Is there anything better than making a play on a major underdog knowing that the books messed up the line and you are about to win a bunch of money? That was the case last night as we took a flyer on the Texas Rangers as +152 underdogs in Cincinnati, against the Reds. The number just didn’t make any sense to me as the Rangers have been one of the hottest teams in the American League for the last five or six weeks, while the Reds biggest accomplishment this year has been getting out of last place.
I was a bit worried that the Rangers were going to use a bullpen day on the mound as they had abused their bullpen in the last two games of their previous series against the Boston Red Sox, but that wasn’t enough to stop me from taking advantage of all that value. So, I fired on the Rangers knowing that the bet was going to have a bit higher variance than I am used to, but also knowing I was on the value side of the game.
In the end, this one wasn’t even close. The starter by committee approach worked wonders as the Reds didn’t score until the ninth inning when the game was already well decided. And those hot Rangers bat, they were second in all of baseball in runs scored heading into the game yesterday, struck again as they put up seven runs in the games first six innings and won the game going away. The big hit for Texas was a Rougned Odor grand slam in the fifth inning that blew the game wide open.
It was a nice win and a jumbo dog money payout. It feels good to run good! For today’s pick, I will stay right here in Cincinnati and break down game two of this series between the Reds and the Rangers.
The Texas Rangers are in Cincinnati Saturday for game two of a three-game series with the Reds. The Rangers have been on fire as they have won twenty of their last thirty games and are shooting up the standings in the American League. While they are still nine and a half games back of the Houston Astros for the lead in the AL West Division, they currently occupy the second wild-card slot in the AL, with a one-game lead over the Boston Red Sox. Not many saw the Rangers as a playoff caliber team coming into the season, but here they are, right in the thick of the playoff race.
For the Reds, with the loss last night, they slipped back into last place in their division, the NL Central. Cincy has been struggling most of the season, and they have now lost seven out of their last ten games and have fallen to seven games under .500. They are hoping to pick up a win tonight to get them back in this series.
Starting for the Rangers is Mike Minor (5-4 2.52 ERA), and for the Reds, it is Tanner Roark (4-5 3.74 ERA). The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. The Reds are -115 home favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM PST from Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.
As the trade deadline looms, many teams are in the market for a solid starting pitcher. Mike Minor’s name has been one that has been floated around a lot as the guy is having the best season of his career. But with the Rangers recent surge p the standings, you have to wonder if the Rangers will turn into buyers at the deadline rather than sellers.
Minor has an ERA of just 2.52, which is good for fifth in the American League. Surprisingly enough, Minor’s solid stats have not converted to all that many wins for this Texas Rangers team. The Rangers are just 7-7 in his fourteen starts this season. And while that isn’t all that bad, it is worse than it should be for a guy that has pitched so well. In June, Minor has an ERA of 1.32 in two starts, and the Rangers won both games.
Cincinnati will counter with Tanner Roark on the mound in game two. Roark, the longtime Washington National, has been decent in this, his first season with the Reds. Similar to Minor, while Roark hasn’t really pitched poorly, the Reds don’t seem to win all that much with him on the mound. The Reds are 6-7 in his thirteen starts.
But unlike Minor, who seems to be getting better as the season wears on, Roark has seen his production drop off of a cliff here in June. After going 3-2 with a 2.28 ERA in the month of May, Roark is 0-2 with an ERA of 6.55 in two June starts. Tanner is 1-4 in seven starts at home this season.
For a lot of the same reasons I made a play on Texas in game one, I will make another play on the Rangers today in game two. The Rangers are just the much better overall team. And unlike last night, where the Reds were getting the best of the starting pitching matchup, that isn’t the case today as Minor has been very good, while Roark has really been struggling as of late.
It is just hard not to like the Rangers in this game as their lineup is so powerful, and they score so many runs. The Reds are 1-9 in their last ten interleague play games, and I expect that trend of futility to continue tonight. So, once again, I will take an underdog, and feel like I should be the favorite. Give me the Texas Rangers as road underdogs tonight in game two from Cincinnati!