The Texas Rangers swept through its weekend home set with the Boston Red Sox, outscoring their visitors by a combined margin of 16-4. Monday’s MLB matchup board has Ron Washington’s club heading north against the Chicago Cubs, who ended last week’s action with four straight losses.
The foes are meeting in a one-night makeup affair with a duel of right-handed starters slated, with Texas’ Scott Feldman (2-3, 3.34 ERA) facing Chicago’s Nick Tepesch (2-2, 3.54 ERA). Will the Rangers stay hot here against the struggling Cubs, or can the best value for our MLB picks be found by betting the other way in this spot?
Feldman goes nine at home
Feldman notched a second straight win in Wednesday’s 6-2 victory for Chicago as a 105 home dog against the San Diego Padres. The Hawaii native lasted a full nine frames (114 pitches), giving up a pair of solo-shot homers en route to tossing 12 strikeouts.
Cubs catcher Dioner Navarro drove in two runs, while mates David DeJesus and Starlin Castro united to hit 4-for-9. Chicago’s Nate Schierholtz poked his 10th double of the year, while third baseman Luis Valbuena left three men on base as part of a 0-for-4 night.
The contest’s combined eight runs ducked below the closing ‘total’ of 8 ½ by a ‘hook,’ moving the UNDER to 4-1 in Feldman’s five starts. Chicago edged out the Padres in hits, 9-3, while each club logged one error.
Tepesch, Rangers fall to Chi-Sox
Tepesch was shelled for five earned runs on the same night of action, with Texas losing as 117 home ‘chalk’ to the Chicago White Sox, 5-2. The rookie allowed two homers as part of eight hits, lasting 6 2/3 innings.
Rangers outfielder Jeff Baker cracked his third homer of the year, while mate Ian Kinsler hit 3-for-5 from the leadoff spot. Texas’ Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz were held to a combined 0-for-7, leaving six men on base.
The battle’s combined seven runs dipped beneath the ‘total’ of 8 ½, extending UNDER tickets to a 5-0 mark in Tepesch’s five starts. Rangers relievers Jason Frasor and Joe Ortiz held Chicago hitless in the final 2 1/3 frames.
Back the Cubs as home dogs
The MLB odds first opened Texas as a 120 road favorite, with early wagers on the Rangers lifting the premium to minus 125. The weather forecast in Chicago calls for a 55-degree night, with calm winds blowing inward.
For my free picks on this contest, I am backing Feldman at a plus price here, looking for the ninth-year hurler to end the Cubs’ slide in this spot.
Feldman has given up just four earned runs over 13 1/3 IP as part of his two home outings. The 30-year-old has held Rangers sluggers Adrian Beltre and A.J. Pierzynski to a combined 5-for-34 lifetime, while having added fuel here in facing former mates after eight seasons on the Rangers’ staff.
Chicago is 4-1 in its last five interleague matchups against right-handed starters, including last month’s 6-2 win over the Rangers with Texas’ Alexi Ogando on the hill. Tepesch has given up a homer in each of his two road starts, while surrendering four runs over 5 2/3 frames of action in Seattle.
Look for the Cubs to collect again here, adding to a 2-1 mark in their last three spots as home dogs.MLB Pick: Chicago Cubs +115