Monday brings about all new series and matchups across the major league baseball landscape, including great pairings like the Yankees and Orioles; the struggling A’s trying desperately to keep pace with the division-leading Rangers and in the National League, two of the best teams in the Giants and Nationals. So let’s start off the week with a few wins and take a look at a good opportunity and favorable line tonight.
Oakland A’s +112 at Texas Rangers -118 (Total: 10)
The Rangers bats remained on fire last night, overcoming THREE homeruns by Miguel Cabrera and outscoring the Tigers 12-9. Tonight, they begin the first of a four game series against Oakland with a real chance to put some distance between them and the rest of the AL West. They enter with a 6.5 game lead over second place Oakland. If they were to take three of four, or even sweep the series, this division could remain out of reach most of the season.
Oakland has played well against the Rangers, especially last season with their regular season concluding three-game sweep leading to an improbable division crown. However, the ghosts of last year’s Rangers team (and a lot of the controversy amid Josh Hamilton) have been exorcized. This year’s Rangers club feels more like the loose, happy-go-lucky bunch of three seasons ago, only with better pitching.
The Rangers +54 run differential is the best in all of baseball and they enter tonight winners of eight of their last ten. Meanwhile, Oakland is 5-5 in their last ten games, but their hot start seems a distant memory and they are now just one slim game over .500.
Tonight the A’s send veteran Bartolo Colon to the mound. He was touched up in his earlier start against the Rangers, and tonight he is on the road rather than in pitcher-friendly Oakland. I expect the Rangers to get to him and tally some runs. This offense if scorching and I don’t think Bartolo will cool them off.
As long as the Rangers can get a decent outing from 25-year old Josh Lindbloom in his first major league start, they should be fine. Lindbloom has plenty of major league experience with Philadelphia in 2011 as a reliever, but tonight will be his first big league start. He was 4-0 with a 2.04 ERA in AAA so far this season. He faces an Oakland lineup that has never seen him before, and enters tonight’s game scoring only 10 runs in their last four games.
I expect the Rangers offense to give Lindbloom a little breathing room early and for you youngster to give them five or six real solid innings. Plus, all the hype will be around the call up of young phenom Jurickson Profar – a 25-year old making his first MLB start will hardly even register as news with all the buzz surrounding Profar’s debut.
Free Pick: Texas Rangers to WIN -118