Texas Rangers entertain Oakland Athletics in an MLB match-up that sees the hosts as favorites in the sportsbooks’ betting lines and we think the odds makers could have got it wrong (2.05pm ET, today, Thursday Sept 27).
With a 91-63 record on the season, the Texas Rangers have already assured themselves a birth in the playoffs. Their 91 wins is the best in the American league meaning that if the playoffs were to begin today the Rangers would have the advantage of playing most of the games in Arlington at Rangers Ballpark where they are a major league best 48-28 at home.
The Oakland Athletics could potentially make the playoffs via the wildcard. They currently hold the second wildcard spot but with the LA Angels trailing them by just two games, winning against Texas would go a long way to keeping the playoffs hopes alive.
With eight games remaining for both the Rangers and Athletics and Oakland just four back for the AL West title, a winning series against Texas could close the gap. With just these eight games remaining and the division still on the line, every single inning left to be played could very well make the difference of who wins the division and who is stuck having to play-in with the wildcard.
Pitching Match-Up: (OAK) Travis Blackley vs. (TEX) Matt Harrison
The 29-year-old Blackley has not pitched well against the Rangers this season. In 17 innings, he has given up 20 hits, nine earned runs and has an ERA of 4.76. His season as a whole however has told a bit of a different story.
Blackley was acquired by Oakland in the middle of May and mainly pitched out of the bullpen. He made his first start on May 22 against the LA Dodgers but even after pitching well, did not get his first win until June 15 when he pitched six strong innings and gave up just two runs.
After this start, Blackey began to pitch better. He won two games in the months of July and August and got his win-loss record to 5-3 on the season. He has started 13 games while with the Athletics posting an ERA of 3.48 and striking out 64. His biggest problem has really been control. In addition to being susceptible to the home run ball, Blackley has also walked 28 batters in just over 95 innings pitched.
Expected to oppose Blackley is Matt Harrison who takes the mound for the Rangers. On the season, Harrison has been a solid performer and has put up numbers to support that. In 30 games started, Harrison has given up 71 earned runs, 19 home runs and 57 walks. He has struck out 126 batters, has a WHIP of 1.26 and an ERA of 3.17. He is 17-10 on the season and the Rangers are 19-11 in the games he has pitched.
Against Oakland, Harrison has also pitched relatively well. In two games against the Athletics, Harrison has given up just five runs. He has walked four but struck out 10. His ERA for those games is 3.38.
What will be interesting in the pitching match-up is that both Harrison and Blackley have the tendency to walk batters. Harrison walks batters at a rate of 2.21 walked for every strikeout. He has a K/9 ratio of 5.63. Blackley’s numbers are not much better as he is averaging 6.02 K/9 and has a slightly better strikeout to walk ratio at 2.29. He is also holding opponents to a very low .232 batting average.
Blackley will need to continue to keep opponents hitting low against him if the Athletics hope to win this game. It will not be easy because in the Texas Rangers, Blackley faces one of the league’s most powerful offenses. The Rangers rank in the top three in the four major offensive categories. They are first in runs scored with 771 averaging approximately five runs a game, first in batting average with a clip of .274, third in on base percentage at .335 and second in slugging at .447. They also lead the league in hits averaging about 9.5 a game.
Harrison could have some trouble when it comes to the patience of the Oakland hitters. On the season, the Athletics are third in the league averaging 3.4 walks per game. On the inverse, the Athletics also lead the league in strikeouts as they are retired via the punch out on average, 8.6 times a game. This bodes well for Harrison as he can be a strikeout pitcher.
Who is Favored in the Rest of the Match-ups?
Starting with offense, the edge clearly goes to the Rangers. Not only do they have one of the highest scoring offenses, they also have a formidable line-up from top to bottom. Not the least of which contains OF Josh Hamilton who is first in the AL with 43 home runs, second with 124 RBI and fourth in runs scored with 100.
The defense favors Oakland as they are the American League’s second best defense. The Rangers are ranked in the middle of the pack as they are eighth best. That said, unless this game comes down to a misplay in the field, it is unlikely this advantage will serve Oakland particularly well.
The Rangers are 5-5 in their last ten and the Athletics are 4-6. Oakland however is coming off a win against Texas in their last match-up and are 9-4 against them on the year.
Athletics v Rangers Final Betting Pick & Advice
Both teams come into the game prepared to challenge for the division. With the Athletics coming off a tight 3-2 win in overtime, they may have saved their chance to win the division. Texas is currently the favorite but Oakland should get the win today:
- Bet on Oakland Athletics on the moneyline to beat the Rangers @ +195 with BetOnline Sportsbook (it is shorter @ +180 with Bovada).
Place Your Bets Here & Best Odds:
- All Americans: BetOnline Sportsbook goes Oakland Athletics @ odds of +195.
- All Americans except those from Utah, NY, Washington & Maryland state: Bovada goes Oakland Athletics @ odds of +180.
- Non-Americans: Place this bet with Bet365 (Athletics @ 19/10).