Tampa Bay Rays +118 at Texas Rangers -128 (Total: 9)
David Price (3-1, 2.62 ERA) vs. Derek Holland (2-1, 4.78 ERA)
I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say it’s quite likely these two will matchup again somewhere in the postseason. Through 21 games, the Rangers have been the clear-cut best team in all of major league baseball. Their offense has been staggering; their team batting average is still over .300 (to put it in context, a dozen teams in MLB don’t have a PLAYER hitting over .303), and their ERA is a very low 2.76. So, the best offense, and nearly the best pitching?? That’s a pretty good formula.
Things have been going well in Tampa Bay as well, though their team statistics are not nearly as gaudy as their counterparts in Texas. Prior to yesterday’s 7-2 loss to the Rangers, the Rays had won six games in a row and eight of their last nine. They’ve been winning in a steady fashion. There haven’t been any offensive explosions save for an eight-run output against Texas, but their pitching also hasn’t put them in any positions where they would need one. During their six game win streak they allowed an average of 2.0 runs per game, and only once gave up as many as four runs in a single ball game. Their offense averaged a steady 4.6 runs scored. That’s a nice steady recipe for victories, as well as keeping an already-thin bullpen well rested and sharp.
Texas’s lineup has been insane, and will definitely provide a stern test for David Price. Price is 3-1 with a good ERA under three, but his WHIP has been a little suspect at 1.33. That’s higher than Holland’s 1.18, despite his ERA being a full two runs more. That tells me Price has been fairly effective at pitching his way out of trouble, but if you allow four base runners every three innings against Texas, they are going to punish you. There just aren’t enough easy outs in that lineup to consistently miss enough bats to come away unscathed. I think Texas puts up some runs against Price and chases him out of the ballgame by the sixth inning.
Holland has been sharper than his ERA, while Price has been a little sloppier than his would indicate. I think things begin pulling back to their statistical norms tonight, and like Texas to get the win. My official pick is Texas to win, but am also putting a second wager on them to win on the runline -1.5 at +160. Of Texas’s last seven wins, only one has been by a single run. They are the best runline wager in all of baseball, and I’m going to take a chance to get the bonus payout before the rest of the betting public catches on and the number begins to tighten.
Free Pick: Texas Rangers to WIN -128