The Rangers have a seemingly insurmountable lead in the AL West division, but tonight’s opponent looks to start chopping it down in Arlington.
Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers
Oakland opened up its 10-game road trip in Cleveland and missed an opportunity to collect a sweep with a 3-2 loss on Thursday night. “We’ll get on the flight and go get ‘em on Friday,” manager Bob Geren said. “We have to be ready.” The Athleticis have won six of their last nine games overall and are 22-17 since July 10, which is the fourth-best record in the American League over that span. The starting staff has been key in the team’s success over the last 18 games, allowing three earned runs or less and tossing six innings in all of those contests. The club fell a game below .500 in August with last night’s loss (11-12, -190) and is 35-47 overall during the month the past three seasons (-560). Oakland has produced a winning 19-18 record against divisional opponents in 2010, but has gone 68-83 versus Western foes over the last three campaigns (-1,060).
A pair of southpaw starters take the stage in a series that has a playoff-type atmosphere surrounding it in Arlington.
Minnesota Twins at Texas Rangers
Minnesota has run into some problems in the first two games of this four-game set in Arlington, almost getting no-hit on Monday night and then falling by a 4-3 score last night to see its lead drop to 3 1/2 games in the AL Central. The series definitely has a playoff feel and manager Ron Gardenhire knows the importance of these situations during the regular season by saying, “We missed a play in the outfield and it ended up costing us again. That’s the difference in this ballgame.” The Twins are still a solid 17-8 against the AL West this season and 14-8 this month (+510). Beginning tonight, the club has 11 more games against the division, with six occurring this week. Minnesota has also performed well against left-handed starters this season, producing a 25-18 mark in 2010 (+540) and a 82-76 record over the last three seasons (+30).
Both teams are coming off disappointing defeats in starting a crucial three-game series in Arlington.
Boston Red Sox at Texas Rangers
Boston will look to rebound from a disappointing 6-5 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday in Toronto, as closer Jonathan Papelbon suffered his sixth blown save of the season. “I didn’t have much power or energy in my delivery today,” said Papelbon. The Red Sox are now 4-3 on their current 10-game road trip and have fallen four games back in the wild card race behind the Rays. The collapse of the bullpen was unusual, with the unit posting a 1.57 ERA over its last 15 games and the closer’s 0.75 ERA in 24 previous appearances against the Blue Jays. The club is 10-5 as a road underdog of +100 to +125 this season (+600) and the total is 7-7 O/U in those contests. Boston is just 7-6 over the course of this month, but is a fantastic 41-27 in August the last three years (+900).
Game 1 of this series was a classic pitching duel, but tonight’s contest may light up the scoreboard.
Los Angeles Angels at Texas Rangers
Los Angeles fell to 1-2 on its current six-game road trip after dropping a 3-2 contest to the AL West-leading Texas Rangers on Thursday night in Arlington. “Each game with these guys is important,” last night’s starting pitcher Jered Weaver said. “Six back is not where we want to be.” The Angels are 4-3 since the All-Star break, but 7-11 this month (-480). An important trend to pay attention to this weekend is the Halos propensity to perform at a high level over the weekend. Los Angeles is 28-17 in games played from Friday-Sunday this season compared to 23-29 the rest of the week. The team will find itself a +175 to +200 road underdog for just the third time in three years, posting a 1-2 mark (-20) with the total being 2-1 O/U in those games.
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).
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