We got back on track last night, as we trusted in the St. Louis Cardinals being better than the Pittsburgh Pirates and they helped us out with a nice 11-7 win. I never really felt great about Adam Wainwright specifically, but the Cardinals have been hot offensively and feel like the better team.
That pick worked out so we’re back to get another win tonight in Texas, where the Rangers host the Chicago White Sox at Globe Life Park.
This is not the sexiest pairing on paper, as we have shaky pitching toeing the rubber and two teams that often leave a lot to be desired. Chicago gave up on their season weeks ago thanks to a slew of trades, and we can see how lifeless they are with one look at their current run (losers of 5 straight). Texas is going the other way, as they’ve ripped off four wins in a row and are 7-3 over their last 10 games.
The Rangers will surely show up at home in this one, as they’re still clinging to wild card hopes. Of course, Chicago has nothing to lose and could be an interesting underdog play in great hitting conditions. Let’s take a closer look at this matchup to see which way we should bet tonight:
Chicago White Sox (+180) @ Texas Rangers (-210) Total: 11.5
James Shields (2-4, 5.90 ERA) vs. Andrew Cashner (7-9, 3.32 ERA)
Let’s simplify things. Yes, the White Sox offer awesome value, but no, we’re not backing them. Shields is a trash pitcher at this point in his career and the White Sox have an abysmal 20-42 record away from home this year. Andrew Cashner has also been annoyingly decent for much of 2017 and Texas should easily blast away in this one.
If you want the Rangers and the weak value we get here, go for it, because they’re almost certainly winning this game.
The better play, however, is going to be attacking the Over.
The first big reason is understandably going to be Shields. He just gives up way too much contact and doesn’t usually sport a high K rate. He’s actually picked it up lately with 6+ strikeouts in each of his last three outings, but this guy is a gascan waiting to happen. He is a fly ball pitcher who can struggle with his command and when he gets hit, he gets hit hard.
Shields has refrained from getting absolutely decimated over his last two starts, but he still allowed six runs on 12 hits during that stretch. In his last 10 games, we’ve still seen Shields 4+ runs five different times. Needless to say, the bleeding has already begun by the time Shields exits the game and from there, the dam could bust open.
We don’t have to worry about Shields in any particular setting or against one side of the plate. His ability to stink up the joint takes no favorites, while his last run-in with these Rangers produced four runs (2 HR). I think we’re in for a worse outing out of the 35-year old righty tonight.
Not only are the Rangers feeling it right now, but they’re at home in a great park against James Shields. Shields happens to be a righty, too, and Texas demolishes that handedness (#1 in home runs) in terms of power.
So, yeah, Shields has his hands full.
On the other side we get Andrew Cashner, who is not as good as his ERA suggests. That being said, Cashner just keeps trucking on this year, as he’s gotten away with a lot of contact. It’s crazy that he hasn’t given up more home runs and actually plays his best ball (2.23 ERA) in this park, but at some point he’s going to hit a wall.
That won’t happen tonight, but I think he can give up a couple here (he always does) and the Rangers’ bullpen could cough up a couple more. Chicago is not stacked with dangerous bats, but they do have some nice young talent. They’ll be swinging for the fences in this one, too.
I’m not trusting much in the Sox here or really betting against Cashner. I expect most of this Over to arrive by the hands of the Rangers and there should be enough out of Chicago to get us to where we need to go. Something like a 10-3 win for the Rangers could be in order.