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Rangers Try to Get Rid of Gray

Updated: .May 13, 2017

By Charles Jay

The Oakland Athletics and the Texas Rangers have put themselves in a position where, if they don’t get hot and remain that way, are going to fall out of touch the American League West. For the Rangers, this would be particularly upsetting because more was expected from them at the outset of the season. They will get together for the second game of their three-game set on Saturday at 8:05 PM ET at Globe Life Park in Arlington. America’s Bookie customers will have the opportunity to place wagers after the first pitch is thrown, with two different “Live Betting” options in their sportsbook interface.

In the first game of the series, on Friday night, it was a tight pitching duel between Jesse Hahn and Andrew Cashner, but Oakland, upon taking a 2-1 lead into the ninth-inning, turned to their closer, Santiago Garcia, and he let it slip away, allowing the Rangers to tie the game first, then losing it on Joey Gallo’s three-run homer with two men out. That was the fourth straight win for Texas, bringing their record to 17-20. That puts them percentage points ahead of Oakland, which is 16-19. And both of these teams are 8.5 games behind the runaway freight train that is the Houston Astros. While it might be presumptuous to say that race could be over, for all intents and purposes, by the All-Star break, the fact of the matter is that Texas and Oakland might only have the wild-card to dream about before too long.

Taking the mound to the Athletics will be Sonny Gray, who has returned with two starts after coming off the disabled list. He will be opposed by Nick Martinez, who like Gray, is after his first victory of the season.

In the baseball betting odds that have been posted on this game, the Rangers are favored at home:

Texas Rangers (Martinez) -120
Oakland Athletics (Gray) +100

Athletics +1.5 Runs -190
Rangers -1.5 Runs +165

Over 10 Runs -110
Under 10 Runs -110

Gray, who when healthy had developed a reputation as an “ace,” began the season on the DL with a strained lat, and he has made a pair of starts; in his last, he went 4-2/3 innings while allowing one earned run (four total) against the Detroit Tigers, and was taken out after throwing 98 pitches, which is his most since last August, when he went six innings against these Rangers. As far as he is concerned, this is an ongoing process in which, in his words, he is having a bit of a struggle with so-called “put away pitches,” after getting an opposing batter to two strikes. That should come in time, but the question is, how much time? Gray was third in the American League’s Cy Young voting in 201, with a 14-7 record and 2.73 ERA, but injuries limited him to just 22 starts last season, when he was -11 with a 5.69 ERA.

Martinez is the last starting pitcher to have lost for the Rangers. He is 0-2 with a 5.18 earned run average, and he has allowed ten earned runs in his last two starts (encompassing 11-1/3 innings). Baseball bettors saw him face the A’s once last year, and he left after four innings, allowing five runs. Martinez’s best season occurred a couple of years ago as well, as he fashioned a 3.96 ERA for the Rangers, though most of the other numbers were very modest.

Both of these right-handers have shown themselves to be susceptible to the long ball. Gray has given up three homers in his 10-1/3 innings of work, while Martinez has surrendered seven round-trippers in 24-1/3 frames. Obviously this is not where either hurler would like to be, but one place WE can be is on the OVER, in this pick’em situation on the total (-110 each way), as the Charles Jay / America’s Bookie Challenge continues.

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