What do yours truly, the Oakland A’s and Kate Upton have in common? We’re all smokin’ hot. Here’s your proof: I’m on a 13-3 run after last night’s easy underdog winner on the Diamondbacks (7-2 over the Dodgers); the A’s are 19-4 in July after last night’s 4-3, 15-inning victory over Tampa Bay; and Upton, well, go Google “Kate Upton Esquire cover” (trust me).
So why is Oakland — which is now 56-46 and in second place in the AL West, only 3 1/2-games behind the Rangers — just a “pick-em” tonight? At home, where the club has won 12 of its last 14, including six in a row (over the Rays, Yankees and Rangers)? And where tonight’s starting pitcher (lefty Tom Milone) is 5-1 with a 0.91 ERA in eight starts? Beats me. It’s not like the Rays are sending ace David Price to the mound (Price pitched last night and couldn’t beat Oakland). Rather, Tampa Bay is handing the ball to James Shields he of the 8-7 record, 4.52 ERA and just one quality start in his last seven outings. Over that seven-start stretch, Shields has surrendered 31 earned runs in 45 1/3 innings (6.15 ERA). Shields’ last start against the A’s? That was 369 days ago in Oakland, and he gave up 10 runs in four innings of a 13-4 loss (in fact, Oakland is 4-1 the last five times they’ve seen Shields).
Back to Milone real quickly: The rookie has some ridiculous splits. While he’s 5-1 with a 0.91 ERA at home, he’s 4-6 with a 5.77 ERA on the road. And while he’s 1-3 with a 4.91 ERA in four day games, he’s 8-4 with a 3.16 ERA in 16 starts under the lights. Oh, and did I mention the A’s are 5-1 in their last six meetings with Tampa Bay? And 42-16 the last 58 times they’ve hosted Tampa Bay?
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Monday’s Result: Diamondbacks (+115) at Dodgers (Win)