Sometimes you just really nail a pick. That was the case last night when I backed the New York Yankees on the road against the Minnesota Twins. I expected a high scoring game, where both starters get hammered early, and the Yankees find a way to hold on late for the win. And that is just what happened.
After combining for forty runs in the series first two games, they kept up with the fireworks again last night, as these teams put seventeen more runs up on the board. The game was back and forth early with both teams scoring at ease. But as I mentioned in my pick yesterday, there isn’t a team in the game I would rather back in a slugfest than this New York Yankees team.
On paper, the Twins have the better offensive stats, but now that the Yankees are getting healthy at the right time, I feel that they are the highest-octane lineup in the land. For New York, the win was a big one as they now head to Boston, to face their archrivals, the Red Sox, with a whopping eleven game lead over Boston.
For Minnesota, they need to quickly find a way to snap out of this slump as they are now losers of seven out of their last ten games, and they have seen their once double-digit lead over the Cleveland Indians shrink all the way down to just two games. With the win, we have now won eleven out of our last twelve bets, and we are winning at a 75% clip so far in July. We will look to stay hot tonight as we head to Oakland where the Rangers play the A’s.
The Texas Rangers will limp into Oakland tonight for game one of a four-game series with the Athletics. It wasn’t long ago that the Rangers were very much in contention in the American League and had a tough decision on whether or not to buy or sell at the trade deadline, that is now just a week away. But after a brutal skid that has seen them lose nine out of their last ten games, the Rangers find themselves as prime candidates for a fire sale.
For the Athletics, they have done enough to keep themselves firmly in the buyer’s club as they should be looking to acquire talent to load up for a playoff run. That being said, the A’s have played some tough competition recently and have lost three out of their last four games. Even with the recent road bump, the A’s are 12-6 on the month and currently occupy the second wild-card spot in the AL.
Starting for the Rangers is Ariel Jurado (5-6 4.92 ERA), and for the A’s it is Brett Anderson (9-5 3.82). The game total over-under is set at nine and a half runs. The A’s are -170 home favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 PM PST from Ring Central in Oakland.
Has this Texas Rangers team given up? It sure seems to look like that. After surprisingly contending for much of the first half, this team has fallen on hard times, and they are expected to trade away several key pieces any day. Mike Minor and Lance Lynn are near certain to be moved, and guys like Nomar Mazara and Jose Leclerc are getting mentioned as well. It is likely to get real ugly in Texas very soon.
The Rangers have stumbled as the bats have stopped swinging. The Rangers are 1-9 in their last ten games, and they have scored more than four runs just twice during that stretch. And this is coming from a team that has been top ten in the majors in nearly every offensive category for most of the year. They are going to be in for some trouble tonight as they face an A’s team that very quietly has one of the best pitching staffs in the league.
The A’s have been mostly noted for their offense this year. And it is deservingly so as they are seventh in home runs and ninth in runs scored for the year. But when you look at how this team might find a way to sneak into the playoff, it is because of their pitching staff. The A’s are top six in the league in ERA, batting average against, and WHIP, as a staff.
A big reason they have been so successful on the mound has been the results of tonight’s starter Brett Anderson. Anderson hasn’t been elite, but he has been solid, with an ERA in the mid three-run range most of the year. And the one thing he has done for Oakland is win games. The A’s have won seven out of his last eight starts and going back to May, they are 11-3 with Anderson on the mound.
Anderson has pitched against the Rangers twice this season and has pitched well both times. In a combined twelve and a third innings worked, he has allowed just five earned runs. Anderson forces a ton of ground balls, and he has been my secret weapon this year as I have backed him many times and he is making me a lot of money.
Interestingly enough, Anderson hates to pitch during the day. In eight daytime starts his ERA is 5.53. At night playing under the lights? He has an ERA of 2.89 in twelve starts. Tonight’s game is the late game as it doesn’t kick off until after 7pm local time.
Texas starter Ariel Jurado is pretty bad. Well, at least as a starter he has been bad. As a reliever, this guy was actually pretty good. In ten appearances out of the bullpen, his ERA was just 2.08. Since being added to the Rangers rotation, he has struggled badly though. His ERA in July is north of eight runs. You can expect him to get roughed up some tonight by this powerful A’s lineup.
This is a mismatch. You have one team that is doing everything they can to win games, the Oakland A’s, and the other team, the Texas Rangers, are in freefall. But when I look at the money line, I am just not a fan of laying -170. That is just too much wood for me to lay on a game. So, while the A’s are certainly the side to back, and a bet on them wouldn’t be a bad one, the price just isn’t right for me, so I will pass.
But when I look at the game total, I do see some value. I think the A’s are going to hammer on Jurado, so he won’t be long for this game. And I think Anderson is going to shut down the Rangers. I expect the A’s to jump out to an early lead and coast to victory. With a total that is going to take double-digit runs to go over, both teams are going to need to score runs to make it happen. And I just don’t see the Rangers scoring more than a run or two.
This is a defeated team that has given up on the year, and I think they get beaten down tonight on the road. Something along the lines of a 7-1 Athletics win feels about right. So, I will jump on the under and expect a lower scoring game tonight. Give me the under nine and a half runs tonight in game one from Oakland!