MLB Picks: Rangers vs. Athletics Series Coverage

Darin Zank

Monday, April 21, 2014 2:53 PM UTC

Monday, Apr. 21, 2014 2:53 PM UTC

Texas came into this series trailing the A's by 2.5 games in the AL West, but can take over first-place with a victory in this series finale Wednesday afternoon (3:35 pm ET).


23rd April
Rangers vs. A's Game 3

By: Ron Patrick


Texas rallied for two runs in the top of the ninth to steal a 5-4 victory Tuesday night, cashing in as +150 dogs on the MLB betting line. Tuesday's game also played OVER its total of 7.5 when the Rangers rallied from down 4-3 in the ninth.

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Wednesday's Betting Lines
In the early betting Oakland and Sonny Gray were favored by around -155 over Texas and Martin Perez, with a total of 7.5 runs.

Wednesday's Pitching Match-Up
Gray (3-0, 1.80), by our tough standards, is three-for-four on quality starts this year. Last time out he gave up three runs and nine hits in six innings against the Astros, and on the season he's permitted five ER and 25 hits through 25 innings, with nine walks and 23 strikeouts.

Oakland has won three of Gray's four starts this season.

This will be Gray's first-ever start against Texas.

Perez (3-0, 1.86) is two-for-four on quality starts this season, but comes into Wednesday having thrown 17 straight scoreless innings. In his first two outings of the year he gave up six runs and 15 hits in 12 innings against the Phillies and Boston. But over his last two starts, against Houston and the White Sox, he's allowed just eight hits and zero runs in 17 innings.

Texas has won all four of Perez' starts this season.

Last year Perez started twice against Oakland, allowing four runs and 15 hits in 13 1/3 innings; the Rangers split those two games.

Personnel Update
Texas was already banged up, playing without, among others, Adrian Beltre. Then lead-off hitter Shin-Soo Choo sprained an ankle Monday, and missed Tuesday's game. Then Kevin Kouzmanoff, who's been doing a nice job in place of Beltre, left Wednesday's game with a sore back. The Rangers have been winning while playing through this case of the injury bug, but one has to wonder if they can keep that up.


 Wednesday's Free Pick
We'll call the pitching match-up a wash, but Gray may hold a bit of an advantage in that the Rangers lineup, for the most part, will be unfamiliar with him. And Texas may be without as many as three starters. So while the line on today's game is a bit more than we'd like, we'll go with Oakland at -154 at Pinnacle for our free pick for Wednesday.


22nd April
Rangers vs. A's Game 2

By: Ron Patrick


Oakland scored three runs off Texas starter Yu Darvish in the second inning Monday night, but got nothing from there, including zip in three innings against the Rangers bullpen. 

So the A's will try to even this series when the teams meet for Game 2 Tuesday night (10 pm ET).

Tuesday's Lines
In the early betting Oakland and Tom Milone were favored by around -155 over Texas and rookie Nick Martinez, with a total of eight runs. The A's could also be gotten at around +145 on the run line.


Tuesday's Pitching Match-Up
Lefty Milone (0-1, 4.09) is one-for-two on quality starts this season. First, he gave up three ER in five innings against Seattle; then he gave up two ER in six innings against the Angels. Oakland lost both his starts, by a total of three runs, but as it happens the A's gave up three unearned runs in those two games. 

Milone started three times against Texas last year, allowing 13 ER and 23 hits in 14 innings; Oakland lost two of those games, and two of those games played OVER.

Martinez, a righty, made his ML debut back on April 5 against Tampa, allowing three runs and four hits, including a couple of homers, through six innings of a 5-4 Texas loss. He was then sent back to the Minors, where he gave up two runs in two starts for Double-A Frisco. Now he's back with the big club, because the Rangers have three starting pitchers on the DL.

Martinez was taken by Texas in the 18th round of the 2011 draft. He went 23-16 with a 3.26 ERA in the Minors, allowing fewer hits, 304, than innings pitched, 337, with 302 strikeouts against 107 walks. He's never pitched Triple-A ball, but he held foes to just 19 hits in 42 innings in two stints at Frisco.

Injury Update
Shin-Soo Choo, who's been leading off the Texas lineup to the tune of a .432 OBP, turned an ankle Monday night and had to leave the game. His status for Tuesday is uncertain.

On the other side of the lineup card Oakland OF Yoenis Cespedes is dealing with a sore foot, didn't start Monday's game, and is uncertain for Tuesday.

