Saturday MLB on FOX Betting Preview

The Rangers are marked as a home underdog on Saturday afternoon, as they host the best team in Major League Baseball.

Tampa Bay Rays at Texas Rangers

Tampa Bay is currently 2-2 on its current road trip after dropping the series opener at Texas, 9-6, at the Ballpark in Arlington.  Friday night’s defeat dropped the team to 26-3 on the year when producing five or more runs at the plate.  The Rays are still a dominating 21-7 on the road (+1,400), as only six major league teams have had a better road record after 28 games since 1900.  The team has outscored opponents 166-89 away from Tropicana Field.  Tampa is now 2-1 this month, but has compiled an impressive 37-18 record over the last three years during June (+1,790).  Total bettors need to be aware that the pitching staff has allowed only 198 runs this season, the fewest in the American League (25-28 O/U).

Rays SP James Shields if 5-3 with a 3.62 ERA in 11 starts this season (+200).  The right-hander has tallied an impressive 74 strikeouts and issued just 15 walks in just over 74 innings of work.  Shields hasn’t compiled impressive numbers on the road in his career (21-23, 4.64), but checks in with a 4-1 record and 3.34 ERA in five outings away from Tropicana Field (+290).  He notched an 8-6 victory over the Yankees last time out on the road back on May 20, tossing 7.1 innings and allowing four runs (three earned) while allowing eight hits and striking out seven.  The 29-year-old is still searching for his first daytime victory of the season, going 0-2 with a 4.74 ERA in four starts under the sun, as hitters are combining to hit .311 against him.

Texas managed to crank out 13 hits on Friday night against a pitching staff that started the night with the best ERA in the AL.  The Rangers belted out two more home runs at their home ball park, as they’ve now hit 36 of their 49 round trippers in Arlington.  The team is also an impressive 15-7 versus the Rays at home over the past four seasons.  DH Vladimir Guerrero entered the series with the fifth-best career batting average against the Rays (200 PA min) and continued his success with a 3 RBI night.  Texas has been placed as a home underdog of +100 to +125 for the first time this season, but is 27-23 in this situation over the last three years (+620).  Overall at home this season, they’ve produced a solid 19-9 mark (+540).

Rangers SP Tommy Hunter is expected to be recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City for today’s start, making his season debut.  He began his season with 18 consecutive scoreless innings until allowing a pair of runs in the second inning of his fourth start.  Hunter has gone 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA over his last three starts.  The right-hander has two career starts against the Rays, both coming last season, going 1-0 with a 3.48 ERA.  He has a 6-4 career mark with a 4.31 ERA in 12 starts in Arlington and his .226 opponents batting average at home in 2009 was the lowest single-season figure by a pitcher with at least 10 starts at the stadium.

Bettors may become enamored at the chance of playing the Rangers as home underdog on Saturday afternoon, but must be aware of their 5-12 record against winning competition this season (-920).  Tampa Bay has also dropped consecutive games on the road just once this season, losing the final two games of a three game set in Oakland on May 8-9.

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