MLB Picks: Athletics vs. Rangers Series Coverage

Darin Zank

Monday, April 28, 2014 2:18 PM GMT

Oakland has taken the first two games of this AL West rivalry series, after bombing Texas 9-3 Tuesday night. So the A's will shoot for the sweep, while the Rangers will try to avoid it, when the teams meet for Game 3 Wednesday night (8:05 pm ET).

 

30th April
Athletics vs. Rangers Game 3

By: Ron Patrick

 

Wednesday's Line
As of early Wednesday AM most books were listing this game, which matches Texas' Robbie Ross, Jr. against Oakland's Jesse Chavez, at right around a pick 'em, with a total of eight runs.

[gameodds]3/263109/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

Wednesday's Pitching Match-Up
Ross (1-1, 2.45), a lefty, is two-for-five on quality starts this season. Through his first three starts, against the Phillies, Red Sox and Mariners, Ross gave up a total of two ER through 18 innings. He then got touched up by the White Sox for seven runs (four earned) in 5 1/3 innings. But last time out Ross held Seattle to two runs through six innings. 

So on the season Ross, who's starting this year after 123 relief appearances the previous two seasons, has allowed eight ER and 35 base-runners in 29 1/3 innings. Texas is 2-3 in Ross' starts, and three of those starts stayed UNDER the totals.

This will be Ross' first-ever start against Oakland, although he has made 16 appearances in relief against the A's, compiling a 4.30 ERA.

Chavez (1-0, 2.32), a righty, is four-for-five on quality starts this year. He was four-for-four, but last time out he gave up four ER and eight hits in five innings against Houston, although Oakland won that game 12-5. Before that, Chavez had allowed just four ER through his first four starts, covering 26 innings.

For the season Chavez, who served as a reliever for four different teams before joining the A's rotation this season, has permitted 34 base-runners through 31 innings. Oakland has won all five of his starts, and three of those games stayed UNDER the totals.

This will be Chavez's first-ever start against Texas, although he has made nine relief appearances against the Rangers, compiling a 7.16 ERA.

Take a Look at the MLB World Series Betting Futures!

Free Pick for Wednesday
This is a tough one; the pitching match-up looks to be about a wash, as does the comparison of the lineups. But we give the A's the edge in the bullpens, and they're playing with house money today, having taken the first two games of this series. So we'll go with Oakland, at the -107 offered at The Greek, for our free pick on Wednesday's game.

 

29th April
Athletics vs. Rangers Game 2

By: Ron Patrick

 

Tuesday's Line
In the early betting the best price we could find on Texas and Martin Perez was the -110 offered at 5Dimes, while Oakland and Scott Kazmir could be gotten at +105, also at 5Dimes.

The total for Tuesday's game sat at 8.5 runs.

[gameodds]3/262988/?r3=43-19-349/dec&r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

Tuesday's Pitching Match-Up
Perez (4-0, 1.42) has been fantastic lately. He's three-for-five on quality starts this season, and three for his last three, throwing consecutive shut-outs. He'll begin Tuesday's game with a 26-inning scoreless streak.

Two weeks ago Perez threw eight scoreless innings against Houston; then he threw a three-hit shut-out against one of the hottest lineups in baseball so far, the White Sox; and last time out he tossed a three-hit shut-out at Oakland last Wednesday.

For the season Perez has allowed six runs and 26 hits in 38 innings, walked nine and struck out 23.

Texas is 5-0 in Perez' starts, with the totals going 2-3.

Combining last Wednesday's outing with two starts last year against the A's Perez has held them to four runs and 18 hits in 22 1/3 innings; the Rangers won two of those three games, and all three stayed UNDER the totals.

Kazmir (3-0, 1.62), by our strict standards, is four-for-five on quality starts this season, including three for his last three. Last time out he held Houston to one run through six innings, and over his last three outings he's allowed just three ER in 20 innings. For the season Kazmir has given up six ER and 22 hits in 33 1/3 innings, with six walks and 31 whiffs.

