The Oakland Athletics and Arizona Diamondbacks combined to score 17 runs on 31 hits in Game One of this series. Oakland jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the second inning, but Arizona won 9-8 on a walk off home run in the bottom of the ninth. Some people don’t realize it, but Chase Field is among the most hitter-friendly parks in baseball when the roof is open. Will Saturday night’s matchup provide more offensive fireworks or will the pitchers gain some form of control?
Jarrod Parker has been tremendous for the Athletics so far this year. He has thrown two straight shutouts and he nearly no-hit the Texas Rangers in his last start. A rookie who nearly no-hits the best lineup in baseball definitely deserves some major attention. Parker has only allowed 35 hits in nearly 49 innings of work this year. He is one of the more impressive young pitchers in all of baseball. Oakland’s pitching staff has an overall team ERA of 3.57, which is seventh best in the majors.
The Athletics offense has been downright terrible this year. Oakland is dead last in all of baseball with a .214 batting average. Josh Reddick and Yoenis Cespedes have been the two bright spots in an otherwise pathetic lineup. The Athletics regularly field a lineup with at least four or five hitters hitting .210 or lower.
Arizona walked off in style last night when Ryan Roberts hit a three-run bomb off Brian Fuentes. The Diamondbacks are looking to make a run in the National League West. The Dodgers have the best record in baseball, but it is far too early to count out anyone in this division. Arizona surprised the baseball world with their division win last year, but they have been unable to capture that magic this season. The offense as well as the pitching has been merely mediocre in 2012.
Justin Upton had a breakout season in 2011, but he is hitting just .243 this year. Ryan Roberts is hitting .233, but he has shown signs of life of late. Last night’s 3 for 5 night with the walk off homer may be just what Roberts needs to get going. Chris Young was hurt for an extended period earlier this year, and that definitely hurt the offense. Paul Goldschmitt started slowly, but he is hitting the ball very well right now.
MLB Free Pick: Oakland ML
Jarrod Parker has been unbelievable for Oakland this year, and the Diamondbacks are the team he came up with. Look for him to pitch well again here. I like the value on the underdog in this one.