Bettors might want to check the lineups before playing this game.

Free Pick for Tuesday
We're always leery when it comes to young starting pitchers, because you never know how kids are going to perform their first few times out on the big stage. But Martinez has done a good job at the lower levels; he may hold an advantage over Oakland hitters for the first couple of times through the order, and oddsmakers might feel forced to underestimate a youngster when creating the line.

So if we're looking for value on tonight's game, we gotta go with the Rangers, getting +149 at 5Dimes, for our free MLB pick on Tuesday's game.


21st April
Rangers vs. A's Game 1

By: Ron Patrick


The top two teams in the AL West clash this week when the Oakland A's and Texas Rangers play a three-game series out at the Coliseum, starting Monday night (10 pm ET). Oakland owns the best record in the American League, and has been very nice to its financial backers this season, ranking second on the MLB money chart.

The Betting Lines
In early wagering most shops were listing Texas and Yu Darvish as road favorites of around -125 for Monday's game over Oakland and Dan Straily, with an OVER/UNDER of 6.5 runs. The Rangers could also be gotten at around +120 on the run line. 

But The Greek was chalking Oakland at -135 to win this series, with Texas getting +115.

The Situation
Texas just had a five-game winning streak snapped by a 16-2 loss to the White Sox Sunday. Meanwhile, Oakland just swept three games at home from Houston, winning each time out as a favorite of at least -200. 

So the A's, at 13-5, lead the AL West by 2.5 games over the 11-8 Rangers.

Monday's Pitching Match-Up
Straily (1-1, 5.40), by our tough standards, is one-for-three on quality starts this season. First, he allowed three runs in six innings against the Mariners; then he held Minnesota to one run through seven innings; but last time out, last Tuesday against the Angels, he got clipped for six runs and seven hits in less than four innings, although Oakland eventually won that game 10-9 in 11 innings.

On the season Straily has allowed 10 ER and 16 hits in 16 2/3 innings, with four walks and 15 strikeouts. The A's won two of his three starts.

Last year Straily started five times against Texas, allowing 14 runs and 31 base-runners (hits + walks) in 26 innings. Oakland went 3-2 in those five games.

Darvish (1-0, 0.82) has been great so far this season. After missing his first turn in the rotation he opened by throwing seven innings of shut-out ball against Tampa; then he threw eight scoreless innings against Houston; and last time out he gave up two runs in seven innings against Seattle. So he's three-for-three on quality starts, and has allowed just those two runs and 15 hits through 22 innings, walking four while striking out 23.

Texas has won all three of Darvish's starts, and all three stayed UNDER on the totals.

But few teams have given Darvish as much trouble since he joined the Majors as the A's. Last year, in four starts against Oakland, Darvish allowed 11 ER and 20 hits in 24 innings. The Rangers lost all four of those games.

If this game comes down to the bullpens the A's own a distinct advantage. Oakland's pen ranks fifth with a 2.40 ERA and has held opponents to a .179 batting averaging, while the Texas pen ranks 25th with a 4.97 ERA, allowing foes to hit .266.

With the Sticks
Texas ranks eighth in the Majors, averaging 4.3 runs per game this season, and sixth in team OPS at .744. And while the Rangers have only hit 12 homers, they've also stolen 17 bases, fourth-most in baseball. So it would seem Texas has been doing a good job of manufacturing runs.

Oakland ranks sixth in scoring at 4.8 RPG, fourth in OPS at .756 and fifth in homers with 21.

Compare the top MLB World Series Betting Lines

Rangers-As Betting Trends
The totals are 3-6 in games played at the Coliseum this year. 

Both these teams are 8-10 on the totals this season.

Oakland took the season series from Texas last year 10 games to nine. The totals leaned toward the UNDERS in last year's series by an 11-7-1 margin, and six of the nine games these teams played in Oakland played UNDER.

Injury Update
Texas is playing without 3B Adrian Beltre, who's on the DL with a torn quad. The Ranges have managed to go 7-4 without him so far, but that doesn't mean they don't miss him. 

On the other side of the card Oakland OF Yoenis Cespedes left Sunday's game with a sore heel, but reports indicate he'll play Monday.


Free MLB Pick for Monday
It's not usually good for one's wallet to go against Darvish, but Oakland is one of the few teams that's had any success against him. And it's not often these days the A's are dogs at home. So we'll add  Oakland, at the +115 offered at The Greek, to our list of free MLB picks for Monday.

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