The Texas Rangers have won 6 out of their last 7 games and are 1 game behind the Detroit Tigers for the 2nd best record in the American League. Tonight they will look for another win as they meet the Oakland A's in Oakland, California.
The Texas Rangers
(88-65) look to keep dominating the American League West Division as they face
the Oakland Athletics (69-84) who are playing out the string.
MLB odds boards opened with the Rangers as a favorite at -135 and the total is 8.
Although chances seem remote, the Los Angeles Angels are 5 games behind the
Rangers with 9 games to go and the Rangers play the Angels in the final series
of the season at Anaheim. Texas needs to keep winning because a Los Angeles
sweep could mean a 3 game difference in their current 5 game lead. The Rangers
need to defeat a weaker team like the Athletics.
Texas has the advantage in the pitching matchup as they send left hander Derek
Holland to the mound. Holland has had a successful season at 14-5 with a 4.02
ERA. In his last outing against the Athletics, he pitched a 4 hitter in a
complete game shutout victory. In Holland's last 4 starts, he's pitched 27 1/3
innings while allowing 5 earned runs and going 2-0.
The Athletics send Rich Harden to the mound. Harden hasn't won a game in his
last 4 starts. He's a career 5-3 against Texas with a 4.78 ERA. He pitched
poorly in his last outing against Texas, giving up 4 runs on 5 hits in 4
Harden has had an above average career, but at this point, he's
considered average at best. He'll have a tough time against a Rangers team that
has more motivation to win this game.
Third baseman Adrian Beltre has been on fire as of late. He also had huge
success against the Athletics in their last series (3 games) that started on
September 9th. In that series, Beltre was 9 for 15 with 4 runs, 2 doubles, 3 HR
and 7 RBI, Beltre's bat has had a lot of pop to it lately. He's hit a home run
in 6 out of his last 8 games. In his last 10 games, he's 17 for 42 with 9 runs,
7 HR and 13 RBI. He's playing as well a s a player can play. Although he's only
a career 2 for 16 off of starter Rich Harden, look for Beltre to be a factor in
The Texas Rangers have their own "Elvis" that has performed in front over
1 million people this year and his name is Elvis Andrus. Andrus has been very
consistent as of late. He's currently riding a 12 game hitting streak. Since
August 26th, Andrus is 30 for 83 with 21 runs, 2 HR and 13 RBI. Andrus's
production level has increased at a pivotal time for the defending American
League Champion Texas Rangers.
Ian Kinsler is 5 for 8 off of Rich Harden, Josh Hamilton is 4 for 8 , and Elvis
Andrus is 2 for 5. Harden will have a tough time facing a tough offensive lineup
such as the Texas Rangers.
"Willing and able"
Left fielder Josh Willingham has been the major source of strength from the
Athletics all season long. This isn't a team that will overwhelm their
opponents offensively but Josh Willingham has been a threat to the
opponent every time that he step's up to the plate.
Willingham dwarfs the rest of the team with 27 HR, 92 RBI, and .254 BA. During
this homestand, Willingham has hit .391 with 3 HR and 8 RBI. Against the
Rangers for the season, Willingham is hitting .306 with 5 HR and 12 RBI. This
is definitely a player that can change the outcome of agame with one swing of
the bat and expect Derek Holland to pitch to Josh Willingham carefully.
With players like Jemile Weeks (4 for 23), Hideki Matsui (0 for 15), and Kurt
Suzuki (1 for 12) marred in slumps, Coco Crisp has been a consistent source of
hitting for the A's all season.
Crisp has a modest 4 game hitting streak in where he's 7 for 18 with 2 doubles
and 3 RBI. Crisp is a solid veteran in the lineup that can get the timely hit
and steal bases (42) when called upon. The Athletics need to be able to count
on Josh Willingham and Coco Crisp against a team with momentum and much to look
forward to like the Texas Rangers.
Outcome of the game
The Rangers still have incentive to play well. They want 2nd place in the
American league and they can't let up because they finish off the season with 3
games against the Angels. Texas has won 6 out of it's last 7 with Adrian Beltre
being a major force. They have the edge in pitching. For this MLB free pick I think that this is good spot to
My Pick: Texas -135