Oakland Athletics (Hill) + over Seattle Mariners (Walker)
An Oakland team that has competed reasonably well this season wiped away last week’s four-game winning streak by being on the wrong end of a four-game sweep vs. the Yankees at home over the weekend. With just nine runs in the four games the offense failed and Taijuan Walker is certainly a tough matchup Monday night. Walker has shown severe regression in May however after a brilliant month of April. In four April starts he struck out 25 while allowing four earned runs, so far in May through four starts he has struck out 16 while allowing 14 runs, including at least three runs allowed in each start. Walker made his 2016 debut vs. Oakland in a decent outing with seven hits and two runs allowed over six innings but the Mariners have oddly been a much worse performing team at home. Safeco is a pitcher’s park and Seattle is batting just .216 at home this season and the Mariners have a much worse season record vs. left-handed pitching. Rich Hill has been a terrific comeback story as a former top prospect for the Cubs who broke into the big leagues in 2005. He pitched minimally from 2008-2011 before regaining a job in various bullpens, bouncing around several organizations. He has blossomed this season for Oakland with a 2.54 ERA posting 10.7 K/9 and already picking up six wins. His command can be a little spotty at times but a fierce curveball is still his trademark and he gave Seattle fits early in the season with 10 strikeouts in six innings. Oakland actually has three more road wins than Seattle has home wins this season as escaping the Coliseum and heading to a park that should suit Hill well should be favorable for the underdog Athletics tonight.
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