27

by Taylor Smith
on June 27, 2018

Minute Read

They aren’t a team that draws many headlines, but the Oakland Athletics are quietly in the mix of the American League playoff picture. The A’s enter play on Wednesday at 42-38 on the season. While that’s not an amazing record by any means, Oakland is still well within range of the AL’s second Wild Card spot. The Seattle Mariners are currently in the driver’s seat for that playoff spot, but the Athletics are 7 games behind. That’s a decent amount of ground to have to make up, but there’s enough time left in the season to where anything is possible.

After a thrilling 9-7 win on Tuesday night in a game they once trailed 6-0, the A’s will look to run their winning streak to 3 tonight in Detroit. Chris Bassitt was called up from the minor leagues to make the start for Oakland against Tigers right-hander Mike Fiers.

Bassitt has spent most of his time on the farm this season, but he has made 3 starts at the big league level, too. The right-hander has a serviceable 3.86 ERA, but he has also taken the loss in each of those 3 outings. His 4.17 SIERA says his 3.86 ERA is a bit lucky, however. It’s a small sample, but Bassitt has yielded a hard contact rate of 40 percent on the year, which is problematic.

Bassitt has kept the walks down, but his strikeout rate over 17 percent is nothing special. He’s also a fly ball pitcher pitching in a stadium that is super favorable for home runs in Comerica Park. Bassitt has shown reverse split tendencies to this point at the major league level. He has kept lefties in check (.299 wOBA), but righties boast a .339 mark against him. Detroit has a few capable lefties, but most of the lineup is right-handed hitters. That doesn’t bode well for him.

As for Fiers, he has gotten rather lucky so far in his first season as a Tiger. The former Houston Astro’s 4.29 ERA is belied by a FIP over 5.00 and a 4.47 SIERA. He doesn’t miss any bats (17.3 percent K-rate) while allowing plenty of hard contact (over 35 percent) and lots of fly balls. Fiers is another reverse-splits, fly ball pitcher, and he has had a noteworthy home run problem in his career.

While Fiers hasn’t endured many blow-up outings this year, he has still allowed 16 homers in 14 games. From 2015 through 2017, the right-hander surrendered 24, 26 and 32 dingers. This isn’t a new thing for him. Fiers will also have the misfortune of pitching to one of the most powerful lineups in all of baseball tonight. It would be legitimately miraculous for Fiers to escape this start tonight without conceding at least one long ball. The A’s have hit 108 home runs as a team thisĀ  year, which is tied with the Angels for the fourth-most in all of baseball.

It’s also worth noting that this game will be called by home plate umpire Lance Barksdale, who grades out as one of the most hitter-friendly umpires in the league. Bassitt and Fiers will already be up against it tonight, and having an umpire with a tight strike zone certainly won’t help matters for either starter.

It is also expected to be warm and muggy in Detroit tonight with sustained winds blowing out to left field at about 10 miles per hour. That’s not dramatic wind by any means, but the weather conditions still favor the hitters.

I just think the total here of 9.5 is way, way too low. If Fiers pitches the way we know Fiers is capable of pitching, this is a spot in which it would not be much of a surprise if the A’s finished in double figures on their own. The put up 9 last night in a game in which the Tigers used 6 pitchers. Oakland used 5 of their own, so both bullpens could be tired and/or short-handed here.

So, take the over here. The line should move closer to 10 as the day goes on, but I think the over is the pretty obvious play.

Pick: Over 9 1/2

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