MLB Predictions 2012: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Texas Rangers

The Tampa Bay Rays (70-57) and Texas Rangers (75-52) will open up an important American League series on Monday night at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, with the first pitch scheduled for 8:05 ET on ESPN

Tampa Bay Rays at Texas Rangers 

The Tampa Bay Rays are 21-11 versus AL West opponents this year

Tampa Bay finished off its recent six-game homestand with a 3-3 record, suffering a 4-2 setback to the Oakland Athletics on Saturday afternoon.  The Rays received a rare off day on Sunday, posting a 14-5 record during a stretch of 19 days without such an event.  “You can’t win them all,” commented Rays manager Joe Maddon.  “I’m really pleased with our surge right now.”  The club is 21-11 versus AL West opponents this year, which is the best such mark in the majors.  Tampa Bay is 8-7 on the road with a money line of -100 to -125, with the “under” going 8-7 in those contests.

Rays starting pitcher David Price (16-4, 2.28 ERA) didn’t factor into the decision of a 1-0 home loss to the Kansas City Royals last time out, allowing three hits over eight shutout innings.  The left-hander is 9-2 with a 2.93 ERA in 13 road outings, surrendering nine home runs in 83 frames.  In seven career starts versus the Rangers, Price has compiled a disappointing 1-3 record and 5.22 ERA, but earned a 5-2 road win on April 29.

Texas managed to win three of four against the Minnesota Twins, but ended up on the losing end of a 6-5 decision on Sunday afternoon, which dropped its lead to 5.5 games over the Oakland Athletics in the AL West standings.  The Rangers are hoping Nelson Cruz can lead the offense against one of baseball’s best pitchers, going 5-for-10 with a home run when facing Price in his career.  Texas is 11-6 as a home underdog of +100 to +125 the last two-plus seasons.

Rangers starting pitcher Derek Holland (8-6, 4.92 ERA) has led the club to three consecutive victories, including a 12-3 home win over the Baltimore Orioles in his last effort.  The left-hander is 4-4 with a 5.43 ERA in 12 home appearances (11 starts), issuing 22 walks and striking out 63 batters in 71.1 frames.  In six lifetime outings versus the Rays, Holland has registered a 3-2 record and 6.49 ERA.

Sports bettors will likely back the Rays due to their 23-7 mark in Price’s last 30 starts as a road favorite, while the Rangers are 3-14 in Holland’s last 17 outings as an underdog of +110 to +150.

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