A’s vs. Dodgers – 2020 MLB Expert Analysis

The marquee matchup around the majors on Tuesday is a potential World Series preview as the AL West-leading Oakland A’s visit the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers. Both already have clinched playoff spots and are going to win their divisions.

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Why Bet on Oakland? | 2020 MLB Expert Analysis

The A’s will claim their first AL West title since 2013. It’s their third division crown in the last nine years, their seventh in the last 21 and their 17th overall. Only the Yankees (19), Braves (19) and Dodgers (18) have more division championships.

The A’s have committed just three errors in their last 17 games and have 22 for the season, which is fourth fewest in the majors. They have a .988 fielding percentage after setting an Athletics record with a mark of .987 last year.

Oakland’s Chad Pinder took some light swings and resume other baseball activities Sunday. It’s still very much up in the air as to whether Pinder can make it back before the end of the regular season. He’s missed the last week of action with a right hamstring strain.

The A’s not long ago lost All-Star third baseman Matt Chapman to a season-ending injury. The team signed former Diamondbacks All-Star Jake Lamb off the scrap heap and he has been great. He had two more RBIs in Sunday’s loss and now has at least one RBI in four straight games and a .364/.414/.727 slash in six appearances with Oakland.

The A’s have been successful in 23-of-26 (88.5%) stolen base attempts, which is currently the best percentage in Major League history ahead of the 2007 Phillies (138-of-157, 87.9%).

It’s young right-hander Frankie Montas (3-4) on the mound. He hasn’t pitched since Sept. 13 because he was on the paternity list. Montas allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings in a loss to the Rangers in his most recent outing. Montas was better than his line suggests. He struck out seven against one walk, and if not for a three-run homer allowed in the sixth inning to Rougned Odor, the start would have looked a lot better. Montas hasn’t pitched longer than 5 1/3 innings in his last five starts and has a 10.80 ERA in that time.

This will be Montas’ first-ever start vs. the Dodgers.

Why Bet on LA Dodgers? |2020 MLB Expert Analysis

The Dodgers had a five-game winning streak snapped Sunday in a 6-3 loss at Colorado but that only delayed the inevitable clinching of yet another NL West title. Superstar outfielder Mookie Betts got the game off but simply for rest. He might win the NL MVP Award.

In the month of September, he has hit safely in 15 of 16 games, batting .314 (22-for-70) with five homers and 15 RBI. In addition, he has reached base safely in 19 consecutive games dating back to Aug. 28. Betts currently leads the team in hits (61) homers (16), RBI (39), runs (42), OPS (.973) and stolen bases (9). His 16 homers are tied for third in baseball. In 37 games batting leadoff this year, Betts is slashing .318/.398/.617 with 13 homers, 32 RBI, 36 runs scored and a 1.015 OPS. The Dodgers are 29-8 (.784) when Betts hits first.

The Dodgers are the only team in baseball boasting five players who have hit 10 or more home runs (Betts, Corey Seager, AJ Pollock, Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy).

It’s good-looking young rookie Dustin May (1-1) on the mound. May was charged with three runs — one earned — over 5 1/3 frames as the Dodgers beat the Padres 7-5 last Wednesday. May had made nine traditional starts this season before this one, but the Dodgers used Brusdar Graterol and then Adam Kolarek on Wednesday before turning to May for the bottom of the third. May served up a couple home runs and allowed more than two runs for the first time all season, although just one of them was earned. He also fanned six batters, which is his second-highest total of the season.

May has a 2.81 ERA (13 ER/41.2 IP) and 28 strikeouts in nine starts. He has three quality starts this season and a 1.13 WHIP. He last started against the D-Backs on Sept. 10, pitching 1.0 inning before leaving the game after taking a comebacker off his left foot

Expert PredictionDodgers 4, A’s 2

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