The Texas Rangers were being threatened by the Astros in the divisional race, so they decided to rip off six straight wins to get to 66-46. Now they have a 2.5 game lead as they head into a three-game set with the Oakland Athletics. I’m not sure if you’ve heard or not, but the A’s are having a bit of a tough year. At 32-80 they haven’t clinched a losing record just yet and are coming off back-to-back wins.
For Game 1 of the series the Rangers will send Dane Dunning to the mound against Ken Waldichuk. Dunning is 9-4 with a 3.14 ERA in his 24 outings while Waldichuk is 2-7 with a 6.52 ERA in 25 appearances.
If you couldn’t guess, the A’s are underdogs at home in this one, so let’s get into the odds for a lopsided AL West rivalry.
Rangers vs. Athletics odds, run line and total
Rangers vs. Athletics prediction and pick
The Rangers lead the season series 5-2 against the A’s. However, the A’s have suddenly become a bit competent. Over the past 30 days they are 7-14 which isn’t good, but it’s a lot better than they’ve been for the rest of the season. They have been middle of the pack offensively over that stretch with a .734 OPS. Yet, they are still last in runs scored over that stretch.
For the season, Oakland is last in OPS and RBI with runners in scoring position while Texas is first in both. So, while lately there isn’t a huge discrepancy between these two teams in terms of team OPS the difference is clutch hitting which is a skill. That explains Oakland being last in runs but 16th in OPS over the past month.
Despite Oakland’s lack of clutch hits I do think they can put some runs on the board today. Dane Dunning is a pitcher that I don’t think Texas can rely on down the stretch and in the postseason. He has a great ERA, but his FIP is a full run higher and his expected ERA is even worse at 4.56. He has a 12th percentile strikeout rate and seventh percentile whiff rate. He’s also below average in hard hit rate and average exit velocity.
Dunning will regress and Oakland’s pitching staff is still one of the worst in baseball. Adolis Garcia is hotter than any other hitter in baseball lately with four home runs in the past week, so he'll help carry Texas to a big offensive output. I’ll take the over because I see a bit more value there than Texas on the run line.
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Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change