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Rangers vs Athletics – MLB Pick for April 3rd

We picked up the win last night, out third straight on MLB betting, when we backed the Arizona Diamondbacks as home underdogs. The D-Backs were playing the Dodgers, and I felt that not much separated these two teams, so I may as well take the home dog.

Dodgers pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu has never been the same since getting injured two years ago, and he got blasted quickly in this one as well. Ryu only managed to go only three and two thirds while giving up three runs and walking five.

I expected more out of Tajuan Walker, but the youngster was only able to give us five innings of mediocre work. This game ended up being a classic and I am not ashamed to say that we got a bit lucky to pick up the win.

The D-Backs scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to push the game into extra innings and then won the game in the fifteenth when Jeff Mathis singled in two runs to end the game, 8-7.

It was nice to pick up the win, and even though we did get a little lucky to win, this is why you take the home team in closely matched games. The home team is always going to fight hard until the end, and once in a while, something like this happens.

Today we are going to take a look at the game between the Texas Rangers and the Oakland Athletics.

The Texas Rangers are in Oakland for game two of a four-game series with the Athletics. Oakland took game one last night 3-1 behind a decent outing from starter Andrew Triggs, and a great hold by the bullpen.

Tonight, the Rangers will turn to their ace, Cole Hamels (0-1 4.76 ERA), to pick up the win. The Athletics will counter with their opening day starter, Kendall Graveman (0-0 9.00 ERA). The Athletics are -140 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at nine runs. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM PST from Oakland-Alameda Coliseum.

The Texas Rangers won’t be a very good team this year. They don’t have a lot of depth, and their best players are aging. But they are likely better than their 1-4 start would make people think. The first series of the year was against the Houston Astros, the defending World Series Champions and the prohibitive favorites to repeat again this season. So, it’s going to get easier for Texas.

Cole Hamels felt the wrath of the Astros on opening day as he couldn’t make it through the sixth inning. Hamels struggled with his command with four walks but did strike out seven against a very tough lineup. Hamels isn’t the guy that he was several years ago with Philadelphia, but he is still a solid starter. I was surprised to see Hamels as an underdog in this matchup with what should be a fairly weak A’s team this year.

The Oakland A’s are in a similar position as the Rangers. They aren’t going to be terrible, but it would be shocking to see them make a run to the playoffs. For Oakland their best players aren’t getting old, they are all young and untested. That is the case tonight for Oakland starter Kendall Graveman.

Graveman was probably the worst opening day pitcher of any team this year. It is not that he is all that bad, it is just that most teams have at least one top of the rotation arm to start on opening day. Oakland had a young Graveman that won just six games last season and had an ERA over four.

In his three seasons as a starter in Oakland, Graveman has just a 22-24 record with an ERA north of 4.10. Those aren’t really numbers that scream ace. So, while Graveman started opening day, it would be quite the stretch to call him an ace.

This number surprised me. Yeah, the Ranger’s record is bad, but they had to play four games against the defending champs. The bats have been a bit slow to start in Texas but with guys like Joey Gallo, Adrian Beltre, and Elvis Andrus in the lineup that is sure to turn around soon. But when I see a spot where I get to back the much better starter, tonight that is Cole Hamels, and get dog money, I jump all over it.

Graveman is entering his fourth season as a full-time starter and has shown me nothing to say he is an elite pitcher. Hamels may not be the guy he used to be, but he is still 33-12 in his three years on the Rangers with an ERA sub-four. He still gets guys out very efficiently even though his strikeout rate dropped considerably last year.

These two teams seem very evenly matched to me. Their outlook on the season is ever similar, and they are both off to a slow start. The one thing that separates them for me tonight is that starting pitching matchup and the fact that the A’s are such big favorites. This feels like it should be an even money game at best, yet Oakland is laying -140. That just doesn’t feel right, so I am going to take the other side.

Give me the Texas Rangers +120 tonight in Oakland!

The Bet: Texas Rangers +120

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