Monday’s baseball slate is small with rather high quality, highlighted by a nationally televised game that will feature the two best teams in the American League a month into the year. The Oakland A’s travel East for a series against the team they are tied atop the division with. Both the A’s and the Rangers have 15 wins to this point in the year and will throw their best pitcher in tomorrow’s matchup. Sonny Gray opposes Yu Darvish in one of the finer matchups you’ll see in the AL. The Rangers are definitive favorites with a total of 7.5 runs.
I totally respect both of the offenses going in this game. But all of the attention has to be on the starting pitching in this one. On one side there’s Yu Darvish – the ace from Japan and runner-up in last year’s AL Cy Young voting. The 27-year-old from Habikino has picked up exactly where he left off last season, too. Darvish is just 1-0 in four starts despite posting a 1.61 ERA in those appearances. His worst start, however, came in his last outing against Oakland where he gave up three runs in six innings at the Coliseum. Take that how you’d like, but the point is that Darvish is one of the very best two, three pitchers in the league right now and there’s never a reason to think he’ll give up any more than three runs in any of his starts. Oakland is a familiar opponent and rival and Darvish should build on his last start at home in this one.
Everyone learned who Darvish was after last season, but the baseball world is still becoming familiar with Sonny Gray. Gray is Oakland’s prized arm out of Vanderbilt who broke onto the scene a little late last year. A mainstay in the rotation from the start of this year, it won’t be much longer until the greater baseball population takes strong notice. Like Darvish, Gray actually surrendered the most runs he’s given up in a start his last time out when he took on Texas. The three runs over seven innings pumped Gray’s ERA up almost half a run to 2.25. With electric stuff and beautiful mechanics, Gray will be a mainstay as an All-Star pitcher for the foreseeable future.
You can’t go low enough in this one. The books are getting too cute with the hook on the 7. Under is the play.
Free Pick: Under 7.5 (+100)
2014 YTD: 8-4 +3.65