MLB Regular Season: Oakland Athletics at Seattle Mariners Series Preview

A's Continue to Be Competitive, While Mariners Struggle for Relevance

Despite everything stacked against them — the pending relocation of the franchise, the minuscule home attendance, the lack of Major League experience, the shadow of a 50-win 2023 MLB season — the Oakland Athletics are just three games under .500 and have played more-than-competent baseball so far in 2024.

They did just drop three of four to the Texas Rangers but are not the pushover they were last year. They’ll try to bounce back this weekend as they visit the Seattle Mariners in a big AL West matchup.

Still, the Athletics vs Mariners odds have Seattle as a -155 moneyline favorite for Friday’s Game 1 and as +140 at -1.5 runs on the runline.

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The Athletics have lost four of their last five games yet they recently had a six-game winning streak and played the talented defending champion Rangers pretty well.

Oakland is middle-of-the-pack in terms of run production and is actually toward the bottom of the league in terms of getting on base but Mark Kotsay’s team is third in the Majors in home runs.

By being opportunistic — and hitting plenty of MLB player props along the way — the A’s have managed to more than hold their own.

Seattle hasn’t been much better as the Mariners lost three of the four games they played against the Twins this week and fell 11-1 in the series finale on Thursday.

The Mariners’ rotation — Seattle’s biggest strength — was beat up by Minnesota and will have the back half going against Oakland.

There’s an opening for the A’s to do some legitimate damage with how good their offense has been producing as of late.

Athletics logo Athletics vs Mariners Mariners logo

Location: T-Mobile Park; Seattle, Washington

A’s Dig The Long Ball

As noted above, the Athletics vs Mariners odds are giving the Mariners the edge in Friday’s opener and the series at large. However, the MLB odds aren’t as favored as you might think because Oakland has so much power.

And, while Brent Rooker and Shea Langeliers are each among the MLB leaders with nine dingers apiece, what separates the A’s from most other MLB teams in terms of home run prowess is the balance with which they hit big flies.

Nine different A’s have three or more home runs and that top-to-bottom power should continue against a staff that gives up its fair share of round-trippers.

Seattle’s pitchers are great at preventing hits overall — their rotation and bullpen are each No. 2 in baseball in hits allowed per nine — but the starters are toward the bottom-third in home runs allowed per nine.

So, Oakland can take advantage against Bryan Woo (making his season debut), Bryce Miller and Luis Castillo. For that reason, the baseball scores today may be higher than they usually are for Mariners games.

On the flip side, Oakland relies heavily on the home run ball so if the A’s cannot leave T-Mobile Park often this weekend, then it could be tough for them to score.

They do walk a lot — second-most free passes drawn in the AL — but they have the second-lowest batting average in the AL and are third in strikeouts.

It’s a very boom-or-bust lineup that does well when it get hit home runs with multiple runners on base yet gets into trouble when those balls don’t leave the yard.

Seattle’s Bats Have Been Sleepy

If the Mariners could just be a league-average offense, then Seattle would look like the clear favorite to win the AL West right now.

However, Seattle’s big bats — Julio Rodríguez, Ty France, Jorge Polanco and the Mitches (Haniger and Garver) — are all sporting OPSs in the low-to-mid .600s with Cal Raleigh and Josh Rojas as the only healthy regulars pulling their weight, so to speak.

At some point in time, guys like Rodríguez and Polanco will get going but for now, it has been a struggle for the Mariners to score runs.

The Athletics vs Mariners odds still like Seattle’s odds to outscore Oakland despite the fact that Seattle just has not been able to hit an offensive stride this year. Even with so many guys underperforming, the Mariners are two MLB games over .500 and are right in the mix in division contention.

It also should help Seattle that Oakland’s starters are in the bottom-five in most major pitching categories.

While the A’s’ ace Paul Blackburn will start on Friday, he’ll be followed by Alex Wood and Ross Stripling who have ERAs in the 5s. Blackburn does boast a 3.00 ERA right now yet he — like the rest of Oakland’s staff — doesn’t strike many batters out.

One of the main reasons why Seattle usually is posting low run totals on the MLB live scoreboard is because of strikeouts. The Mariners have struck out more than any other team in baseball by a fairly wide margin.

So, if Oakland’s pitchers won’t be able to take advantage of that glaring weakness, then Seattle could actually put up a decent offensive fight as a -155 moneyline favorite on Friday.

That’s also why the over on the pretty low 7.5-run total (at even-money) is an intriguing bet.

For MLB betting news, odds analysis, and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.

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