The Texas Rangers are in Oakland for game two of a three game series with the Oakland Athletics. The A’s took game one last night behind a two-homer performance from Kris Davis and a strong start from Kendall Graveman, who went seven strong innings of one run ball in the win. The Rangers badly need a win tonight, and they send their ace starter Cole Hamels (9-1 3.42 ERA) to the mound tonight to get the job done. To counter Oakland will send out the struggling Sean Manaea (8-8 4.58 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PM PST from Oakland-Alameda Stadium in Oakland, California.
The Texas Rangers have, somewhat improbably, managed to compete this season. Entering play today the Rangers find themselves only two games back in the crowded race for the American League Wild Card. At the July 31st trade deadline, the Rangers unloaded, sending the ace of their pitching staff, Yu Darvish to the Los Angeles Dodgers. They also shipped off starting and All-Star catcher Johnathan Lucroy to the Colorado Rockies and Jeremy Jeffress to the Milwaukee Brewers. It was clear that they were looking to the future and not making a push for the playoffs this year.
Well, I guess somebody forgot to tell this Rangers team because they haven’t let the loss of talent hurt them. They are 14-9 this month and have won eight out of their last twelve, and are very much in the thick of the playoff race. The Rangers will look to stay hot tonight against a badly undermanned A’s team by sending Cole Hamels to the mound. One thing the Rangers can rely on from Cole Hamels in his career with the squad? He is going to win.
Texas Rangers vs. Oakland Athletics Pick
Hamels has a .816 winning percentage with Rangers over his first 60 starts with the team. Sounds pretty good, right? He is just the second pitcher EVER to win 80% or more of his starts in his first 60 starts for a team. The last guy to do it? Jim McCormick. In 1885. No that’s not a typo. 1885. Cole Hamels is doing something with Texas that hasn’t been done since people showed up to the games in a horse and buggy. Who am I to be on the wrong side of history in this one? Especially against a garbage can fire of a team like the Oakland Athletics.
The Athletics actually came into the season with a decent amount of talent. They weren’t going to win their Division or compete for a World Series ring, but they had the makings of a decent ball club. Then Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane did what he always does and traded all of their best players away. Sonny Gray, Yonder Alonso, Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson, and Adam Rosales were all sent packing as Beane traded away anything that wasn’t physically nailed to the A’s bench. Unlike the Rangers who responded admirably to being gutted this Athletics team is struggling to stay competitive in most games. One guy, they did keep was today’s starter Sean Manaea, and with how he is currently pitching maybe they wish they would have traded him away…
Sean Manaea is eventually going to be a solid Major League pitcher. He might eventually even turn into an All-Star someday. But right now, he can’t seem to get anybody out. In August, Manaea is 0-3 with an ERA of 11.37. On August 6th against Baltimore, he was only able to get one out before giving up six earned runs and getting pulled. The start before that in Los Angeles? The Angels rocked him for six runs in just 3.1 innings of work. It hasn’t been pretty recently for the young hurler.
This line doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. You have a pitcher in Hamels that appears to be at the top of his game at the moment, pitching for a team looking to make a playoff push, matched up against a guy that can’t stay on the field for more than about 15 minutes on a team that is in freefall. A line like this feels like it could easily be -160 or worse. At -115 it almost feels like a steal. I know those road day games after night games are tough on teams so I will stay away from the run line this afternoon but I still see lots of value backing the Rangers today in Oakland. Give me the Rangers as small road favorites at -115.
The Bet: Rangers -115