Yesterday, we got the opportunity to back the best team in baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers, at nearly even money, in Arizona, against the DBacks. The Dodgers were going with a bit of an unconventional starting pitching strategy, as they planned to start Ross Stripling and then give way to Julio Urias at some point.
Both of those guys had been mostly pitching out of the bullpen this year, so it was a little bit concerning. But when I looked at how well each of them had pitched in the month of June, both had ERA’s in the low one run range, I didn’t let that uncertainty scare me away of all that value of backing the Dodgers at such an attractive price. So, I fired on the boys in blue and felt I was on the right side of the action.
Stripling and Urias were both very solid, they combined for six innings of work, and allowed just one earned run. The game was a tight one throughout, and the Dodgers took a 3-2 lead in the sixth inning on a Justin Turner RBI double. And it turned out, that was enough as the Dodgers bullpen held onto the scant one-run lead, and we cashed yet another ticket.
Betting against a guy as good as Arizona starter Robbie Ray is never something you want to do all that often. But, if an opportunity like this one presents itself again, where I can back a team that is fourteen games better on the season, at a coin flip price, I am certain to take it every time.
The starting pitching matchup of a game matters, a lot. But the overall strength of each team is something that does not get valued highly enough by casual sports bettors. It would seem logical, but surprisingly, that isn’t always the case. Bet the better team! For today’s pick, I will use a similar philosophy as the Texas Rangers play the Detroit Tigers.
The Texas Rangers are in Detroit Wednesday for game two of a three-game series with the Tigers. The Rangers took game one last night 5-3. The Ranges built up a 4-0 lead early and coasted to the win. Texas welcomed back All-Star candidate Joey Gallo yesterday after the hard hitting outfielder served ten days on the IL and they will be happy to have his bat back in the lineup for tonight’s game.
The Rangers are very quietly moving up the standings in the American League as they have won four out of their last five games. If the season were to end today, the Rangers would be in a three-way tie for the second wild-card spot in the AL. For the Tigers, they are struggling through a multi-year rebuild and are well out of contention. They have fewer wins than any team in the league not named the Baltimore Orioles.
Starting for the Rangers is Mike Minor (7-4 2.52 ERA), and for the Tigers, it is Matthew Boyd (5-5 3.61 ERA). The game total over-under is set at nine runs. The game is currently an even pick ‘em as both teams are -105. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM PST from Comerica Park in Detroit.
I feel like the Texas Rangers are my own personal dirty little secret this year. I don’t really know why but the Rangers are not getting nearly the love that they deserve this season. Maybe it is the lack of star power? Outside of Gallo, many people won’t even know the names of lots of these Rangers players. But that doesn’t change the fact that they are one of the better teams in the AL right now. They have nearly identical records as the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox, but you wouldn’t know it by following the mainstream media, who have basically chosen to ignore them.
Mike Minor is one of the many unsung heroes in Texas right now. His 2.52 ERA is good for second in the league, and he has been turning it up even more recently. In the month of June, Minor is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in four starts. The Rangers are 4-0 with him on the mound in June. His 103 strikeouts on the season ranks him just outside the top ten in the league.
Minor is a prime candidate to get traded as quality starting pitching is always a hot commodity at the trade deadline. But with how well this Rangers team is playing, they are likely to either stand pat with this team or turn into buyers at the deadline. Everyone keeps expecting the Rangers to drop out of contention, but they seem to just keep getting better as the season wears on.
Mathew Boyd does one thing really well, he strikes guys out. Boyd is sixth in the AL in punchouts with 118. That puts him ahead of guys like Charlie Morton, Blake Snell, and Lucas Giolito. But despite his great stuff and his ability to get guys out by himself, his results have not been good. In June, he is 0-1 with a 6.14 ERA in four starts.
The Tigers have lost seven out of his last eight starts. And after doing a good job of keeping the ball in the ballpark in the first half of the season, Boyd has really struggled with it recently. Boyd has allowed twelve homers in his last eight starts. Boyd will have his hands full tonight against this Rangers team that has a lot of pop and is third in the majors in runs scored this year.
This number makes absolutely no sense to me. We talked earlier about backing the better overall team, and the Rangers are undeniably the better team in this matchup. Texas is 14.5 games better than Detroit right now. And Minor is the much better of the two starting pitchers. Yeah, Boyd strikes out a lot of guys, but he also gets shelled a lot. I see the Rangers pounding him tonight.
I suspect that the reason this number is so low for Texas is because they have been awful on the road. And they certainly have been. The Rangers are a lowly 15-21 outside of Arlington. But the Tigers are even worse at home! Detroit is a dismal 11-25 at home this season. So, while the Rangers don’t win a lot on the road, the Tigers never win at home, so I still like a play on Texas. I will back the Rangers and feel like I am stealing tonight. Give me the Texas Rangers at even money tonight in game two from Detroit!