Sunday Night Baseball Betting Preview & Pick: Rangers vs Tigers

Yu Darvish

Sunday, May 21, 2017 4:13 PM GMT

Our handicapper is as red hot as the Texas Rangers, and thinks backing them here with their ace on the mound is a wise choice. Read on as he breaks down the nationally televised game between the Tigers and Rangers on Sunday night.

The red-hot Texas Rangers look to keep things rolling as they finish up their weekend series with the Detroit Tigers in Comerica Park. They’ve got their ace on the mound to do that in Yu Darvish, who is 4-2 on the season over 9 starts. With Darvish on the mound, the Rangers are rightful moneyline favorites on the road having opened up at -131 on the early Saturday opening line at BetOnline. The Over/Under total has opened up at 9 runs at the same book.

Darvish has pitched excellent this year, and has really stepped up his game when pushed situationally. His .237 batting average allowed with the bases empty drops to .128 with men on base and to a subterranean .048 with men in scoring position. That frankly, is going to get it done in most situations.

Darvish has also put up some fantastic splits on the year with both lefties and righties on the year. He is allowing left-handers to hit just .204 against him, while right-handers are hitting an even worse .189. He’s just gotten better in May, with a 2.25 ERA and 20/6 K/BB rate over 20 innings pitched. And, his velocity is up almost a full tick over last year. The only warning sign this is smoke and mirrors is a slightly lower BABIP than normal, but even that will only adjust his FIP to 3.68. Darvish is dealing right now.

He’ll face Matt Boyd of the Detroit Tigers, who has had issues with control to start the season resulting in a sky-high 4.54 BB/9 and 1.61 WHIP. Part of this has been trouble with pitching out of the stretch, which you can see in his statistics pitching with people on base. Boyd’s batting average against goes up when men reach base, even though it isn’t good to begin with at .273 with the bases empty, and rises to .284 with men on and .324 with runners in scoring position. Walking a batter then falling apart when he is on first base is not a recipe for success.

Additionally, Boyd has a handedness split that can be taken advantage of by the Rangers. He has allowed right-handers to bat .283 off of him in 36 innings pitched. Look for the Rangers to stack the lineup with at least 6 right-handers on Sunday night to take advantage of this fact.

There is no good reason I can see here for a contrarian play, as both bullpens create about the same amount of risk for Texas and Detroit (they are bad). I’ll then back the best starter here and take the Rangers on the moneyline at a reasonable -126 now found at Pinnacle for MLB Sunday Night Baseball.

Free MLB Pick: Rangers -120Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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