The AL West Division rival Texas Rangers and Oakland A’s close out their series on Thursday afternoon from Oakland in a matchup of guys named Mike starting on the mound. Yes, it’s the only all-Mike game of Thursday. The A’s are MLB betting favorites.How to Bet Rangers at Athletics MLB Odds & TV Info
- When: Thursday, 3:40 PM ET
- Where: Oakland Coliseum
- Probable pitchers (away/home): Mike Minor/Mike Fiers
- TV: MLB Extra Innings
- Stream/gameday audio: https://www.mlb.com/live-stream-games/
- Opening MLB Lines: A’s -150, Rangers +140 (total 8)
Texas is 0-2-1 in its first 3 series of the season, 1st time to go without a series win this late into a campaign since 2018 (opened 0-3-1). The Rangers haven’t been good on the road this year so far but that’s no surprise. They finished 33-48 (.407) on the road in 2019 for a 2nd straight season, T9th in A.L. and T21st in MLB. Beginning June 29, the team was 15-27 (.357) in final 42 away games in 201, 3rd-lowest win pct. in A.L.
The Rangers bullpen got a bit deeper this week when lefty Joely Rodriguez was activated from the 10-day injured list. He suffered a strained left lat muscle back in April and figures to operate in middle relief. Center fielder Danny Santana is on the injured list with a right forearm strain. Santana started each of the Rangers’ first 4 games, going 1-for-17.
So is first baseman Greg Bird due to a right calf strain. The physical issues continue for Bird, who has appeared in just 186 total major league games since making his debut back in 2015 with the Yankees.
This week, Texas also made a trade as it sent right-handed pitcher Ariel Jurado to the New York Mets in exchange for cash considerations and a player to be named later. Jurado went 12-16 with a 5.85 ERA in 44 games/26 starts for the Rangers from 2018-19, his only Major League action to date.
It’s lefty Mike Minor on the bump (0-2, 5.91). He was great last year but not so much in 2020 yet. The 32-year-old needs 5 strikeouts to reach 1000 for his career. He would join 16 other active left-handed pitchers with 1000+ career SO.
Minor will pitch on 5 days’ rest due to Monday’s off day. He was tabbed with the loss after he allowed 6 earned runs over 5.2 IP in the Rangers’ road opener on Friday at San Francisco (5.2, 9 H, 6 R-ER, 2 BB, 3 SO, 1 HR, 98 pitches/64 strikes), a 9-2 defeat for Texas. Minor carried a 2-1 lead into the 5th inning before allowing 2-out, 3-run home run to Wilmer Flores.
Minor is 2-4 with 5.65 ERA in nine career games and 36.2 innings vs. Oakland, including 0-3, 9.56 (17 ER/16.0 IP) in 3 starts vs. the Athletics last season. Prior to 2019, he had posted a 2-1 record and 2.61 ERA (6 ER/20.2 IP) across 6 games vs. the A’s from 2014-18.Why Bet on Oakland?
The A’s won the season series last year, 13-6, vs. Texas. It was their third consecutive season series win. They tied an Athletics record for most home runs vs. one team in a season last year with 35 (also Seattle in 2019.)
In Tuesday’s game vs. Texas, Stephen Piscotty hit a walk-off grand slam to give the Athletics a 5-1 win. With the game tied at 1-1 in the ninth and one out, Piscotty was able to clobber a Jesse Chavez offering to center field. The former Cardinal outfielder is now hitting .276/.344/.448 to begin this truncated season, and that was his first round-tripper of the campaign.
Oakland made a couple of moves in the bullpen this week, placing Jordan Weems on the 10-day injured list with a strained right lat and calling up James Kaprielian from their alternate training site. Weems was on the A’s Opening Day roster and made his Major League debut July 28 against Colorado. He allowed two runs on four hits and no walks in 3.0 innings against the Rockies and posted a 3.60 ERA and .278 opponents batting average in two relief appearances with Oakland.
Kaprielian was acquired from the New York Yankees in the Sonny Gray trade on July 31, 2017. Kaprielian combined for a 4-3 record and a 3.18 ERA in 19 games, including 16 starts, with Single-A Stockton, Double-A Midland and Triple-A Las Vegas last year.
The A’s have committed only six errors thus far, which is tied for second most among teams in the West. Last year, the A’s set an Athletics record for fewest errors in a season (80). The A’s have turned just four double plays, which is tied for fifth fewest in the majors.
It’s Mike Fiers (0-0, 5.40) on the mound. Fiers went six innings and gave up two runs while not factoring into the decision in his start against the Mariners last Saturday. Fiers allowed four hits, and he walked one with three punchouts. The right-hander gave up a two-run single to Kyle Seager in the third, but that was all that came across in a very effective start for the 35-year-old.
His strikeout rate had already been in steady decline, but the Oakland defense vacuums up a lot of that contact. Fiers an established veteran, is coming off a career 2019 year in which he went 15-4 with a 3.90 ERA over 184 2/3 innings.Expert Prediction
- A’s 4, Rangers 3