The AL West rivals have slit the firts two games of their three game series, but who should us bettors back tonight? Find out where we are placing our MLB picks in this series finale.
Wednesday's Game Three
By: Willie Bee
Thanks in part to Bartolo Colon's shoddy glove work, the Texas Rangers moved back into the AL West lead over the Oakland Athletics. Now we get to see if they can maintain that advantage when the clubs close out their 3-game set with a matinee at the old Coliseum.
The noon-thirty local start finds Yu Darvish on the hill for the Rangers opposite Jarrod Parker of the A's. Texas opened around -120 on the baseball betting board before the moneyline crept up as much as 10¢ at some outlets overnight. A 7 run total is juiced to the UNDER at many shops monitored by SBR's live MLB odds.
Colon's error in the fifth on Tuesday opened the gates for three unearned runs in Texas' 5-1 triumph. Homers by Mitch Moreland and Alex Rios bookended the scoring for the Rangers who won for the seventh straight time with Martín Perez on the mound.
Check out our Wednesday Morning MLB Odds & Betting Lines Report.
Rangers In 3-Game Slump With Darvish
You always hear about the post-no hitter slump for pitcher, but the Rangers have taken it a step further as a team with Darvish since his near no-no a little less than a month ago in Houston. Texas is 0-3 in his subsequent three assignments despite a respectable 3.42 ERA, all of the setbacks of the 1-run variety, the last two by 3-2 counts.
This recent stretch is on par with what has happened all year with Darvish on the bump, Texas is 14-12 overall behind the stud despite his 5th-best ERA (2.73) and well on the way to an MLB strikeout crown with 236 in less than 175 innings.
While Texas is on a 3-game losing skid behind Darvish, Oakland stands 3-0 in Parker's most recent outings. That includes a solid effort in a 2-1 game at Baltimore and his no-decision in last Friday's 4-3 decision vs. Tampa Bay. Parker has enjoyed nine quality starts since the end of June, a stretch of 10 assignments, though four of the good ones ended in Oakland defeats and the lone bomb went into the win column for the A's.
Behind The Plate, Mother Nature & A Pick
Ron Kulpa (10-17 O/U) will call the pitches on a strong UNDER run with six of his last seven plate assignments failing to reach the total, including the last four. The St. Louis native worked Darvish's Aug 12 start in Houston where he lost a perfect game in the sixth on a questionable Ball 3 call by Kulpa, who ultimately ejected catcher AJ Pierzynski, and the no-hitter eventually went bye-bye in the eighth.
Clear skies and temps in the low-to-mid 70s are in the forecast this afternoon, along with a 10-14 mph WNW wind (3B to RF corner). A low-scoring game is how I'll play the finale; UNDER in Oakland for my sports pick.
My pick: Rangers-Athletics Under 7 (-110) at Bet365
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Tuesday's Game Two
By: Willie Bee
A few hours later, the Rangers' sole possession of the AL West lead was gone following a 4-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics in the opener of a 3-game set on the left coast. One team or the other will take over the lead by themselves tonight when the clubs continue the series with an initial mound matchup between Martín Perez and Bartolo Colon.
The game wasn't sent out with the rest of the overnight MLB odds for some strange reason, opening this morning with Colon and the A's -135 and 7.5 runs for the total.
Perez Off Perfect 5-0 August; A's Winless In Colon's Last 4
The Athletics are getting their first look at Perez this season and looking to improve on a 25-18 mark against southpaws. That means snapping a pretty impressive streak for Perez who won each of his five starts in August, the Rangers cashing six straight times the little Venezuelan has been on the bump. Perez's first MLB victory came against the A's last year, but Oakland got to him twice after that, belting him for nine runs in less than five innings combined of back-to-back assignments.
Colon missed half of August with a groin strain, making his first start off the DL last week in Detroit and limited to 73 pitches to get through five innings. The beefy Dominican held the Tigers to just a run and left with a 6-1 lead, but his bullpen coughed that up as Detroit walked off with a 7-6 victory thanks to a Torii Hunter 3-run blast in the ninth. It was the fourth straight loss for the A's with Colon on the hill.
