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The Texas Rangers will host the Cleveland Indians in the second game of their four-game series here. These teams enter this one with virtually identical records, which would’ve been shocking had you said that before the season started. Adrian Sampson will start for the Rangers, with Zach Plesac on the mound for the Indians. Oddsmakers have Cleveland as a slight road favorite here.
The Indians have picked things up a bit, but this season has still been a disappointment overall. Expected to once again be a contender in the American League, they’ve been just average instead. They entered this series off three straight wins against the Tigers, but Detroit is one of the league’s worst teams and in free-fall. They suffered a bunch of injuries early on, and haven’t looked the same since. They’ve fallen very far behind the Twins in the division, so the best case scenario seems to be a wild-card berth. They’ll have Zach Plesac on the mound here, a rookie. Plesac has been good so far, but he’s only made four career starts.
He also has been getting worse as he’s progressed and got roughed up in his most recent start. In 5 and 1/3 innings against the Reds, he gave up three home runs and four earned runs. He’s very young and inexperienced, so I’m worried about how he’ll be able to handle the Rangers’ ballpark. Their park is perhaps the most hitter-friendly in the entire league after Coors Field, and it can be very hard to navigate. Texas’ lineup is also a lot better than expected, and I think Plesac will struggle here. If he does then Cleveland is in big trouble, as they’re just 23rd in the league in runs scored this season.
Rangers Surprising Everybody
The Rangers have outperformed just about everybody’s expectations this season. They finished in last place in the AL West last year, and most people picked them to finish there again this season. But they’ve been surprisingly strong and entered Monday with a very solid 38-33 record. They have a very young team and weren’t expecting to compete for much, so to say this is an excellent result would be an understatement. They’ve been particularly good at home recently, going 14-5 in their last 19 games at Arlington. To keep the momentum going, they’ll turn to Adrian Sampson here. Sampson has had his ups and downs, but overall he’s been very solid, especially lately.
🚨🚨🚨JOEY GALLO BUNTED AGAINST THE SHIFT🚨🚨🚨 pic.twitter.com/sWX3mDnIF8
— Cut4 (@Cut4) June 9, 2018
In four of his last six starts, he’s given up only one run, which is an incredible accomplishment considering where he pitches. Even though it’s a hitter-friendly park Sampson actually pitches better at home, with a 2.70 ERA in home games this season. Not surprisingly, the Rangers are 4-1 in his last five home starts. Texas sometimes struggles to hit lefties, but they hit right-handers like Plesac very well, going 13-6 in their last 19 games against righties. The real story of this Texas team has been their young lineup, which has produced the third-most runs of any team in baseball. Guys like Elvis Andrus, Hunter Pence, and Joey Gallo have been dominant, and I think they should continue to roll here.
- 14-5 in their last 19 home games
- 4-1 in Sampson’s last 5 starts
- 13-6 in their last 19 games vs. right-handed starters
- 1-6 in their last 7 vs. American League West
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Getting the Rangers as a home underdog here is a steal. Plesac has only made four career starts, and Sampson has been very good recently. The Rangers are 14-5 in their last 19 home games, and there’s something really special about this team. They’ve been tearing the cover off the ball, and the Indians have been a pretty big disappointment. There’s no reason for Cleveland to be favored here.
Prediction: Rangers +110
Full-Game Total Pick
I also like the over a lot in this spot. Plesac is extremely inexperienced, and he’ll now be going on the road for his first start in a park that’s very hitter-friendly. He should struggle, and to make matters worse he’s facing one of the toughest lineups in the entire league. The Indians also have a lot of talent on offense and Sampson has been up and down this year, so both lineups should have plenty of success.