MLB Picks: A's Look For Solid Effort From Gray Against Rangers

Jay Pryce

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 1:00 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jun. 15, 2016 1:00 PM UTC

The Athletics' Gray returns to form versus the Rangers tonight in Oakland, the third of a four-game home stand against the AL's best. We have your free MLB pick with analysis. 

Texas Rangers (40-25) – Derek Holland (5-5, 4.87 ERA)
In the last calendar month, no MLB team is better than the Texas Rangers. Going 19-9, they have returned slightly more than 40 percent profit to bettors; only the San Francisco Giants have as many wins during the 30-day stretch. At 40-25, manager Jeff Banister’s men own the AL’s best record.

The AL West leaders have struggled against the Oakland Athletics this season, though, winning just one of five after taking last night’s matchup 10-6 thanks to a barrage of home runs. Pitching is the team’s undoing, gifting 7.8 runs on 11.2 hits per game to the division’s bottom feeders. Since Banister took control of the team, the Rangers are just 10-14 overall versus the A’s.

Southpaw Derek Holland is tasked with finding win number two on the year. Holland is 5-5 with a 3.24 ERA in 14 career starts against Oakland, every appearance occurring in 2013 or prior. A rash of injuries caused him to miss most of the last two seasons. Since returning in August 2015, inconsistency has plagued the left-hander. Texas is only 11-11 in his last 22 starts, he and the bullpen allowing five or more runs in half of the outings.

The Rangers’ 4.83 runs per game is sixth best in the bigs. They have scored 5.8 runs per contest over their last 19, crossing the plate five times or more in 13 of them.


Oakland Athletics (27-37) – Sonny Gray (3-6, 5.34 ERA)
After scoring just two runs in three games prior, Bob Melvin’s men have lit it up for 26 over their last three, winning two of them. They hope to carry their hot bats into tonight’s game, where they have won six of their last seven at Oakland Alameda Coliseum.

Team ace Sonny Gray has performed well below par this season, but will get a chance to put in another quality effort since coming off the disabled list on June 5 due to a strained shoulder. In two starts since, he is 0-1 with a 2.13 ERA.

Lifetime, Gray is 7-3 with a 1.92 ERA in 10 outings versus Texas. The left-hander has held big sluggers Adrian Beltre, Rougned Odor, and Robinson Chirinos to sub .200 batting averages, each with 20 at-bats or more. Despite struggling with the longball this season, Gray has only allowed two to the Rangers’ current roster in over 180 plate appearances, both coming off Mitch Moreland’s bat.

Oakland’s 4.05 runs per game ranks a lowly 23rd in MLB, but they tee off versus southpaws. In 15 games against, the lineup scores 5.9 runs on 10.3 hits per game, scoring five or more in seven of the last eight.

The OVER offered on the MLB Odds board is 16-5-1 in the last 22 meetings between the two clubs. 


Final Analysis
Despite falling 2-1 to the Reds last time out, Gray put in his first quality effort since stringing together four in a row in April to start the year. Can we expect another tonight? Tough to tell. Maybe his two-week respite cured his early-season woes, but it would be advantageous to see another outing or two before making a judgment.

Still, Texas has one of the worst bullpens in the bigs (5.12 ERA), and to win on the road, it has to score in bunches. When crossing the plate five times or less in a contest outside of Arlington, the Rangers are only 6-15 this season. We will take a shot on Gray showing up tonight.

Opening at -140 to win, the juice is a little too much for us to lay, so we’ll wageron the run line with Oakland slapping left-handed starters around of late. Oakland -1.5 (+155) is the free MLB Pick.

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Free MLB Pick:  Oakland -1.5 +155
Best Line Offered: at YouWager
Record YTD: 76-50-1 (-106 avg. odds); MLB: 16-8 (-101 avg. odds)

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