The Oakland Athletics try to win a second straight game when they take on the Texas Rangers in the first of a three-game weekend series between AL West rivals on Friday night. The series opener is scheduled for an 8:05 p.m. ET first pitch at Globe Life Field.
The Athletics dropped two of three to the Houston Astros this week, salvaging the series finale 2-1 on Thursday night. Oakland is 50-39 and in second place in the AL West, trailing the first-place Astros by 4½ games and leading the third-place Seattle Mariners by 3½ games.
Texas lost a home series to the Detroit Tigers, including a 5-3 setback on Wednesday, to fall to 34-53. The Rangers are in last place in the AL West.
MLB odds have the Athletics with a moneyline of -140, while the Rangers are listed at +125. The over/under for the contest has been set at nine runs.
The Athletics have dropped eight of their last 12. Pulling out a win in the series finale despite scoring just two runs gave the team a good result.
“We’re not playing our best baseball right now, so it’s important not to get swept and stay out of serious ruts,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said after Thursday’s win.
Left-hander Cole Irvin will try to build on the momentum generated from the win. The 27-year-old comes into the game with a 6-7 record and 3.56 ERA, striking out 73 and walking 19 in 101 innings.
Irvin is 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA in his one start against Texas this season, which came in a series in June. He went five innings and allowed three earned runs on seven hits, striking out four and walking one. Irvin hasn’t taken a loss since May 30, going 2-0 with a 2.62 ERA in six starts in June and July.
First baseman Matt Olson had an RBI double in Thursday’s win, giving him 57 RBIs, tied for 14th in the majors. Olson is tied for eighth in baseball with 21 home runs, and his .283 batting average ranks 25th in MLB.
Outfielder Ramon Laureano was 5-for-13 with two doubles and two runs scored in the series against the Astros. Laureano has 13 doubles, two triples, 13 home runs, 30 RBIs and 39 runs scored.
If anyone doesn’t want to see the All-Star break, it might be Texas outfielder Joey Gallo, who has found his groove over the last few days. In the three-game series against Detroit, Gallo went 4-for-10 with three home runs, three walks, five RBIs and five runs scored.
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) July 7, 2021
Gallo, who is second in baseball with 107 strikeouts, has four home runs this month and 10 over his last 10 games, driving in 18 runs in that span. He’s batting just .239. Gallo’s 23 home runs rank sixth in the major leagues, and he leads Texas with 52 runs scored.
Outfielder Adolis Garcia is close behind in the home run race, tying for eighth with his 21. Garcia is tied for eighth in RBIs as well with 59 while leading the Rangers with a .273 batting average.
Right-hander Jordan Lyles will be on the mound for Texas. The 30-year-old is 4-5 with a 4.98 ERA this season, striking out 73 and walking 29 in 90⅓ innings.
Lyles has faced Oakland once this season, taking a no-decision on June 22 after going six innings and allowing two runs on five hits in a 13-6 Athletics win. Lyles has won his last two starts, including Saturday’s outing against Seattle in which he went six innings and gave up two runs on five hits, including a home run.
These teams have played seven times this season and alternated wins and losses, with Texas holding a 4-3 edge. The Rangers are 21-23 at home, while the Athletics have gone 23-17 on the road.
James Kaprielian (4-3, 2.84 ERA) will get the start for Oakland on Saturday, followed by Chris Bassitt (9-2, 3.41) in the series finale on Sunday. The Rangers will counter with Mike Foltynewicz (2-8, 5.17) and Kolby Allard (2-5, 3.45), respectively.
The MLB series prices for this three-game set have the Athletics at -170, while the Rangers are the underdogs at +140.
Athletics Win Opener
Irvin has been hard to beat over the last month-plus, and the Athletics are feeling the pressure to get some wins to keep up with Houston. As hot as Gallo has been, he can’t carry Texas by himself.
When doing your MLB betting, take Oakland to get the win on the road.