Newly-named All-Star Chris Bassitt won’t be able to pitch in the game on Tuesday because he has a much more important appearance to make today. The Oakland right-hander is Sunday’s starter for the game against the Texas Rangers. It will be Kolby Allard for the Rangers as the first half closes for both teams.
What a first half it has been for the A’s, who are 3.5 games out of first place in the AL West. They are -4 games in the standings against the Astros, trailing 8-4 in the season series, so that is the sole reason why Oakland is behind in the standings.
The Rangers are just bad. Really bad. They’re 19 games under .500, 18.5 games back in the standings, and I think it will just get worse for them, especially when Joey Gallo gets traded. One bright spot this season has been Allard, who has a 3.45 ERA with a 3.47 FIP in his 57.1 innings of work. The 23-year-old has 144.1 innings to his name at the MLB level with a 5.42 ERA and a 4.24 FIP, but he’s really found something that works this season.
This will be the eighth start of the year for Allard and it does seem as though his good fortunes may be turning a little bit. He’ll be facing Oakland for the third time in four starts and has allowed 12 runs on 17 hits over his last 17.1 innings, which includes those two starts against the A’s. His LOB% fortunes have swung a little bit and he’s allowed some harder contact in some of those outings.
The list of things I like about Oakland today is pretty long. They are a veteran team that knows the regular season and playoff grind, so I think they’ll be looking to bank a win here. They’re sending out their ace against a really bad team. He’s also coming off of a really rare bad outing with six runs allowed on eight hits in 4.1 innings against Houston.
He’s the right type of bounce back guy with outstanding command. He had only allowed nine home runs in 106.2 innings of work prior to his last start against Houston. He has over a strikeout per inning with a nice walk rate. He commands the zone and the baseball so well. The thing about the Rangers offense is that it is pretty home run dependent. The Rangers have scored 368 runs this season and 161 runs are via the long ball. Bassitt is stingy about allowing those and has been throughout his career.
We are laying a little bit of a price here and the market is siding with the Rangers ever so slightly, but I disagree with the move. I think this is an instance where an ace shines when his team needs him and the A’s get precisely what they need from Bassitt in this spot. I’d also expect a little bit of negative regression from Allard to creep in as we go forward and maybe we’ve already seen the start of it.
Pick: Oakland A’s
Other game: Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers