Oakland right-hander Daniel Straily is one of my prime breakout candidates for 2014 as he possesses an outstanding slider that contributes to an elite 11.1% swinging strike rate. In his lone start against Minnesota last season, Straily allowed two earned runs on three hits in 5 2/3-innings of work (8-6 win). I also like the fact that Straily is supported by a very capable Oakland bullpen that owns a 3.21 ERA and 1.25 WHIP this season, including a 2.45 ERA and 1.36 WHIP in day games and a 2.88 ERA and 1.24 WHIP over the last seven games.
Meanwhile, Minnesota starter Mike Pelfrey epitomizes mediocrity as evidenced by the fact that he is 0-4 w/ a 7.30 ERA over his last five starts (dating back to last season). After recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2012, Pelfrey was 5-13 with a 5.19 ERA last year for the Twins. Pelfrey is off to another poor start in 2014 as he takes the mound with a bloated 5.07 ERA after yielding three earned runs to Cleveland last week in just 5.3 innings of work. Let’s also note that Pelfrey faced Oakland once last season wherein he allowed seven earned runs on eight hits in just three innings pitched (21.00 ERA & 3.00 WHIP).
Pelfrey is also hampered by an atrocious Minnesota bullpen that owns a 6.25 ERA and 1.52 WHIP this season, including a 6.67 ERA and 1.58 WHIP over the last seven games. From a technical standpoint, Minnesota is a money-burning 10-34 (-18.2 units) versus teams with a winning record, 36-73 (-24.3 units) as home underdogs, 44-71 (-24.6 units) at home versus right-handed starters and 16-35 (-17.0 units) following a loss. Finally, consider these powerful trends:
- Minnesota is 3-7 after losing the first two games of a series;
- Minnesota is 6-21 as an underdog in its last 27 games;
- Mike Pelfrey is 5-16 in his last 21 starts as an underdog
Take Oakland and invest with confidence.
Thursday’s Totals that Provide Value:
- Milwaukee/Philadelphia UNDER 7.5 runs
- Arizona/San Francisco OVER 8 runs