The Rangers and A's play a rubber match Thursday afternoon in Oakland. Do we back the hot rookie with our MLB picks? Or the crafty left-handed veteran?
Rangers-A's Thursday Betting Odds
Many books opened Oakland (24-37) and Scott Kazmir at around -145/-150 over Texas (31-29) and Chi Chi Gonzalez, but that price quickly jumped 20 cents, to the -170 range.
These teams have split the first two games of this series; Texas won the opener Tuesday night 2-1 but Oakland rallied to take Wednesday's game 5-4. The victory broke a four-game losing streak for the A's.
Thursday's Starting Pitchers
Kazmir (2-4, 3.14) recently missed a turn in the rotation with a sore shoulder, then in his next start gave up three ER and nine hits in less than five innings against Boston. He's 0 for his last four on quality starts, mostly because he hasn't been able to pitch six full innings.
The A's are just 3-8 in Kazmir's starts this season.
Since the beginning of last season Kazmir has started six times against Texas, allowing 13 ER through 34 1/3 innings; Oakland is 5-1 in those games, with the totals going 5-0-1, thanks mainly to some good run support.
In two career ML starts Gonzalez (2-0, 0.00) has yet to allow a run. Twelve days ago he held Boston scoreless through 5 2/3 innings, and last time out he threw a complete-game, three-hit shutout against Kansas City. Texas won both his starts, with the UNDERS going 2-0.
This will be, of course, Gonzalez' first-ever start against Oakland, which could give him an advantage, at least for the first couple of times through the lineup.
Free MLB Picks
In a game that looks like it could easily go either way, the value on the betting line resides with the underdog. Also, if this game comes down to the bullpens we could see some late scoring, so we're thinking OVER.