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Free Sports Pick for Tuesday, July 25: Oakland Athletics Invade Toronto Behind Gray

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On Tuesday, Oskeim provides a free sports pick in the MLB game between the Athletics and Blue Jays.  Oskeim also provides a free sports pick in the MLB game between the Mets and Padres.

Oakland right-hander Sonny Gray is having an excellent 2017 campaign, going 6-4 with a 3.66 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in fifteen starts. More importantly, Gray toes the rubber in excellent form with a 1.96 ERA and 0.92 WHIP over his last three starts.

In fact, the 27-year-old has not allowed more than two runs in any start since June 20. Gray’s underlying peripherals fully support his surface statistics: 3.38 FIP, 3.41

Gray’s underlying peripherals fully support his surface statistics: 3.38 FIP, 3.41 xFIP and a 3.81 SIERA. The talented righty has limited home runs (0.79 HR/9) and continues to keep the ball on the ground (55.3% GB%).

Gray has been phenomenal in July, posting a 1.96 ERA and a 2.93 FIP across 18.1 innings of work.  I also like the fact that Gray is 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA in five career starts against the Blue Jays.  The one concern I have in backing Gray is his home/road splits.

Specifically, in 10 starts at the Coliseum this season, Gray is 5-2 with a 3.08 ERA and a .208 opponents’ batting average.  In five starts on the road, he is 1-2 with a 4.85 ERA and a .274 opponents’ batting average. However, Gray is 4-1 with a 1.62 ERA and a .155 opponents’ batting average over his past five starts.

The Athletics are 4-1 in Gray’s last five starts and 4-0 in Gray’s last four outings against Toronto. Prior to this season, Toronto right-hander Cesar Valdez had not pitched in the Majors since 2010. The 32-year-old owns a 6.05 ERA, 6.30 FIP and a 4.79 SIERA across 19.1 innings, a span covering eight appearances (1 start).

Valdez is a fly ball pitcher who has an alarming 2.33 HR/9 rate and has pitched five innings just once in his Major League career.  Toronto’s bullpen continues to implode, posting a 5.18 ERA and 1.32 WHIP at home and a 4.86 ERA and 1.18 WHIP over the last seven games.

In contrast, Gray is backed by an improving Oakland bullpen that owns a 3.63 ERA and 1.21 WHIP over the last ten days.  Finally, the Blue Jays are a money-burning 1-7 in their last eight games versus .499 or worse opposition and 1-5 in their last six games overall, whereas Oakland is 9-3 in its last 12 games versus right-handed starters and 5-2 in its last seven clashes with American League East opposition.

Take the Athletics as Oskeim’s Free Sports Pick for Tuesday, July 25.

Free Sports Pick #2: San Diego Padres (-104) over New York Mets

Free Sports Pick #3: New York Yankees (-156) over Cincinnati Reds

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