Oakland split Colon's two starts vs. the Rangers back in May, losing a 10-inning 6-5 decision at home and running away with a 9-2 triumph in Texas.
Behind The Plate, Mother Nature & A Pick
Chris Guccione (15-11-2 O/U/P) was an ‘Over’-bettor's friend before reeling off four straight ‘Under’ winners his last four plate assignments. The latest forecast for Oakland calls for clear skies this evening with temps in the mid-to-upper 60s during the contest. A 10-12 WNW wind (3B to RF corner) is also in the offing.
Texas bats are in a funk right now while Oakland has been rejuvenated the last week or so. I'll ride the home chalk with my free sports pick in Game 2.
Labor Day Game
By: Willie Bee
We all know what happened when the Texas Rangers made their final regular season trip into Oakland to face the Athletics a year ago. The A's will be looking to recreate that magic to regain the lead in the AL West this week when the Rangers make their final scheduled trek into Oakland for a critical showdown starting Monday.
Current division standings find the squads a game apart with the Rangers on top. Texas, coming off a short 1-series homestand vs. the Twins who took two of three, now begins a 6-game roadie with the next stop in Anaheim, and the Rangers are catching the A's on the upswing following a sweep of the Rays and winning three of four in Detroit to begin last week.
Part of a full baseball betting slate for Labor Day, the set cranks up with a matinee (4 PM ET) that pits Derek Holland on the hill for the Rangers opposite A's rookie Dan Straily. Texas went out as $1.15 chalk on the overnight moneyline, but SBR's live MLB odds show the contest has settled into a pick 'em after early wagering. An 8 run total favors the UNDER.
Texas leads the season series eight games to five, taking four of the six played at the venerable old Coliseum in Oakland. The UNDER has also cashed four times out of six on this diamond, leaving low-side bettors a very happy 9-4 in the last 13 played on Oakland's turf.
Holland Eyes Repeat Of Last Start In Oakland
The results might not be there on Holland's personal ledger where he's 9-6 on the season with an even 3.00 ERA, but his success has certainly been felt by both the Rangers and the folks getting down on the lefty with wagers. Texas is 18-9 in his assignments, including 5-1 most recently with Holland 1-0 in the span, and bettors are 5.6 units in the black overall following the Rangers when he starts.
That lone win for Holland in the past six outings came in Oakland on Aug 4, a 4-0 blanking of the A's in which he worked the first eight innings. Holland struggled in his only other start of 2013 vs. the A's, also in Oakland back in mid-May, but Texas overcame his problems (5.2 IP, 4 ER) by rallying for a 6-5 extra-inning win.
Control has been an issue for the 26-year-old since the middle of July; Holland has issued 24 free passes in his last nine starts (61.1 IP) after walking 32 in the first 18 games (118.2 IP).
Straily Seeks First Home Win Since July 4
A 24th-round pick in 2009 out of Marshall University, Straily has for the most part performed pretty well in his first full big league campaign. The Athletics are 12-10 in the righty's assignments, good enough for a 2.2 unit return for baseball bettors, most of those starts coming on the road where Oakland is 7-6 and Straily owns a 4.44 ERA.
He bounced back from a poor outing in Baltimore with a fine showing at Detroit last Wednesday (6 IP, 1 ER), and shoots for his first win in front of the home fans since beating the Cubs July 4. His three home starts since have seen him combine for 14.2 innings while allowing 10 earnies, and the A's are 1-2 in his three tries vs. Texas while Straily pitched to a 5.63 ERA.
All signs point to weather not being a factor in the series, with temps never rising above the upp-70s and rain not in the forecast the few days. There will be a 10-14 mph WNW wind this afternoon, however (3B out to RF foul pole).
Be Sure to do your MLB research by checking out our picks the Detroit Tigers vs. Boston Red Sox~
Neither offense was raking in their most recent series, the A's scoring 11 runs over the weekend vs. the Rays while the Rangers managed just six against Minnesota. Along with the UNDER trend they have going in games on this field, that has me leaning to the low side today. But more than that, I like how the Athletics have come on the past week opposite two pretty good teams in the Tigers and Rays. Oakland straight up is my free baseball picks for the series opener.
My pick: Athletics -105 at Bet365