Oakland and Seattle Open Baseball Season in Tokyo
Pro Baseball Season Opener in Japan:

Oakland and Seattle open the 2012 Pro Baseball Betting Season on March 28 in Tokyo, Japan.  The two game series pits two familiar teams against each other.  Seattle and Oakland play out of the same division in the American League. 

Both Oakland and Seattle are huge underdogs to win the pennant this year, Oakland is at +5000 and Seattle is at +6000.  Both are also big dogs to win their division, they’re both going off at +3000 in the futures book to win the AL West, but that doesn’t mean that the two games in Tokyo aren’t worth looking at when it comes to the online sportsbook. 

As awful as Seattle is, they do boast one of the best pitchers in all of baseball, Felix Hernandez.  King Felix gets the nod for March 28.   Will Hernandez be enough for the Mariners to take home Game 1 of the two game series?  What will happen in Game 2?

Based on what’s happened so far in Tokyo, Mariner fans can’t be feeling good.  Mariners lost 1 to 5 to the Hanshin Tigers on March 24.  On March 25, Seattle lost 3 to 9 to the Yomiuri Giants.  The A’s beat the Yomiuri Giants 5 to 0 on March 25.  Then, in their second game that day, the A’s played a double-header, the Hanshin Tigers drubbed Oakland 12 to 6. 

Baseball handicappers can’t read too much about those four games in Japan.  What happens in the MLB Pre-Season doesn’t always translate to what will happen during the regular season.  Everybody knows that pro baseball managers use the pre-season to tweak their starting lineups and, besides, Seattle and Oakland know each other well.

Keep reading for analysis and picks!

 

Seattle Mariners vs. Oakland Athletics

2 – Game Series

Where:  Tokyo, Japan

Game 1

When:  March 28 at 6:10 am EST

Starting Pitchers:  Seattle – Felix Hernandez, 3.47 ERA
Oakland – Brandon McCarthy, 3.32 ERA

Analysis:  Hernandez is most likely going to be a huge favorite on the run line once they post odds.  Seattle will be a big favorite on the moneyline because of Hernandez, but, based on ERA, King Felix wasn’t better than B. McCarthy last season.  Based on WHIP, McCarthy looks like an even better bet to get the job done on that island in the Pacific where Godzilla comes from.  Felix produced a 1.22 WHIP last season.  That’s not great, anything over 1.20 is considered bad, while McCarthy’s WHIP ended up at 1.13.  Yes, McCarthy, like all ball tossers, throws very well in pitcher friendly Oakland and that, more than anything, might be the reason for the lower ERA and WHIP, but, because the odds should be out of whack in this game, Ichiro is Japanese after all, I’m willing to give McCarthy the benefit of the doubt.

After all, even if 2012 is seen as a rebuilding year for the A’s, they parted with three All-Star pitchers and a veteran outfield duo, it’s not as if the Mariners will bring a star studded offense to the Tokyo Dome this week.  The Mariners did upgrade themselves offensively, but “dynamic”, which is a word I read in an article to describe the Mariner’s offense, might be stretching it a bit.  The truth is that when Ichiro Suzuki, who hit 5 dingers in 2011, is #3 in your batting lineup, you’re going to have to win games this season, well, the way that the A’s are going to have to win games this season, with good to excellent pitching and defense.

If McCarthy can go tit for tat with Hernandez, then the A’s will have a chance to upset the Mariners.  Because Hernandez is almost always a favorite on the run line, and because Ichiro will be playing in front of his hometown fans, there’s no reason to believe that the Mariners won’t be the big time chalk on the moneyline.

I’ll back the Oakland A’s to upset the Mariners in Game 1 and get my baseball bankroll off to a sweet start.

Pick:  Oakland A’s on the moneyline

 

Game 2

When:  March 29 at 5:10 am EST

Starting Pitchers:  Seattle – Jason Vargas, 4.25 ERA
Oakland – Bartolo Colon, 4.00 ERA

Analysis:  Seattle should be the favorite in Game 2 as well because Oakland’s offense, the more I dissect it, will be just horrible.  Sure, Oakland averaged 3.98 runs last season, but this year’s batting lineup is going to find it very difficult to score over 3.40 on average.  Two okay pitchers, Bartolo Colon who turns 39 two days before I turn 39, and Jason Vargas, who is ten years younger than Colon and I, take the mound for what should be struggling offensive teams.  The Mariners averaged 3.43 runs per game last season and are pinning their offensive hopes on catcher Jesus Montero, who has produced a .306 batting average in the pre-season, and the A’s are pinning their offensive hopes on Cuban star Yoenis Cespedes.

There’s no doubt that Seattle’s offense is better (at least it is right now!) but is Colon better than Vargas, therefore, countering any advantage Seattle might have with the bats?  I don’t feel that the odds are going to be so out of whack that the Mariners won’t offer any value in the sportsbook.  I don’t believe that I have to back the A’s in Game 2.  To me, Seattle, especially if they lose the first game, will no doubt get to Colon before the A’s get to Vargas.

The WHIPS are almost mirror images:  Colon was at 1.29 last season while Vargas was at 1.31.  My baseball betting rules tell me that in games where the moneyline and run line are close, where one team isn’t a grossly exaggerated favorite over the other, a good decision is to go with the likeliest outcome.  Seattle’s offense, although un-dynamic, should be good enough against Colon to counter anything that the A’s offense does against Vargas.

That means putting dollars behind the Seattle Mariners and Jason Vargas.  Heck, in this situation, I’m going to consider Game 2 a “saver bet” since I’m going for the dollars by backing the A’s in Game 1.    

Pick:  Seattle Mariners on the moneyline