Billy J’s Tuesday MLB Pick: Mariners @ Athletics

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Mariners @ Athletics Breakdown

Every Mariners fan is holding their breath until it becomes official. Currently the Mariners are still a comfortable 5 games ahead of the Orioles for the final wild card in the American League. It would be the Mariners first playoff berth since 2001. Something that is always talked about and widely known.

Until yesterday’s decisive victory over the Angels, it has been tough sledding for the Mariners the last week or so. Prior to yesterday’s 9-1 victory, the Mariners lost four of their last five. There was a small cause for concern as the Mariners bats went cold over the weekend against the Angels when they scored just two combined runs in back-to-back losses. The team and fanbase breathed a sigh of relief as the power came back to the lineup in yesterday’s rout. Carlos Santana connected on home runs number 18 and 19 of the season with his first home run of the game being a fifth-inning grand slam. Ty France then put the game out of reach with a three-run home run in the seventh.

The Mariners escaped the four-game series against the Angels avoiding the sweep and now are off to Oakland to start the second to last road series of the season. They will look for their ace Luis Castillo (7-5, 2.68 ERA) to get them that much closer to the playoffs. So far this September, Castillo is 2-1 with a 1.53 ERA and 21 strikeouts. Castillo in his last start in Oakland on August 21was the losing pitcher of record as he was only able to go five innings and surrendered four earned runs. He has not had a losing decision since.

Starting against Castillo and looking to play spoiler to their division foes is left-hander JP Sears (5-2, 3.90 ERA). Sears is having a dreadful September campaign and has considerably cooled down since being acquired from the Yankees in the Frankie Montas trade. In his three September starts, Sears has given up 13 earned runs. In those three starts he has given up five home runs and 21 total hits. When looking to the 2023 season, the A’s are looking for better production in the final games of 2022 from Sears as they look to evaluate all pitching options in their rebuild.

It is hard to imagine that Sears was 5-0 with a 1.93 ERA when he got the winning decision against Castillo on August 21. His ERA has ballooned from that 1.93 ERA to his current 3.90 ERA and his WHIP now stands at 1.30. Sears hasn’t been the only starter from the A’s to struggle recently as the team as a whole in the last 10 games has averaged a whopping 7.3 runs against.

When looking at this matchup before seeing the opening line, I had this line around the Mariners -180 mark. I was stunned to see it opened with the Mariners as the road favorite at -220. This is very telling in that the line is prompting bettors to go the run line route, which currently stands at -120. What also stands out is the current over/under at 7 runs. The projection for the total runs for the A’s is also being calculated to be 2.8 runs for.

This may simply be a matchup here where you don’t want to overthink. The Mariners are starting their ace who may have a little bit of revenge on his mind from taking the losing decision when these two faced each other last. Sears is a polar opposite of where he was just one month ago. The Mariners are fighting each day to keep the lead in the wild card and after shaking a tough series with a dominant win yesterday, this could be the series they need to take care of business and score a bunch of runs. And that can start against Sears and his 9.75 ERA in September.

This will also be the third straight game in which the Mariners have faced a left-handed starting pitcher so I like the consistency with their right handed lineup to pick up where they left off yesterday. Look for the Mariners to score early and often.

The Picks

Run line -1.5 to win 1 unit -120 on Mariners

First to 5 runs first +119 to win 1 unit on Mariners

Total team runs over 5.5 +170 to win 1 unit on Mariners

Billy J is a Boston-based betting analyst with 10+ years in the business. He has a deep knowledge of sports which he uses to provide readers with his previews and predictions. You can find all of his picks and predictions on www.playonlinenewjersey.com/.