Rangers at Athletics Picks and MLB Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 5/13/2013
Do you remember the last time the Texas Rangers and Oakland A's were on the same field? That would be Oct. 3, 2012, at O.co Coliseum. The A's completed a stunning three-game sweep with a 12-5 victory that won Oakland the AL West title -- a division the Rangers had led practically all season and still led by five games with 11 remaining. Oakland was 13 games behind the Rangers at one point in the season. The A's also were down 5-1 at one point in that game.
The loss essentially ended Josh Hamilton's time in Texas as he dropped a fly ball in center field for a two-run error that gave Oakland a 7-5 lead. Hamilton also struck out three times to continue his season-ending struggles. If the Rangers perhaps had won the World Series maybe Hamilton would have been back, but they of course were then stunned in the one-game wild-card playoff with Baltimore. Oakland, in the playoffs for the first time since 2006, lost in the ALDS to the Detroit Tigers.
Rangers at Athletics Betting Story Lines
Texas has built a six-game lead in the AL West over second-place Oakland -- largest of any division leader -- and now has the best record in baseball. The Rangers have won four straight and swept the Astros (which isn't saying much) over the weekend. Adrian Beltre homered for the second straight day in Sunday's 12-7 win (the Rangers' highest-scoring game of the year) and had four RBI. Starters Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler didn't play, but it was just a maintenance day off.
Oakland was atop the division for a while and started the year 16-12 but has lost eight of 11 since then. They have lost back-to-back series in Cleveland and Seattle. The A's have really missed outfielder Coco Crisp. He hasn't played since April 29 due to a hamstring issue. Crisp was on the way to having perhaps his best season, hitting .283 with five homers and 12 RBI. The A's also have fellow outfielder Josh Reddick and Chris Young on the disabled list. Reddick was a huge surprise last year after coming over from Boston, hitting 32 homers. This year, he's been terrible with a .152 average and just one homer.
Both Crisp and Young could be back Wednesday. They were each hurt in the same game, a 19-inning win over the Angels on April 29. It's probably not a coincidence that Oakland's slide started shortly after that draining 6 1/2-hour affair. Starting pitcher Brett Anderson also was hurt in that game.
Texas starts rookie Justin Grimm (2-2, 3.45), who has been a godsend to a rotation wracked by injuries. The league might be catching up to him, however. Grimm didn't allow more than two earned runs in his first three starts but has allowed a combined eight in his past two. Grimm seems to have a problem in the first inning as opponents are hitting .346 off him in that inning. Grimm did pitch 14 innings a year ago and faced the A's once in relief, allowing a run and four hits in three innings. Jed Lowrie is the only A's player to have a homer off Grimm.
The A's counter with right-hander A.J. Griffin (3-3, 3.83). He allowed four runs and six hits in 6.2 innings of a loss in Cleveland last time out. The A's have lost three of his past four starts. Griffin made 15 starts as a rookie, and two were against Texas. He didn't get a decision in either, allowing five runs and nine hits in 8.2 innings. The Rangers' David Murphy has two hits and two RBI in three at-bats off Griffin. Murphy only starts against right-handers and, thus, will in each game this series with all righties scheduled for Oakland. Murphy is batting .350 with two home runs and four RBI during a seven-game hitting streak.
Texas is without arguably its biggest offseason addition, catcher A.J. Pierzynski. He's on the disabled list with a strained right abdominal muscle. He was hitting .263 with four homers and 11 RBI.
Rangers at Athletics MLB Betting Odds and Trends
At WagerWeb, Oakland is a -125 favorite with Texas at +105 with the total at 8. The Rangers are 13-22-2 “over/under” this season (9-12-1 on road) and 18-19 on the runline. The A's are 28-11 O/U (13-4 at home) and 21-18 on the runline.
The Rangers are 7-1 in their past eight when their opponent scores two runs or fewer in its previous game. Texas is 6-2 in its past eight Monday games. The Rangers are 9-19 in their past 28 as a road dog. The A's are 13-3 in their past 16 home games after a road trip of at least seven days. Oakland is 1-5 in its past six against a righty starter. The A's are 7-0 in Griffin's past seven vs. the AL West. The A's are 6-1 in Griffin's past seven as a favorite. The over is 6-1 in the Rangers' past seven against the AL West. The over is 7-1 in Oakland's past eight series openers. The over is 5-1-1 in Griffin's past seven home starts. The under is 8-3-1 in the past 12 meetings. Texas has lost five of the past six in the series.
Rangers at Athletics Picks and Betting Predictions
Not too many games out of 162 have true meaning, but I think this one does for the Rangers to get a little payback for last season. Griffin is better than Grimm, but Texas will get to the Oakland bullpen. Take the Rangers and the over.
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