Looking to bolster their place in the American League standings, the Texas Rangers will visit the Cleveland Guardians for a three-game set this weekend at Progressive Field.
For Friday’s series opener, Texas is -1.5 (+136) on the run line and a slight -115 favorite to win outright. Meanwhile, Cleveland is +1.5 (-162) ATS and -105 on the moneyline. The projected total is 8.5 (-110 Over, -110 Under). Read on as we break down both teams in our Rangers vs Guardians betting preview.
The Texas Rangers have been among the most profitable MLB teams for bettors, going 77-68 against the run line. But they haven’t fared quite as well on the road, where they are 36-34 ATS. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Guardians are 75-72 ATS but just 34-38 at home. The Guardians have gone Under the total in 58.3% of their games, the highest rate in MLB. Conversely, the Rangers have hit the Over at a 55.5% clip. Keep that in mind when assessing the odds in our Rangers vs Guardians betting preview.
Texas Down, Not Out
The Texas Rangers have faded after a scorching start. Yet they remain in the thick of the American League playoff race. The Rangers entered Thursday’s series finale in Toronto with a record of 81-64, leaving them 1.0 game behind the Houston Astros atop the AL West baseball standings. While they’re still in control of a wild card spot, their standing is tenuous.
Can the Rangers — 1.5 games ahead of the Blue Jays in the wild card — hold on? FanGraphs is giving them a 78.9% chance of making the postseason. However, a wild card may be more likely at this point. Texas’ struggles with Houston — they are just 4-9 against the Astros, including 1-5 in the second half — could end up being the difference in the division.
On top of that, the Rangers’ rotation is suddenly in flux. Max Scherzer, whom they acquired from the New York Mets via trade in July, is expected to miss the rest of the season with a teres major strain. While he likely won’t need surgery, the three-time Cy Young winner, who is 13-6 with a 3.77 ERA, also won’t be available for the playoffs. The Rangers were already without ace Jacob deGrom because of an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery.
Guardians Fading … and Fading
The Cleveland Guardians have lost seven of their last 10 games, all but crushing their faint playoff hopes. At 69-78, Cleveland is closer to winning the AL Central (7.5 games back) than making the wild card (12.5 games back). But again, neither is very likely.
Despite a last-minute push to fortify their roster off the waiver wire, the Guardians never really got on track. They’ve scored just 15 runs over their last five games and rank near the bottom in several offensive categories, including runs (27th), home runs (30th) and OPS (27th) according to MLB scores.
Third baseman Jose Ramirez has put together another strong season, hitting .278 with 23 home runs, 75 RBI and an .834 OPS. He’s also stolen 24 bases. But he hasn’t gotten much help. The only other player with an OPS north of .800 is first baseman Josh Naylor, who missed all of August with an oblique injury. Naylor’s absence was simply too much to overcome given their lineup’s shortcomings.
⚾ Game 1 ⚾
Lucas Giolito vs Jon Gray
Giolito has allowed 13 runs in 10 innings since being acquired off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels on Aug. 31. He had made only six starts with Los Angeles after getting traded by the Chicago White Sox before the Aug. 1 deadline. Overall, the right-hander is 7-13 with a 4.89 ERA. He opposes Gray, who is 8-7 with a 3.96 ERA.
⚾ Game 2 ⚾
Tanner Bibee vs Dane Dunning
Bibee has been effective as a rookie, going 10-4 with a 3.03 ERA. He’s struck out 137 in 136.2 innings. In his first start against Texas, July 16, the 24-year-old right-hander allowed two runs over six innings in a 6-5 loss. The Rangers will counter with Dunning, who is 10-6 with a 3.91 ERA. His victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Sept. 11 was the first by a Rangers starter in 22 games, halting a franchise record for futility.
⚾ Game 3 ⚾
Gavin Williams vs TBD
Williams has logged a 3.43 ERA in 15 starts as a rookie. He’s also struck out 74 in 76 innings. The 24-year-old right-hander faced Texas on July 15, allowing two runs over five frames in a 2-0 defeat. Notably, the Rangers have yet to announce a starter to oppose him. It’s important to remember that could affect the odds in our Rangers vs Guardians betting preview.
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