Oakland Athletics at Kansas City Royals
First pitch: 10:15 a.m. PT
Probable pitchers: Chris Bassitt (9-5, 3.59 ERA) vs. Glenn Sparkman (3-9, 5.52 ERA)
Treacherous waters are surely ahead when eyeing a low-scoring contest involving Sparkman as one of the probables. Although the native Texan is typically more of an overs guy, this actually looks like a spot he can deliver for the other side.
Yes, Sparkman does not own pretty numbers at all but the glaring thing with him are his extreme home-and-road splits. Since first debuting two years ago, Sparkman has a relatively respectable 3.80 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 85.1 innings at home — including a 3.09 ERA and 1.04 WHIP at pitcher-friendly Kauffman Stadium. For comparison, on the road he’s struggled to the tune of a 8.10 ERA and 1.97 WHIP in 63.1 innings.
Fortunately, this will be a home assignment for Sparkman. Not only that, he’s getting an Oakland lineup that’s at less than 100 percent. Rising star Matt Chapman had to leave last night’s game after getting hit in the head by a pitch and is out for today’s series finale, as is slugger Khris Davis, who apparently is being rested. Additionally, the A’s offense can be more vulnerable when squaring off with a right-hander. They bat more than 20 points lower opposite righties (.243) compared to southpaws (.264).
With Sparkman in position to hang around, the usual solid showing from Bassitt could be enough to propel an under bet. Yes, I’ve written a few times before how the 6-foot-5 right-hander prefers to work at the pitcher-friendly Oakland Coliseum but the site of this outing in Kansas City at The K could also be of use for his efforts.
In any event, Bassitt has quietly been one of the most underrated starters in the game this season, yielding three earned runs or fewer in all but three (!) of his 22 starts. He’s been especially rolling since the All-Star break, being 4-1 in eight starts to go with a 2.45 ERA and 1.09 WHIP.
For Bassitt’s next turn in the rotation, he is getting a club that’s 4-10 in their last 14, scoring no more than two runs in eight of those games. Play: UNDER 10.5 (-115)
Yesterday’s Result: Reds-Marlins Under 8.5 (WIN)
Zylbert’s 2019 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 74-64-10, +2.1 units
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit