Roenis Elias, Jesse Chavez Unlikely Matchup

May 6, 2014

In a game involving two unlikely pitchers, Seattle and Oakland are set for a low-scoring affair at the Coliseum Tuesday night.  Seattle starter Roenis Elias, a Cuban defector who has not pitched above the Double-A level before this season, and Oakland hurler Jesse Chavez, a 30-year-old journeyman who made his Major League debut in 2008, square off in one of the most  surprising scenarios in years.

Seattle Starter Roenis Elias:

In 2010, Elias, then 22, defected from Guantanamo, Cuba, taking a 30-hour voyage on a small boat to Cancun, Mexico, where he hid with other players for weeks until his paperwork came through. For a season, he played for a lower-tier team in Monterrey, Mexico.  In May 2011, the Mariners signed him after he impressed scouts at an open tryout.

This season, Elias is 2-2 with a 3.08 ERA and 1.31 WHIP, including going 2-1 with a 2.59 ERA and 1.35 WHIP over his last three outings.  Last week, Elias silenced Yankee Stadium by limiting New York to two runs (one earned) on six hits in seven innings of work.  Elias also struck out a career-best ten batters in the process.

Oakland Starter Jesse Chavez:

Chavez has played for five teams since making his Major League debut in 2008, making stops in Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Kansas City and Toronto before arriving in the Bay Area in 2012.  As he struggled to make a name for himself, often bouncing back and forth between Triple-A and the Majors, his wife, Crystal, worked nights as a longshoreman in Los Angeles and Long Beach to help support their two daughters.  Interestingly, Chavez’ wife is still employed as a longshoreman and apparently enjoys the work.

Returning to baseball, Chavez is 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA and 0.94 WHIP this season, including garnering a 1.50 ERA and 1.16 WHIP at home and a 2.50 ERA and 1.05 WHIP over his last three starts.  In last week’s 12-1 over the Rangers, Chavez tossed seven shutout innings, giving up one hit and a walk while striking out eight.  Said teammate Eric Sogard after: “He’s been unbelievable.”

Both pitchers have faced the other team once this season, and the results were positive for both men.  Elias limited Oakland to one run on two hits in five innings (1.80 ERA; 1.00 WHIP), while Chavez limited the Athletics to one earned run on five hits in six innings of work (1.50 ERA; 1.16 WHIP).  Pro Edge Sports also likes tonight’s home plate umpire, Ed Hickox, who is know for having a generous strike zone.  In fact, teams are batting just .242 with a .306 on base percentage this season with Hickox behind the plate (home team averaging 2.5 runs per game; visitor averaging 3.5 runs per game).

Pro Edge Sports Pick: Seattle Mariners/Oakland Athletics UNDER 7 runs (+100)