The Oakland Athletics begin a 10-game road trip on Monday night when they make their first visit to Globe Life Field to take on the Texas Rangers. On the road, the A’s are favored with a moneyline of -140 compared to the Rangers, who are listed at +125.
The A’s enter Monday’s game with the best record in the American League. Sunday’s win over the Angels was Oakland’s 20th of the season, becoming the first American League team to reach that mark. Only the Dodgers have won more games in 2020. Oakland now holds a 4.5-game lead over the Astros at the top of the AL West standings as they aim to win their first division title since 2013.
Meanwhile, the Rangers are spiraling out of control. They suffered a sweep to the Mariners over the weekend and have now lost eight games in a row.
Earlier this month, Texas won seven of eight games, making it look like the club had turned things around. But after eight straight losses, the Rangers are seven games under .500 and on the outside of the playoff picture.
The Only One
The good news for Texas is that Lance Lynn is set to start Monday’s game. Lynn has been the only reliable starter in the team’s starting rotation this season. Through six starts, Lynn is 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA.
He has been able to build off an outstanding 2019 campaign and is one of the best pitchers in baseball this season. He’s also going deep into games, pitching at least six games in all but one of his starts this year.
Earlier this month, Lynn pitched 6.1 innings against the A’s, allowing just one run on three hits while striking out seven. He has a strong history against most of Oakland’s heavy hitters.
The two exceptions are Stephen Piscotty and Marcus Semien. Fortunately for Lynn, Semien has struggled to get going this year, hitting just .202 on the season.
Key hitters Matt Olson and Ramon Laureano are among the Oakland hitters who are having a hard time finding their rhythm at the plate in 2020. However, Piscotty, Mark Chapman, and others have helped pick up the slack to take the A’s to first place.
Here Comes the Rookie
Rookie Jesus Luzardo will get the start for Oakland on Monday. The 22-year-old began the season as one of Oakland’s top prospects and has shown why. After making two appearances out of the bullpen at the start of the season, Luzardo has joined the rotation and made four starts.
Over 27 innings of work, he’s 2-0 with a 3.67 ERA. His last start was arguably the best of his young career. Against a red-hot Arizona team, Luzardo pitched 6.1 scoreless innings, allowing just four hits while striking out seven.
Perhaps more importantly, Luzardo tossed five shutout innings against the Rangers earlier this month. He allowed just two hits and two walks while striking out five. He’ll now get a second chance to face a lineup with quite a few holes in it. Joey Gallo and Nicky Solak are the only two regulars in the Texas lineup with an OPS over .700.
In Gallo’s case, he’s only hitting .200 on the season despite hitting seven homers. Of course, both Gallo and Solak went hitless against Luzardo earlier this month.
Not Worth It
Believe it or not, taking the Rangers in this game isn’t the craziest idea. With Lynn on the mound, they have a chance. But a +125 moneyline isn’t enough to take a chance on a team that’s lost eight in a row, especially against one of the best teams in baseball.
Bet on Oakland to beat Texas on Monday.