The MLB Playoff odds for the Oakland Athletics are starting to shrink, but they can turn those back around with a successful weekend in Los Angeles. The Angels play host to the Athletics on Friday night in a game in which the MLB lines favor the visitors.
Oakland comes into this game with a record of 79-67 and sitting three games out of the final Wild Card spot. The Athletics just haven’t been able to go on a big run, but they are hoping that this becomes the weekend to get things going.
The Los Angeles Angels have been hovering around the .500 mark all season, but that has to be viewed as a disappointment. Playing without Mike Trout has made things difficult on the Angels, but they just haven’t had enough other players step up along the way.
Bats Heating Up For Oakland
Offense has not always come easy for Oakland, which has scored at least seven runs in each of the last two games and they will arrive in Los Angeles with plenty of momentum.
First baseman Matt Olson has been terrific at the plate and has done his part in keeping the Athletics in the playoff race. Olson leads the team with 35 home runs and 101 RBIs, but he is going to need some help against the Angels.
The Athletics will be sending Cole Irvin to the mound and that hasn’t always been a good thing for Irvin or Oakland. The left-hander is just 9-13 with a 4.04 ERA, but he should get plenty of run support in this matchup.
Oakland has a solid bullpen and getting off to a fast start should help in the series opener. The Athletics have a pretty simple recipe for success, but it all starts with finding some early offense.
Angels Shutting Down Ohtani
Shohei Ohtani was scheduled to take the mound for Los Angeles on Friday night, but those plans have since changed. Ohtani is dealing with some discomfort in his right arm and his season on the mound might be over.
Angels manager Joe Maddon said, “If there’s any kind of lingering soreness, you may not see him pitch.”
Not only is this a massive blow for the Angels, but it should provide a huge boost to the playoff chances for the Athletics. Left-hander Jhonathan Diaz was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake to make his major league debut on Friday. He was 5-6 with a 4.01 ERA at Salt Lake.
Los Angeles has won two straight games and does have plenty of offense. The Angels are hitting .247 as a team and Ohtani leads the way with 44 home runs and 94 RBIs.
Irvin Delivers For Oakland
Los Angeles is at a big disadvantage without a starting pitcher lined up. The Angels have been struggling to get outs all season and that could be an issue on Friday.
If you are looking for MLB picks for this game, then the right way to go is to take the team still in the playoff race. Oakland is going to get a big start from Irvin and that will set the tone for the Athletics.
This game will be close until late as the Athletics will get some clutch hits to win by at least two runs. Bet the Oakland Athletics -1.5 over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night.
Pick: Oakland Athletics -1½ runs (+120)
Visitors Take the Series
Los Angeles would love nothing more than to play the role of spoiler this weekend against Oakland, but they are going to be overmatched, especially on the mound. Shutting down Ohtani from pitching forced the Angels to call up Diaz from the minors to make the start.
Oakland doesn’t always score a ton of runs, but the Athletics should have a big weekend at the plate. Predicting a sweep for the Athletics might be a bit too much to ask, but Oakland should be able to at least get a pair of wins.
When making a series bet online, take the Oakland Athletics at -150 to win this series over the Los Angeles Angels this weekend.