OAKLAND ATHLETICS (86-67)
at TEXAS RANGERS (91-62)
First pitch: Tuesday, 8:05 p.m. EDT
Line: Texas -190, Oakland +180, Total: 8½
After taking the opener of this key four-game series Monday night, the Rangers will play host to the A’s again in a battle between the top two teams in the AL West.
While the Rangers sit comfortably atop the division with a five-game lead and are nearly assured of making the playoffs, wins are critical for Oakland, which is up just two games for the AL Wild Card. Yu Darvish takes the hill for the Rangers at 16-9 with a 3.90 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. He has given up just one earned run in three consecutive starts, a span in which he pitched 23 innings with 26 strikeouts, a 1.17 ERA and 0.57 WHIP. Darvish has lost two consecutive starts against the A’s, however, giving up nine earned and nine walks in his last 12.1 innings against them. Although A’s starting pitcher Tom Milone has also lost his past two starts against the Rangers, he has pitched relatively well with a 3.75 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. On the season, Milone has a 3.86 ERA and 1.27 WHIP and he has a 2-0 record with a 3.18 ERA in his past three times out. Ultimately, Darvish makes the Rangers a favorite, but they are favored by way too much in this one. Go for the monster payout and choose OAKLAND in this one.
This five-star FoxSheets trend also favors the A’s:
OAKLAND is 23-7 (76.7%, +21.4 Units) against the money line after having lost 3 of their last 4 games this season. The average score was OAKLAND 5.2, OPPONENT 3.3 - (Rating = 5*).
Since Milone’s last start, a 12-4 win against the Tigers, the A’s have lost three of their past four games. His best asset is his control—he has just 131 strikeouts in 179.1 innings, but only 36 walks in that span as well. He has not enjoyed pitching on the road in 2012 with a 5.17 ERA and 1.56 WHIP, though he is still 6-6 (team 8-7) away from home. Milone lasts just 5.7 innings per start on the road, but that makes use of Oakland’s impressive bullpen that has a 3.04 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, sporting a crazy good 26-13 record.
Whereas control is Milone’s biggest asset, it is Darvish’s biggest weakness. The rookie averages 4.29 walks per nine innings with 88 already this season. He makes up for it by fanning 10.43 batters per nine innings with 214 already this year. Darvish averages 6.6 innings per start, but is also supported by a strong bullpen. Texas relievers have a 3.41 ERA and 1.18 WHIP, having converted 41 saves in 49 opportunities (.837).