Oakland is 5-0 in Kazmir's starts, with the totals going 2-3.

Last year, pitching for Cleveland, Kazmir started once against Texas, allowing four runs and eight hits in six innings of a 6-3 Indians loss.


Free Pick for Tuesday
Both starting pitchers have been tough as of late, but we'll give Perez the edge. And the Oakland lineup has struggled against left-handers this year, with just a .305 OBP. So we'll take Texas for our free pick on Tuesday's game.

 

28th April
Athletics vs. Rangers Game 1

By: Ron Patrick

 

The Betting Lines
In the early betting Texas and Yu Darvish were favored by around -150 for Monday's game over Oakland and Sonny Gray, with a total of 7.5 runs.

Also, The Greek was listing the Rangers at -140 to win this series, with the A's getting +120.

[gameodds]3/262939/?r3=43-19-349/dec&r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

The Situation
Oakland just split four games in Houston over the weekend, losing Sunday's series finale 5-1. The A's have lost five of their last seven games.

Texas, meanwhile, just dropped two of three games in Seattle over the weekend, losing Sunday's series rubber match 6-5. The Rangers led that game 5-0, but lost it on a Kyle Seager three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth.

Prior to that Texas had won four series in a row.

So the A's and Rangers, both 15-10, are tied for first place in the AL West, 3.5 games ahead of the third-place Angels.

These teams just met last week out by the Bay, Texas sweeping three games from the A's by scores of 4-3, 5-4 and 3-0. 

 

Monday's Pitching Match-Up
Darvish (1-0, 1.61), by our tough standards, is three-for-four on quality starts this year. Most recently he gave up three runs in six innings against these A's last Monday, and for the season he's allowed just five ER through 28 innings. Darvish has given up just 23 hits, walked eight and struck out 29.

Texas is 4-0 in Darvish's starts this year, and three of those games have played UNDER the totals.

Darvish started four times against Oakland last year, giving up 11 ER and 20 hits in 24 innings; the Rangers lost all four of those games.

Gray (3-1, 2.25) is four-for-five on quality starts this year. Last time out he gave up three runs and five hits in seven innings against these Rangers last Wednesday, and on the season he's allowed just eight ER through 32 innings. Gray has walked 13, including four last Wednesday, but he's also struck out 31.

Oakland is 3-2 in Gray's starts this year, with three of those games staying UNDER on the totals.

This will be Gray's second career start against Texas.

In the comparison of the bullpens Oakland ranks sixth in the Majors with a 2.76 ERA but has blown six of 11 save chances, while Texas ranks 27th with a 4.93 ERA and is seven-for-11 on save conversions.

 

With the Sticks
Oakland, with help from a couple of double-digit outbursts against the Astros last week, ranks fifth in scoring at 4.9 runs per game. The A's also rank fourth with a .345 team OBP, and that OBP jumps to .359 against right-handed pitching.

Texas ranks 10th at 4.4 RPG, just 28th in homers with 14 but fourth in stolen bases with 24. The Rangers also rank second in team OBP at .346, but that figure dips to .338 vs. RH pitching.


A's-Rangers Betting Trends
The totals have leaned toward the UNDERS this season by a 7-5-1 margin in Rangers home games.

The totals also leaned toward the UNDERS in this season series last year by an 11-7-1 margin, 5-4-1 in games played in Arlington.

 

A's-Rangers Injury Update
Oakland OF Yoenis Cedpedes missed the series in Houston with a sore hamstring, and he's questionable to play Monday night.

On the other side of the lineup card Texas OF Shin-Soo Choo (.432 OBP) has missed the last five games with a bad ankle, and he's also questionable for Monday.

 

Free Pick for Monday
For whatever reasons the A's have given Darvish more trouble than any other opponent. Even though they lost his start against them last week 4-3 they made him throw 116 pitches to get 18 outs. And if Oakland can get to the Texas bullpen they stand a decent chance of winning this game. So we'll go with the A's, getting +135 at 5Dimes, for our free pick on Monday's game.