Minnesota Twins at Oakland Athletics
When and Where: Saturday, Sept. 22, Oakland Coliseum, Calif., 9:05 p.m. EDT.
Mike Fiers looks to bounce back from his first loss since joining Oakland as the Athletics continue their series against the Minnesota Twins on Saturday night trying to move another step closer to clinching the AL’s second wild-card berth.
De Jong again looks for first major league win
Chase De Jong (0-2, 3.68 ERA) makes his third start for the Twins since being recalled as he attempts once more for his first big-league win.
Both of the 24-year-old’s starts have been against Kansas City, and that might not have been a good thing. After the right-hander threw four one-hit innings against the Royals at home Sept. 9, they tagged De Jong for five runs and right hits in 3 1-3 innings of a 10-3 loss at Kauffman Stadium last Saturday.
“It was just one of those nights in baseball where they were just putting the ball right where they needed to and they were falling for hits,” De Jong told the club’s official website. “I felt really good tonight. I just don’t think my line is going to tell the whole story.”
De Jong made two appearances against Oakland last season while pitching for Seattle, one start and one relief. He allowed four runs and eight hits over 10 innings in the two games while not recording a decision.
Fiers’ unbeaten run with A’s comes to end
Fiers (12-7, 3.38 ERA) is looking to get back on track after losing for the first time in eight starts since being acquired from Detroit on Aug. 6.
The right-hander ran into trouble with the long ball at Tampa Bay on Sunday, giving up two homers that led to all three runs allowed. He wound up throwing 80 pitches over four innings of Oakland’s 5-4 defeat.
Despite the loss, Fiers is 5-1 with a 3.09 ERA in eight starts since joining the Athletics and has given up two or fewer runs in all but two of them. He is 3-0 with a 3.21 ERA in five starts at home for them, striking out 28 in as many innings in Oakland while holding opposing hitters to a .206 batting average.
Though he was in the same division as Minnesota for much of the season, Fiers did not face the Twins until after being dealt to Oakland. It was worth the wait as he limited them to a solo homer and four other hits over 5 2-3 innings in a 6-2 victory at Target Field on Aug. 25.
Fiers has won four consecutive starts versus the Twins and his last five decisions while holding a 6-1 record and 3.08 ERA in nine lifetime starts against them.
The Athletics are:
- 21-5 in their last 26 during game 2 of a series.
- 5-0 in Fiers’ last five home starts.
- 11-3 in their last 14 Saturday games.
- The under is 7-2-1 in their last 10 games vs. AL Central teams.
- The under is 5-0 in Tim Welke’s last five games as plate umpire.
The Twins are:
- 0-5 in their last five Saturday games.
- 0-5 in their last five games vs. starters with a WHIP below 1.15.
- No trends of note.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
With the playoffs within reach, Fiers should put together a strong bounce-back start against a team he has enjoyed facing of late. The right-hander has been one of the top acquisitions made by teams after clearing waivers, and the reward for the Athletics will be another game closer to the wild-card spot.
Prediction: Pick: Athletics -230
Full-Game Total Pick
The fact the Kansas City Royals had no idea how to solve De Jong the first time they saw him provides optimism he can keep this game relatively close the first few innings while Fiers deals. Given the Twins held the A’s to five runs in the final three games of their four-game series in Minnesota last month, the under feels like the more confident play.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 8.5 runs (Even)
Full-Game Prop Bet
The Athletics have scored seven or more runs in each of their last eight home games after Friday night’s 7-6 victory to open this series. While De Jong may get through the lineup the first time relatively unscathed, Oakland is running too well offensively to not solve him thereafter.
Prediction: Pick: Athletics OVER 5 runs (-110)
First Five Innings Side Pick
The belief is the Athletics get to De Jong while Fiers has a quality bounce-back effort. Oakland has won nine of its last 11 at home and outscored opponents by a combined 43 runs in the first five innings of those games.
Prediction: Pick: Athletics -0.5 runs (-170)
First Five Innings Total Bet
Based on Oakland’s offense at late, this is a pick to thread the needle with the Athletics getting to De Jong in their second time through the batting order against him.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 4.5 runs (-120)
First Five Innings Prop Prediction
This will hinge more on De Jong than Fiers, who has given up first-inning runs in only two of his eight starts since joining the Athletics. De Jong has given up a first-inning run in one of his two start since being called up.
Prediction: Pick: NO to 1st-inning run (-120)