Oakland Athletics at Seattle Mariners
When and Where: Monday, Sept. 24, Safeco Field, Seattle, Wash., 10:10 p.m. EDT.
The Oakland Athletics have one week to overtake the New York Yankees to host the American League wild-card game, and that chase resumes Monday night with the first of three games at Safeco Field versus the Seattle Mariners.
The Yankees have clinched a AL wild-card spot, and the Athletics have all but mathematically done so, but the site of that one-game playoff has yet to be determined heading into the final week of the season.
Mengden gets spot start as A’s hold back Anderson
The right-hander went on the disabled list in late June with a sprained right foot and then spent six weeks in Triple-A before being recalled late last month. Mengden has been used as a long reliever over the last four weeks, making five appearance and logging at least four innings in four of them.
Mengden last pitched Sept. 18 against the Los Angeles Angels, allowing a solo homer and one other hit over four innings in Oakland’s 9-7 loss. He has held opponents to a .171 batting average in those five appearances, which have spanned 19 2-3 innings, while posting a 1.83 ERA.
His lone poor outing since his return came against Seattle on Sept. 1 when he was reached for four runs and five hits in two innings of an 8-7 defeat to the Mariners. Mengden is making his first career appearance at Safeco Field and has lost both his prior starts against Seattle, yielding six runs and 10 hits in 11 innings.
Paxton makes long-awaited return for M’s
James Paxton (11-6, 3.83 ERA) makes his first start in three weeks for the Mariners after being sidelined by pneumonia.
The left-hander threw a 40-pitch bullpen session in the rain Friday and wants to use this final week to set a baseline for a 2019 goal of pitching at least 190 innings. Paxton has already set a career high with 150 1-3 innings.
“He got through it,” manager Scott Servais told the club’s official website. “He did say he got a little fatigued toward the end of it, but he’s pushing through it. He wants to make that start when we get back home. He’s shooting for starting on Monday.”
Paxton has made just two starts since Aug. 14 as he was also on the disabled list with a bruised left forearm suffered when he was hit by a line drive in a start at Oakland in that game. One of the two outings since that incident was a victory at Oakland on Sept. 1 when he allowed three runs and two hits in five innings of an 8-7 victory.
The left-hander matched was denied a win against Anderson on May 2 after a brilliant performance in which he struck out a career-high 16 and scattered five hits and one walk in seven shutout innings. Paxton is 4-0 with a 3.70 ERA in nine career starts versus Oakland, going 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 20 innings over three starts at Safeco.
The Mariners are:
- 7-1 in Paxton’s last eight starts during game 1 of a series.
- 6-2 in Paxton’s last eight home starts vs. above-.500 teams.
- 8-2 in their last 10 home games vs. the Athletics.
- The under is 5-0 in Paxton’s last five home starts.
- The under is 6-0 in Paxton’s last six Monday starts.
- The under is 13-6 in Paxton’s last 19 starts vs. above-.500 teams.
The Athletics are:
- 3-14 in Mengden’s last 17 starts vs. AL West teams.
- 3-7 in their last 10 road games vs. above-.500 teams.
- The under is 4-1 in their last five road games vs. left-handed starters.
- The under is 5-2-2 in Mengden’s last nine starts after allowing five or more runs in the previous game.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
While Mengden has been effective since returning to the Athletics staff, the hedge here is Paxton gets through five innings for the Mariners before giving way to the bullpen to finish things off.
Prediction: Pick: Mariners -145
Full-Game Total Pick
Both Paxton and Mengden should be able to navigate two go-rounds through the other’s lineup as neither likely will pitch more than five innings. It will be slightly nervy trusting each other’s bullpens following the expectation both starters will be relatively effective, but the teams have combined for seven or fewer runs in eight of the 16 meetings.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 7.5 (-105)
Full-Game Prop Bet
Both starters spot above-average WHIPs — Paxton enters the game at 1.10 and Mengden is close behind at 1.12. The longer they go, the better for taking the under, but the belief is the respective bullpens will hold down the fort as well.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 26 runs+hits+errors (-115)
First Five Innings Side Pick
This a confidence pick in Paxton being effective enough to get through five innings given his solid track record against Oakland while having just enough to get through five frames in his first start in three weeks.
Prediction: Pick: Mariners -0.5 runs (-115)
First Five Innings Total Bet
This is a toss-up given two mistakes can ruin this selection, but the solo homer allowed by Mengden aganst the Angels in his last outing was the only one he’s given up since his return and Paxton has yet to concede a long ball to the Athletics at home in 20 innings.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 4 runs (-120)
First Five Innings Prop Prediction
Don’t let Mengden’s 7.88 ERA in the first inning scare you off from this bet, he has not allowed a run in the opening frame in seven of his previous nine starts before going on the disabled list. The only two times in Paxton’s last 10 starts he yielded a first-inning run was when he had to come out of the game due to injury.
Prediction: Pick: NO to 1st-inning run (-140)