By: Ron Patrick
Texas took a two-games-to-one lead in this series with a 9-4 victory Wednesday night, grabbing the lead with a couple of runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, then tacking on four more in the sixth and cruising home from there.
The Rangers, to our dismay, won after going off as +105 underdogs on Wednesday's MLB betting odds, and the game played OVER its total of 9.5.
So, Texas will try to cut Oakland's lead in the AL West to one game, while the A's will try to salvage a split of this four-game series, when the teams meet Thursday afternoon (2 pm ET).
Thursday's Betting Odds
Most baseball betting shops we surfed Thursday morning opened Thursday's series finale, which matches the Rangers with Josh Lindblom against Oakland's AJ Griffin, at right around a pick 'em, with a total of 9.5. Most books then bumped Texas into about a -110 favorite.
Thursday's Pitching Match-Up
Lindblom (0-2, 5.94), a righty, will be making his fourth start this season for Texas, after doing time at Triple-A Round Rock earlier this year. So far for the Rangers, by our tough standards, he's 0-for-three on quality starts; last time out he gave up four runs in six innings vs. Toronto, and on the whole he's allowed 11 runs and 17 hits through 16 2/3 innings, walking three while striking out 12.
Texas has won one of his three starts.
Lindblom's first start this year for the Rangers came May 20 against Oakland, in which he got clipped for four runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings of a 9-2 Texas loss.
Lindblom earned a shot at a spot in the Texas rotation by going 6-0 with a 2.04 ERA this Spring down at Round Rock, giving up 38 hits in 57 innings, walking 15 while whiffing 43.
On the other side of this arms battle Griffin (5-6, 3.93) is 6/14 on quality starts this season, but only one for his last six. Last time out he gave up four runs in six innings vs. the Mariners, and over his last six outings he's allowed 19 ER through 37 2/3 innings.
The A's won seven of Griffin's first 10 starts this season, but they've lost his last four.
On the year Griffin has given up 83 hits, although 14 of those have been homers, through 89 innings, walked 22 and struck out 69.
Griffin has started once earlier this season against the Rangers, holding them to one run through seven innings, walking none while striking out eight in a 5-1 Oakland victory back on May 13.
Last year Griffin started twice against Texas, giving up four ER in 8 2/3 innings; the A's split those two games.
The OVER/UNDERS are a combined 6-11 in Lindblom and Griffin's starts this season.
Let's have a gander at the betting odds and Lines Report for Thursday to stay ahead of the class!
Our Take on Thursday's Game
We give Griffin the edge in the pitching match-up, and expect Oakland to manage a split of this series. So we'll go with the A's for our free MLB pick for Thursday.
By: Ron Patrick
Oakland got this series to even Tuesday, beating Yu Darvish and Texas 6-2, scoring twice in the second inning, once in the third and twice more in the fourth to back up a quality outing from starter Jarrod Parker.
The A's, to our delight, won as +160 underdogs on Tuesday's MLB betting board, and the game PUSHED its total of eight.
So Oakland's lead in the AL West is back to three games as the teams head into Game 3 of this series Wednesday night (8 pm ET).
Wednesday's Betting Odds
Most most baseball books we consulted Wednesday morning opened Texas with Justin Grimm at around -115 over Oakland and Tommy Milone, with an OVER/UNDER of 9.5. The MLB odds then dropped this game to about a pick 'em.
Wednesday's Pitching Match-Up
Grimm (5-5, 5.59) is just 4/12 on quality starts this season, and 0 for his last three. Most recently Grimm gave up seven runs in 7 2/3 innings against Toronto, and over his last three starts he's been bombed for 19 runs in 15 innings.
On the season Grimm has allowed 84 hits through 67 2/3 innings, walked 22 and struck out 55. Texas is 7-5 in Grimm's starts.
In his one career start vs. the A's, back on May 13, Grimm got nicked for five runs and seven hits, including a couple of dingers, in five innings of a 5-1 Rangers loss.
Lefty Milone (6-6, 3.61) is 8/14 on quality starts this season, and working on a run of three in a row. Last time out he held Seattle to two runs through 6 2/3 innings, and over his last three starts he's allowed five ER through 20 2/3 innings.
For the season Milone has given up 86 hits in 89 2/3 innings, although he's also been tagged for 14 homers. But his K/BB ratio is solid, at 73/19.
Oakland is 7-7 in Milone's starts this year.
This will be Milone's first start this year against Texas; last year, in three starts vs. the Rangers Milone gave up 12 runs, although only five were earned, and 21 hits through 18 innings; the A's lost two of those three games.
Our Take on Wednesday's Game
We've bet Oakland the first two games of this series, resulting in a profit of about a half-unit. As for today we give Milone the edge in the pitching match-up, and the A's are just going better at the moment than the Rangers. So we'll go with Oakland once again for our free MLB picks for Wednesday.
MLB Pick: Take the A's at the -103 offered at Matchbook.
Tuesday's Game Two
By: Ron Patrick
Texas took the opener of this series Friday night 8-7, getting a pair of home runs from Nelson Cruz, which helped erase a 6-3 deficit and break a six-game losing streak.
