It turned out to be a good thing I added the Rangers play late because Cleveland flopped in the early game on Saturday after briefly taking a lead in the middle innings.
The Rangers didn’t disappoint, overcoming an early 2–0 hole and pouring it on late to win 13–4. Joey Gallo homered again and Rougned Odor was on base a couple more times. Shin-Soo Choo sat out to give his sore quad a day to rest but Jeff Bannister plugged Delino DeShields into the leadoff spot and he made things happen with his legs, stealing third and advancing home on a bad throw.
I don’t know if Choo will play today. The quad has been a nagging injury for him and he says it’s gotten worse in the last two weeks. It’s noteworthy for a couple of reasons. The first is that he’s been so hot that his absence makes a difference in the Rangers’ lineup. Texas is also still likely to be a seller at the deadline and Choo is a contract it may want to dump. Of course, trading him will be difficult if he’s damaged goods. I’m not counting on him to play Sunday.
That would make things marginally easier for Reynaldo Lopez, who has the mighty task of taking on a hot Rangers’ lineup in the heat. Lopez was close to average in eight starts last season and he’s been more than that in twice as many this year.
The 24-year-old Dominican has a 3.73 ERA, about 10 percent better than league average, but that figure includes two starts where he got bombed. In those two, he gave up 13 runs in 4.2 innings and in the rest, he’s been fantastic. Those fantastic starts include his lone outing against Texas in mid-May when he went a season-high eight innings and gave up just two hits in a White Sox win.
But that was a different Texas team back then, one without Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre. Odor was also hitting .169, which he has since pumped up to .229. Robinson Chirinos wasn’t in the lineup that night either. He isn’t regarded as a dangerous offensive player but he’s on a six-game hitting streak that includes three home runs and 12 RBIs.
I’m tempted to play the under because of the success both starting pitchers have had this season but I’m wary of the Rangers’ offense doing exactly what it did last night against Chicago’s bullpen. Texas is too big to play straight-up so let’s lay a single run and bank on it doing what it’s been doing for the last couple weeks and winning by multiple runs.
Free Pick: Texas -1 (-123)