Yankees and Tanaka are the Run Line Value MLB Pick vs. Rangers

Wednesday, June 29, 2016 3:49 PM GMT

The Texas Rangers may have the best record in the American League, but we feel that the Yankees are a valuable run line MLB pick here with Masahiro Tanaka facing Nick Martinez.

 

We do not play run lines often, but we think we found very good run line value Wednesday night while actually fading the team with the best record in the American League when Nick Martinez and those Texas Rangers (51-27, 23-15 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Masahiro Tanaka and the New York Yankees (37-39, 21-18 home) in the third game of a four-game series at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, NY at 7:05 ET in a game available on YES.

The run line at Heritage Sports has New York as a home favorite for this contest with the current line at -1½ on the MLB odds board at odds of +120.

Virtually Tied with Cubs
Believe it or not, it was the Rangers and not the Chicago Cubs that because the first Major League team to win 50 games this season, and at 51-27, Texas is in a virtual tie with the 50-26 Cubs for the best record in baseball, although technically the Rangers trail by four percentage points. Texas has stayed hot here in the Bronx by taking the first two games of this series, winning the opener 9-6 in a game that ended at 3:00 AM EDT, and then 7-1 last night.

Thus the Yankees have now been the losing MLB picks in three straight games while allowing a disturbing total of 23 runs in the three defeats. Thankfully New York has a more reliable starter on the mound tonight to bring some sanity back to their pitching situation, and even at two games below .500, the Yankees are a not insurmountable nine games out of first place in the American League East, lessening the chances of being sellers at the trading deadline.

Top 10 in Majors in WAR
The Yankees are turning to their ace Tanaka to try and get a breakthrough win in this series, and he has mostly lived up to that ace designation this season while almost certainly deserving a better fate than his 5-2 record. That is apparent before even digging deeper into his peripheral numbers given his fine 3.01 ERA and 1.03 WHIP.

But did deeper we shall, and the first thing that stands out is Tanaka combines an excellent ratio of 75 strikeouts vs. 18 walks with a good ground ball rate of 51.7 percent that is a by-product of owning one of the nastiest splitters in the game. After everything shakes out, Tanaka is left with a 2.5 WAR that is tied with Stephen Strasburg for 10th best in the Major Leagues.

Tanaka also has the support of the best set-up/closer bullpen combination in baseball here as none of the Big Three were used in the blowout loss last night, meaning that the lethal trio of set-up men Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller and closer Aroldis Chapman is fully available to try and quiet the hot Texas bats.

Poor Peripherals for Martinez
Meanwhile, Martinez grades out poorly and is only in the starting rotation temporarily with so many Texas starters injured right now, namely Yu Darvish, Colby Lewis and Derek Holland. Martinez has made two starts since re-entering the rotation and he has pitched 13 innings in all at the Major League level this year, and he has simply not been good with a 5.54 ERA, 1.77 WHIP, and more walks issued (7) than strikeouts (5).

Sure, it has only been 13 innings this year, but Martinez has already proven to be less-than-mediocre over his career in the majors that now spans 278.1 innings as he has a career 4.33 ERA, 5.05 FIP, and 5.19 xFIP while showing a very weak ratio of 5.14 strikeouts vs. 3.49 walks per nine innings. Also, do not expect him to maintain his 57.4 percent ground ball rate through 13 innings in 2016 either considering that his career such rate sits at just 38.3 percent.

So while the first instinct is to assume the Rangers have great value at this money line price given the record of these teams, this pitching mismatch explains why the price is so high and actually point to good run line value on the Yankees’ side at positive odds.

Rare Losing Trend for Rangers
Finally, while you would obviously be hard pressed to find many losing angles regarding the Rangers under normal circumstances, such is not the case when the pedestrian Martinez takes the mound as Texas is just 3-8 in his last 11 starts overall including 1-6 in his last seven road starts. Meanwhile, the Yankees are 6-1 in Tanaka’s last seven home starts and 10-5 as a team over all of his starts this season.

So while we have respect for what the Rangers have done so far this year, we feel that all the value here lies with the New York Yankees on the -1½ run line hosting Texas on Wednesday.

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Free MLB Pick:  Yankees -1½ (+120)
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes
MLB Record: 45-38-2, +9.46