D’Backs vs. A’s Odds
|Time||3:37 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Wednesday morning and via FanDuel.|
The Oakland Athletics defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first game of this series by the score of 5-2 last night, behind a strong pitching performance from Chris Bassitt.
The Athletics only managed six hits on the day, but were effective with runners in scoring position, finishing the night 3 for 6 in such situations. Elvis Andrus, Mark Cahna, Matt Chapman, Sean Murphy, and Chad Pinder all drove in runs in the victory.
The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, only managed five hits in the loss. They were led by Christian Walker, whose two hits on the day included a solo home run in the second inning.
With ace Sean Manaea on the mound, the A’s will expect a shutdown performance in this one. Will they get it against a Diamondbacks squad that comes in with just a 20-42 record — worst in baseball — or will we see more offense than expected on Wednesday afternoon?
Peacock, D’Backs Bullpen Struggling
Matt Peacock will make his fifth start of the season for the Diamondbacks on Wednesday. Peacock has struggled overall during the first half of his rookie season, splitting time between the bullpen and the starting rotation and has struggled overall
Over 32 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 4.77 FIP and allowed an alarmingly high 48.6% Hard Hit rate this far. He’s also been a frequent victim of the long ball, allowing 1.65 HR/9 to opposing batters.
While his 3.86 ERA over his four starts appears to be an improvement when compared to his 4.68 season ERA, his 4.76 FIP and 1.71 HR/9 over that span are both in line with his overall season thus far.
On Wednesday, he’ll take on an Athletics team that has been slightly better than league average against righties so far, collectively hitting to a .310 wOBA (13th highest in MLB).
If he struggles, manager Torey Lovullo will be forced to turn the ball over to a bullpen that has been one of the worst in baseball so far this season. Over 222 2/3 innings, the Diamondbacks bullpen has combined for a 4.62 FIP, the fourth worst mark amongst all teams.
Manaea Has Been Incredibly Reliable for A’s
Manaea has been incredibly reliable this season for the Athletics. Over 69 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a rock-solid 3.17 FIP and retired batters at a strong 9.0 K/9 clip. He’s also coming off a complete game shutout of the Seattle Mariners where he allowed just four hits while striking out eight.
Manaea has seen robust improvement year-over-year in both his strikeout percentage and home run rate. In 2020, his strikeout rate was down at 7.5 K/9 versus 9.0 K/9 so far this season, a sizable improvement for a pitcher who has averaged 7.54 K/9 for his career. His home run rate has also decreased from a still-solid 1.17 HR/9 last season to just 0.90 HR/9 this year.
The biggest difference between this year and last is his pitch selection. Manaea has all but eliminated the cutter and curveball from his repertoire and has instead focused exclusively on a fastball, slider and changeup. While his fastball rate is up slightly (58% vs. 54% last year), the majority of that variance has shifted to his slider, which has more than doubled in usage from last season (15.7% vs 7.4%).
Tonight, he’ll take on a Diamondbacks team that has been one of the better teams in baseball against left-handed pitching. So far on the season, they’ve hit to a .342 wOBA in such situations, the fourth-best mark in all of baseball.
While the Athletics expect some distance from Manaea, manager Bob Melvin will not hesitate to turn the ball over to his bullpen when the time is right. They’ve been one of the more reliable units in baseball so far this season, collectively pitching to a 3.67 FIP, eighth best amongst all teams.
There’s no doubt that Manaea has been impressive overall this season, but the Diamondbacks have been one of the better teams in baseball against left-handed pitching thus far and have shown a penchant for excelling in situations where the matchup fits their style.
While Manaea has been remarkably consistent, recording a quality start in seven of his 12 starts thus far, he’s been vulnerable in certain spots and has not been immune to the big inning. I don’t expect to see a ton of crooked numbers from Arizona here, but I think they do enough against the veteran southpaw to make things interesting.
On the other side, the Athletics will have a prime offensive matchup against a pitcher in Peacock that has struggled in limiting both hard contact and home runs. It doesn’t hurt that they’ve also been one of the better teams in baseball against right-handed pitching.
While the A’s moneyline is tempting, there isn’t much value at -215. Instead, the bet here is on the over at 8.5 runs. I’m comfortable with this one at the current odds, but I will play it up to around -118 if we see the line shift upwards between now and the first pitch.
Pick: Over 8.5 (-114)