Texas Rangers -111 at Chicago White Sox +101
Scott Feldman (2-6, 6.13 ERA) vs. Dylan Axelrod (0-1, 4.50 ERA)
The great thing about baseball is that teams get to play 162 games… and they each only count once. That is exceptional news for the Texas Rangers, possessors of the best record in all of baseball, who took a disgusting 19-2 throttling at the hands of the Chicago White Sox last night. It was 16-0 in the fifth inning before the White Sox apparently got tired from all the base running and bat-swinging and eventually relented. As impressive as that outing was, today, it’s all back to 0-0 with a fresh clean slate. The Rangers are even favored in tonight’s game. Whoever first said momentum in baseball is only as important as the next game’s starting pitcher might have had a career as an oddsmaker…
But before we get to tonight’s matchup breakdown, kudos to major league baseball; Bud Selig, Tony LaRussa, and the whole gang for finding a way to give the fans what they truly want – a dose of the past and the future on the same field in the same All-Star game. By selecting Chipper Jones to replace Matt Kemp it swings the door WIDE open for the fans to select Bryce Harper (it’s a lock – they will) to also join the All-Star festivities. The game may “count” but ultimately it is a celebration of the sport and a gift for the fans, who for a change, can say with certainty, they got what they wanted this year.
OK, back to tonight’s game. The Rangers will try to wash away the bitterness of yesterday’s epic beatdown by sending…. Scott Feldman to the hill. Feldman of the 6.14 ERA and 2-6 record. And the Rangers are STILL favored. That, my friends, is some RESPECT. Perhaps it is because they dwarf all of MLB in two key predictive stats; run differential (+83) and runs scored (429). In both categories, they lead the closest competitor by more than 25 runs. There’s a reason why they are sending a league-high seven representatives to Kansas City for the All Star Game, and it isn’t just cause Ron Washington is managing.
The White Sox send young Dylan Axelrod to the mound, making only his seventh start in his young career. He has been decent so far, but will get a true test tonight against a loaded Ranger lineup that will be focused after last night’s embarrassment.
This game has the potential to feature a ton of runs, but I am staying away from the over out of simple deference to the baseball Gods. How often do you see a team explode for double-digit runs only to be held in check the next game? It is almost as if the tank was run a little too empty and needs some time to fill up. Instead, I am going with the Rangers, despite a less-than-stellar starter on the mound to get the job done with the bats and provide some Fourth of July fireworks in Chicago this evening.
Free Pick: Texas Rangers to WIN -111