Oakland Invades the Bronx – Free MLB Sports Pick

Apr 21, 2016

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36-year-old journeyman Rich Hill parlayed four strong starts in September for the Red Sox into a one-year contract with Oakland. Hill’s 2015 campaign started in Washington’s farm system where he posted a pedestrian 4.40 FIP in forty relief appearances. Hill then took his talents to Pawtucket (Boston’s Triple-A team) where he was integrated into the starting rotation, posting a 3.59 FIP over five starts.

With Boston’s postseason hopes dashed, the Red Sox decided to give Hill a shot in the big leagues where he made four starts in September. Over 29 innings, Hill posted a 34% strikeout rate, an 11.3% swinging strike rate and a 7.2 strikeouts per walk rate. With a 1.55 ERA and 2.27 FIP over those four outings, Hill was signed by Oakland during the offseason and went 0-2 with an 11.25 ERA and 2.25 WHIP in four spring training starts (12 IP; 15 ER; 15 BB; 9 K).

Hill is 1-2 with a 4.15 ERA and 1.69 WHIP in three starts this season, averaging just 4.3 innings per outing. The aging southpaw now faces a New York lineup that is averaging 5.1 runs per game at home with a .787 OPS. Meanwhile, New York sends talented right-hander Luis Severino to the mound to face an anemic Oakland attack that is averaging just 2.9 runs per game this season, including 2.7 runs per game versus right-handed starters.

Don’t be fooled by Severino’s 5.90 ERA as the 22-year-old possesses elite talent and an unlimited upside after posting a 2.89 ERA in 62.1 innings for the Yankees last season. Severino also owns a 3.25 FIP, 2.74 xFIP and 2.95 SIERA this season, together with a 57.5% ground ball rate and 0.84 BB/9 rate.

The issue has been an unsustainable .436 BABIP, which is likely to regress in the near future. Severino is also supported by an excellent New York bullpen that owns a 2.29 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in 2016, including a 1.39 ERA and 1.00 WHIP at home.

Technically speaking, the Yankees are 27-12 in their last 39 game 3 (of a series) scenarios and a perfect 7-0 with umpire Jeff Nelson behind home plate. With Oakland standing at a money-burning 7-19 in its last 26 games versus American League East foes and 4-10 in its last fourteen game 3 (of a series) scenarios, take the Yankees as Oskeim Sports’ free sports pick and invest with confidence.

Oskeim Sports’ Free Sports Pick: New York Yankees (-127)