- The Oakland A’s are trying desperately to make up ground in the race for an AL Wild Card
- Kansas City is a long shot to get there, and the Royals could be eliminated by the weekend
- Read on for a preview, full odds and a best bet for this crucial Thursday matinee contest
The Oakland Athletics (78-67, 38-33 away) visit the Kansas City Royals (66-79, 35-36 home) for a matinee 2:10 p.m. ET game on Thursday, September 16th, to wrap up their three-game series, currently tied at one game apiece.
After a wild 12-10 loss on Wednesday night, Kansas City’s season is all but done, as the Royals couldn’t produce a dramatic comeback win for a second successive evening. However, for Oakland, there is still the tantalizing prospect of an AL wild-card berth, with the A’s currently 3.5 games back of the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox after snapping their three-game losing streak on Wednesday.
Athletics vs Royals Odds
|Oakland A’s||-125||-1.5 (+125)||Over 9.5 (-115)|
|Kansas City Royals||+105||+1.5 (-145)||Under 9.5 (-105)|
Odds as of September 15th at DraftKings
Needing another win to stay in the hunt for a wild card, Oakland will turn to right-hander Paul Blackburn and his 0-2 record and 5.24 ERA to deliver for the A’s on Thursday. It’s been a while since Blackburn picked up a win though, with the 27-year-old now 0-6 with an 8.62 ERA over his last 11 games, dating back to July, 2018.
— MLB (@MLB) August 30, 2021
However, he has fared fairly well against the Royals in his career, picking up one win and running a 4.50 ERA in two starts against Kansas City. He comes into this game off a short outing last time though, with Blackburn getting the hook after just 2.2 innings and four earned runs in an eventual 10-5 loss to Texas last Friday.
Blackburn vs Lynch Stats
Blackburn has also shown a noticeable tendency to melt down in day games, and with this game starting at 2:10 p.m. ET, bettors should definitely beware. Blackburn is 0-4 with an 8.07 ERA across seven starts and 29 innings of day game appearances.
Batting Average vs Starting Pitchers
|Royals Batters||Batting Average vs Paul Blackburn|
Kansas City is going with rookie left-hander Daniel Lynch here, hoping he can recapture some of his August form and leave behind the bad habits he’s picked up in September. Lynch went 3-0 with a 2.39 ERA last month, compared to his 0-1 record with 10.38 ERA in two starts this month.
Daniel Lynch on the initial struggle with pitch selection: "I think there was a couple mental lapses in the first inning where I threw some pitches I knew I shouldn't have thrown and I did it anyway."#Royals pic.twitter.com/VogGHfw6VM
— Bally Sports Kansas City (@BallySportsKC) September 11, 2021
However, Lynch hasn’t performed all that well at home in his short career, with a 2-2 record through six starts at Kaufmann Stadium. He’s also given up 21 earned runs in 27.2 innings, including four home runs.
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) September 16, 2021
On the plus side though, his record in day games – albeit a far smaller sample size – vastly outperforms that of Blackburn, with Lynch going 1-1 with a 2.35 ERA across three starts and 15.1 innings.
Season Series Up For Grabs
Following Oakland’s 12-10 win on Wednesday night, the season series between Oakland and KC is split evenly 3-3 with one more to play. But the series has very much swung in Oakland’s favor in recent years, with the Athletics winning 13 of the past 18 games between the two teams.
And the offense has very firmly been on Oakland’s side of late – even with Salvador Perez crushing 44 home runs for the Royals this season – with the A’s ahead 83-60 in their last 13 meetings.
Athletics vs Royals Prediction
Though Oakland finally broke out of its mini three-game slump on Wednesday, it was unable to slow Royals catcher Perez’s offensive arsenal, and with Paul Blackburn on the mound, Oakland’s chances don’t get any easier on Thursday. Look for the Royals to throw another wrench into Oakland’s postseason push here.
Best bet: Royals (+105)