Texas Rangers (+109) at San Diego Padres (-119, 6.5 o/u)
The last time Texas righty Colby Lewis (14-6, 4.38 ERA) took the mound, he was pounded by the big bats of the Toronto Blue Jay, giving up six hits and five runs over just five innings in arguably his worst game of the season. The Rangers (68-61, 36-29 away) have been red-hot since then, winning four straight; Lewis will look to get back on track, personally, and keep the team’s streak alive tonight when the Rangers visit the San Diego Padres (63-67, 31-30 home) at Petco Park (10:10 PM Eastern).
After falling 12-4 to Toronto in Lewis’ last start, the Rangers bounced back by taking the finale against the Jays and then sweeping the struggling Orioles.
The bad outing from Lewis came as a surprise, given that he’s been the ostensible ace of the rotation all season; but the squad is confident their go-to guy can respond tonight.
“I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that today’s players are more talented than ever, and they have high expectations of their leader,” said Texas manager Jeff Banister.
The Rangers, who are 7-3 in their last ten, have opened up a 1.5-game lead over the Twins for the second AL Wild Card berth. They remain four back of the Yankees for the first Wild Card spot, though, and three back of the Astros in the race for the AL West crown.
The Padres, meanwhile, are four games below .500 and 9.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West. The disappointing season continued over the weekend, as the team dropped two of three to the MLB-worst Phillies. San Diego did manage to take yesterday’s game, 9-4, though, snapping a three-game losing streak, overall.
The Padres’ prized offseason acquisition, James Shields, got the win. “[James] really picked us up today and we needed it,” said San Diego interim manager Pat Murphy. “He had a real good fastball and he competed well. That was huge.”
The Padres will send Tyson Ross (9-9, 3.42 ERA) to the mound tonight to face Lewis. The righty will be making his 28th start of the season. He’s been up-and-down to date, but hasn’t lost in his last three, and picked up a W against the Nats last time out, going 6.1 innings and giving up six hits and four runs while fanning nine.
With Texas coming in hot and Lewis, eager to rebound, on the hill, the Rangers at +109 look like better value, even on the road.
Pick: Rangers (+109).
(Photo credit: Red3biggs (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)