MLB Odds, Picks and Predictions: Rangers vs. Rockies (Sunday, August 16)
Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jon Gray
Texas Rangers vs. Colorado Rockies Betting Odds
|Rangers Odds||+125 [Bet Now]|
|Rockies Odds||-143 [Bet Now]|
|Over/Under||11.5 (-117/-105) [Bet Now]|
|First Pitch||3:10 p.m. ET|
Yesterday, the Rangers guaranteed themselves a series win against the Rockies after their second win in as many days. Today, they’ll look to go one further by completing the series sweep.
In this series, the Rangers bats have seem to come alive in the later innings, and yesterday was no different as they plated three runs in the eighth to hold off the Rockies for a 6-4 win. That win marked the sixth-straight road victory the Rangers have had against the Rockies.
Colorado will now turn to Jon Gray to try to avoid the sweep. Gray has had success in interleague games at home over his career. He’s 4-0 with a 1.85 ERA in six starts at Coors Field.
However, his recent form may suggest there is more room for concern than optimism in today’s matchup.
Jon Gray hasn’t been able to get on track this season. In four starts he’s 0-2 with a 6.41 ERA. His 1.28 ground ball-to-fly ball ratio is 48% lower than his output last season (1.90 GB/FB) and it’s his lowest performance since his rookie year when he posted a 1.29 GB/FB.
There’s been some talk about a drop in Gray’s velocity. His fastball is averaging around 94 mph which is two mph slower than last season when he averaged 96 mph. Studies have shown that a starter’s run average can increase by about .25 runs for every mph lost off their fastball and this could help to explain Gray’s struggles thus far this season.
Per Baseball Savant, Gray throws five pitches: a four-seamer (39.6%), slider (28.5%), changeup (12%), curve ball (11.3%) and a sinker (8.6%).
Compared to last season, he’s increased the use of his changeup and sinker by 14% while reducing the usage of his four seamer and slider by that same amount. This hasn’t necessarily yielded better results as particularly in regards to his changeup. Opposing batters are hitting .667 off his changeup with a 1.000 SLG and .692 wOBA. The key here is that if he’s lost two mph off his fastball, then he’s also lost some of the separation in velocity between the two pitches that can be so critical to a pitcher’s success.
Gray doesn’t appear to be fooling batters much as his hard contact rate is up six percent from last year (45.9%) and is the highest in his career. On pitches inside the zone, batters are making contact 80.5% of the time which is a 5.5% increase from last season. If Gray isn’t able to regain his velocity, these struggles are likely to continue for the remainder of the year.
Gray will be opposed by Rangers lefty Kolby Allard. Allard (0-0, 1.00 ERA) has made two starts this season and gone nine innings with a 0.78 WHIP. While he’s yet to pick up a decision, he’s been able to keep hitters off-balance with the combination of his cutter (40.8%), four-seamer (39.1%) curve ball (13%) and changeup (7.1%).
Batters are hitting only .125 off the left-hander and he’s stranding 85.7% of them that manage to get on base. On pitches inside the strike zone, batters are having less success this season making contact (74.5%) compared to last year (87.9%).
Allard’s success is that he’s able to generate a whiff rate of at least 20% on three of his four pitches. This means that a number of his pitches are equally deceptive and this points to why opponents’ batting average against him is so low.
This will be his first start at Coors Field but the young left-hander’s early success suggests that he’s well poised to handle the surroundings.
If a team is struggling on offense then all it takes is a visit to Coors Field to get back on track. The Arizona Diamondbacks would attest after their recent series in Colorado and I’m sure the Texas Rangers would also agree. The Rangers have been lackluster offensively this season and find themselves second-to-last in the league with 13 home runs and 59 RBI’s. The Miami Marlins, who’ve played five fewer games than the Rangers, have hit two more home runs and have two more RBIs than the Texas team.
Colorado has yet to match the Rangers during the later innings of this series. The Rockies are either getting out-pitched or out-hit during the clutch innings and I don’t see that changing today. Gray comes into this game with an ERA of 5.59 in 9.2 innings against the Rangers. Colorado could very well be trailing in today’s game by the time their bullpen is called in to action. This team simply hasn’t been able to put together nine complete innings and I wonder if their struggles late in game are starting to wear.
The Rangers opened up as +145 underdogs and have already been bet down to +125 at DraftKings. I’m in agreement with this move and I’ll look to grab the current number before it dips any lower. Get the brooms out. I’ll take the Rangers to complete the sweep of the Rockies this afternoon.
The Pick: Rangers +125 (play down to +115)