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Athletics vs. Mariners Thursday probable pitchers, odds: Oakland has lost 11 straight series openers

It hasn't been wise to bet the Oakland A's in a series opener this season.
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The Oakland A's are not a good team. Even a causal baseball fan or bettor knows that. But here's a statistic I was unaware of entering Thursday's series opener in Seattle: Oakland rather amazingly has lost 11 straight series openers. The A's are +190 underdogs at Caesars Sportsbook tonight. (See tickets at StubHub)

The 11-game series-opening losing streak is the team's longest since April 11-May 20, 1994 when the A's lost the first game of 13 consecutive series, which is the longest streak in Oakland history (matched three times). That '94 team finished 51-63 – there were only 114 games due to the players' strike that wiped out the World Series. At 25-52, I'm not sure this year's A's will even get to 51 victories in the 162-game schedule. They are 4-20 in the first game of a series overall.

Oakland had a realistic chance to win two of three early this week at the MLB-best Yankees, but the A's blew a 5-1 lead in Game 1 and a 3-0 lead on Wednesday. The bullpen has been a gas can since closer Dany Jimenez landed on the injured list June 21 and he's not close to a return.

The A's will recall Adrian Martinez from Triple-A Las Vegas to start this game. Martinez pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings against Detroit on May 10 in his only career major-league appearance. He hasn't been good in Triple-A this year with a 5.63 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP in 64 innings with 23 walks and 13 homers allowed – although the Pacific Coast League is hitter-friendly.

Seattle, which is 4-2 vs. Oakland this year (1-2 at home), starts Logan Gilbert (8-3, 2.44 ERA). He has allowed more than three earned runs just once this season and has a 2.27 ERA at home. Gilbert hasn't faced Oakland in 2022 and is 0-0 with a 3.94 ERA in four previous starts (18.1 innings) against the A's.

The Mariners have the clear AL Rookie of the Year favorite in outfielder Julio Rodriguez at -160 -- he was my choice in the spring. Subtract his first 12 games in the big leagues when he was 6-for-44 with 22 strikeouts, and he's hitting .300/.357/.514 (.872 OPS) in the 64 games since. Rodriguez leads all rookies with 2.4 wins above replacement per FanGraphs.

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