The Rangers won Monday as -115 favorites on the MLB odds, scoring as many runs in one night as they had in their previous six games. And Monday's game cruised OVER its total of 9.5.
So Texas now trails Oakland by two games in the AL West as the teams head into Game 2 of this four-game series Tuesday night (8 pm ET).
Tuesday's Betting Odds
Most baseball books we consulted Tuesday morning opened Texas and Yu Darvish at around -165 over Oakland and Jarrod Parker, with an OVER/UNDER of eight. Most most baseball books then bumped the Rangers to around -170.
Tuesday's Pitching Match-Up
Yu Darvish (7-2, 2.64), by our tough standards, is 9/14 on quality starts this season, and four for his last five. Most recently Darvish held Toronto to one run through seven innings, and over his last five starts he's given up eight ER in 34 2/3 innings.
On the season Darvish has allowed just 61 hits in 95 1/3 innings, walked 29 and whiffed a Major League-leading 127.
Texas won eight of Darvish's first nine starts this season, but has lost four of his last five. However, most of that recent slump can be attributed to poor run support; the Rangers have scored a total of 11 runs in Darvish's last five starts.
In his one start this season against Oakland Darvish gave up one run through six innings of a 1-0 Texas loss May 21.
Last year Darvish started three times versus the A's, allowing 10 ER through 20 innings; the Rangers lost two of those three games.
Parker (5-6, 4.45) is 7/14 on quality starts this season, and working on a string of six in a row. Last time out he held the Yankees to two runs through eight innings, and over his last six starts he's allowed 10 ER through 42 1/3 innings.
For the season Parker has given up 80 hits in 83 innings, although his K/BB ratio is rather mediocre, at 57/32.
Oakland won just two of Parker's first seven starts this season, but has won six of his last seven outings.
In his one start this season versus Texas Parker gave up three runs and six hits in seven innings of a 3-1 A's loss in Arlington back on May 22.
Last year Parker started three times against the Rangers, giving up six ER and 12 hits through 20 innings; Oakland won all three of those games.
Our Take on Tuesday's Game
This is a tough one; Darvish has been pitching in some bad luck recently, and while his numbers against the A's aren't great, he'll still be tough to deal with. Parker, meanwhile, has been solid lately, and good against Texas. The key for us on today's game is the betting line, which seems a bit high for this particular match-up. So in looking for value we'll go with Oakland for our free MLB picks for Tuesday.
Pick: Take the A's at the +161 offered at 5Dimes.
Monday's Series Opener
By: Ron Patrick
Can Oakland put a little more distance between itself and its nearest pursuer? Or can Texas regain its balance, and which way will we go with our free MLB picks for this series?
A's-Rangers Betting Lines
Many most baseball books we checked Monday morning opened Texas and Nick Tepesch at around -115 for Monday's game over Oakland and Dan Straily, with the total proffered at 9.5. Most MLB odds makers have then also dropped the Rangers to -110.
A's-Rangers Series Set-Up
Oakland just dropped two of three games at home to Seattle, avoiding the sweep with a 10-2 victory Sunday. So the A's, who sat at two games under .500 back in mid-May, have won 22 of their last 29 games.
Oakland pitching has led the way, going 16 straight games allowing four runs or fewer.
The Rangers, on the other hand, just got swept four games at home by Toronto over the weekend, falling Sunday 7-2, and have lost six games in a row, their longest losing streak in over three calendar years. After a surprisingly good start to this season Texas has lost 14 of its last 20 games.
And in losing their last six the Rangers have scored a total of eight runs.
So Oakland, at 42-29, leads the Amrican League West by three games over 38-31 Texas.
These teams have split six games so far this season, each winning a series on the other's home field. Also, four of those games played UNDER on the totals.
Monday's Pitching Match-Up
Tepesch (3-6, 4.30) is just 4/12 on quality starts this season, and 0 for his last two. Last time out he got bopped for five runs in five innings by the Indians, and just before that the Blue Jays got him for six runs in seven innings.
For the season Tepesch has allowed 69 hits in 67 innings, walked 17 and struck out 50. But while the Rangers won three of his first four starts this season, they've lost seven of his last eight outings.
This will be Tepesch's first-ever start against the A's.
Straily (4-2, 4.45) is 5/10 on quality starts this season, and four for his last five. Last time out he gave up two runs and three hits in 6 2/3 innings against the Yankees, and over his last five starts he's allowed just eight runs in 32 2/3 innings.
For the season Straily has given up 47 hits in 58 2/3 innings, walked 16 and struck out 47. Oakland has won eight of his 10 starts.
Straily has already started twice this season against Texas; in the first game he got nicked for four ER in 4 1/3 innings, but in the second start he threw seven innings of two-hit shutout ball. The A's split those two games.
A's-Rangers Betting Trends
Texas is 24-42 on the totals this season.
Also, the totals are a lop-sided 8-24 in games played at the Ballpark this season.
Our Take on Monday's Game
Oakland has been hot, Texas not so much; A's pitching has been great recently, while the Rangers are having trouble scoring runs; and while Straily has been solid as of late, Tepesch has gotten knocked around his last couple of times out. So we'll go with Oakland for our free MLB picks for Monday.Free MLB Pick: Take the A's at the +111