Athletics vs. Rangers Odds, Preview, Prediction: Skidding A’s Take on Texas (Saturday, July 10)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images. Pictured: Sean Murphy.
- The Rangers and Athletics play their second-to-last game before the All-Star break on Saturday afternoon.
- Texas is in last in the AL West, while Oakland is in a tight race for first.
- With their distance in the standings, D.J. James breaks down whether there is still value in betting on Oakland.
Athletics vs. Rangers Odds
|Time||4:05 p.m. ET|
|TV||Fox Sports 1|
|Odds as of Friday and via PointsBet.|
Possibly two of the hardest names to spell face off in an American League West matinee between the Oakland Athletics and the Texas Rangers.
James Kaprielian starts for Oakland, and Mike Foltynewicz goes for Texas. In one of the final games headed into the All-Star break, the A’s are in second place by 4.5 games and the Rangers are dragging up the rear of the AL West, behind by 19.5 games. Obviously, Oakland is the stronger team between these two, but who has the edge in this one?
Athletics Must Overcome Bullpen Deficiency
Kaprielian is an enigma. He ranks in the third percentile in average exit velocity against but still manages a 3.82 xERA, even with an overstated ERA of 2.84. He only allows an xBA of .225, while giving up hard hit balls 46.6% of the time. Given his strikeout abilities, opponents have difficulty putting a pin in him, as well. He sat down 10 Boston Red Sox batters in his last appearance, so he has enough in his arsenal to pass by strong teams. Facing a lineup like the Rangers, he should be just fine.
Behind Kaprielian, Oakland has one of the worst bullpens in the league. With Trevor Rosenthal being out for the rest of the season, unless they hit the trade market, they will not improve vastly any time soon.
They rank 27th in the major leagues in xFIP, and none of their consistently-used relievers sit below the 4.00 xFIP mark. Yusmeiro Petit is probably the best option, but he is overachieving this season with a 3.22 ERA and 5.38 xFIP. Lou Trivino has the same issue. His ERA is 1.96 and his xFIP is 4.38. Given the alternatives, however, these are the go-to options.
That said, even with issues in the bullpen, the A’s lineup should be able to build a large enough lead to stave off a Rangers comeback. They have five regulars hitting over the 100 wRC+ mark versus righties, but losing Mark Canha hurts, if even for the short term. Since June 1, though, Tony Kemp has filled the void in the lineup well with a 15.3% walk rate. They have plenty of bats to produce runs against a pitcher like Foltynewicz. His only plus is he can throw strikes, but the A’s have plenty of patience in their lineup to choose the right pitches to attack.
Rangers Lineup Will Struggle
The Rangers are another story. With Willie Calhoun sidelined, they only have three batters over the 100 wRC+ mark against right-handers. Joey Gallo has carried the team with 10 home runs since June 25.
Jonah Heim has been a nice addition to the lineup, but they do not have much more firepower other than Nate Lowe and Adolis García. Having four batters over the 30% strikeout clip is a tall task, playing into James Kaprielian’s strengths. More than likely, they will struggle against him.
The Texas bullpen is shockingly solid this season. Joely Rodríguez has had some bad luck with his ERA at 6.08 but xFIP at 2.74, but they have plenty of other options, too. Although the relief group is strong, if the A’s get to Foltynewicz early, they will be taxed in this one.
Texas definitely has the advantage with the bullpen and one of the best bats in this game in Joey Gallo. It ends there, though. The A’s have a strong lineup, even without Mark Canha, and they are patient enough to negate Foltynewicz’s one strength in throwing strikes.
Look for Sean Murphy and company to jump on him early, so the Rangers can do what they do best: show off their bullpen to contenders right before the trade deadline. Take the A’s at -133 to -155.
Pick: Oakland A’s -133