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Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Angels

Over/Under: 9

First pitch: 7:07 p.m. PT


Probable pitchers: Frankie Montas (9-2, 2.70 ERA) vs. Andrew Heaney (4-6, 5.10 ERA)

After being suspended 80 games due to testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance, Montas (a Zylbert Guy, remember) is back to help the A’s in the season’s final week, though he’ll be ineligible to compete in the playoffs should Oakland advance into October.

Of course, such a long layoff, especially for something other than injury, can bring about all sorts of unpredictable variables since it’s less common. Even so, I’m still a believer that Montas’ breakout campaign was no fluke.

Prior to being banished to the sidelines, Montas was having an All-Star caliber year, being 9-2 in 15 starts with a clean 2.70 ERA and 1.12 WHIP while holding opposing hitters to a .233 batting average, which would rank sixth-lowest in the American League among starting pitchers if he had enough innings to qualify.

Montas didn’t come away with exceptional numbers in his three previous meetings this season with the Angels. But remember, this is a very lackluster offense right now with Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani and Justin Upton all out with injuries. It’s also possible Albert Pujols is rested, too.

All reports I’ve read indicate Montas has been working out and staying prepared at the Athletics’ minor league complex in Arizona in anticipation of his return. He also has reportedly built his arm strength up to be able to throw 100 pitches, so we shouldn’t have to worry about a pitch count here. A Montas in regular form is something to trust for a good showing against a downgraded Halos lineup.

Heaney — another top Zylbert Guy — has a much tougher task on his plate but it’s one I think he can come through for when dealing with an under as high as 9.

Yes, the left-hander otherwise known as Heandog allowed six runs in each of his last two starts. That’s actually the first time he’s ever done that. However, we’ll try to use that to our advantage, as this is a guy I trust to bounce back and end his season with a better stat line. He’s far, far better than that 4-6 record and 5.10 ERA.

There have been three previous instances during his five years in Los Angeles where Heaney was tagged for at least four runs in consecutive assignments. In the three ensuing outings, the former first-round draft pick rebounded immediately with a quality start, even totaling 22 K’s in these spots across those 19.1 innings.

Heaney can be leaned on for a lot least a serviceable output this evening. Combine that with a fired-up Montas picking apart LA’s downtrodden batting order and you get a low-scoring contest. Play: UNDER 9 (-115)

Yesterday’s Result: Cardinals-Diamondbacks Under 8.5 (WIN)

2019 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 86-77-12, -0.85 unit

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit

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