Rangers vs. Rays Pick MLB – September 16th

We notched a nice, easy win last night on a double-up pick on the Boston Red Sox to not only win, but also to cover the runline at +125.  The Sox completed the devastating sweep of their hated rival with a 9-2 victory (pushing Clay Bucholtz to a perfect 11-0).  Let’s try to bring the positive momentum into a new week; the second to last week of the MLB regular season.

There are some enormous series kicking off tonight, and none bigger than the pair in the AL pitting the Rays and Rangers and the Indians and Royals.  Cleveland enters tonight trailing both the Rays and Rangers by a half-game.  With those two matched up, if Cleveland can simply handle their business this week they can continue their improbable playoff run by taking the wildcard lead.  Of course, the Royals have some unlikely playoff dreams of their own still lingering.

The true winners in these matchups?  It might just be Baltimore (2.5 back) and the Yankees (3 back) who can creep back into the race while the top contenders beat each other up.  No matter what, it is going to be a great race to the finish in the AL wildcard race, and we’ll be here to handicap it all the way through October!

Today’s Free Pick:

Texas Rangers +118 at Tampa Bay Rays -128 (Total: 7.5)

Matt Garza (3-4, 4.66 ERA) vs. Alex Cobb (8-3, 3.08 ERA)

The Rangers went from West Division contenders to scrambling for the postseason lives thanks to the recent slump.  They have lost six straight coming into tonight and are just 2-11 in the month of September.  The starting pitching has been a big part of the problem.  Their starters have a combined ERA of just 5.32 over that stretch.

Matt Garza will get the ball tonight against his former team.  Things haven’t been rosy for Garza lately either, going 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in his last three starts.  Since joining the Rangers he has an ERA of 4.66.  I expect the Rays will be able to score some runs off him tonight and continue their hot hitting.  They have hit .312 over the last week and have been scoring plenty of runs.

The Rays will give the ball to Alex Cobb, who is also winless in his last three starts, and the team is 0-3.  His personal ERA of 4.12 isn’t disastrous, but certainly isn’t the top-line effort the Rays often need to win baseball games.

Both of these teams have struggling starters on the mound, so I’ll bank on the offenses ruling the day.  The total of 7.5 seems pretty vulnerable to me.  I’ll take the OVER.

Free Pick:  Run TOTAL OVER 7.5

Chris Scheeren / Author