On Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers will play the middle game of their three game series in Arlington. Coming into Tuesday’s affair the Texas Rangers were in first place in the American League West, while the Tampa Bay Rays sat in third place among the American League East. Texas leads the Los Angeles Angels by 3.5 games, despite winning just four of their last ten games overall. The Rays are 9 games behind the Red Sox in the division, and 7.5 games behind the Yankees for the wildcard. The starting pitchers for this game are James Shields for the Rays, against the youngster Alexi Ogando for Texas.
Texas Rangers (-130)
Ogando has had an excellent season in his first full season in the big leagues. The 27 year old from the Dominican Republic holds a 12-6 record and a 3.57 earned run average. Ogando came into this season with just a 4-1 career record as a starting pitcher. In his last start, Ogando went just four innings, losing to the Boston Red Sox. Texas is one of the best hitting teams in all of Major League Baseball. The Rangers rank third in runs with 686, and second in batting average with a .276. Michael Young is the Rangers leading hitter, as he is batting .337, with 87 runs batted in. The Rangers got bad news late last week, when they found out Nelson Cruz would be missing for the next three weeks with an injury. Cruz leads the Rangers in homeruns, with 28.
Tampa Bay Rays (+122)
Tampa Bay knows they have to get red-hot to have any chance at the postseason. The Rays have been hot and cold on the offensive side; ranking 22nd in the league with a .246 batting average. The Rays top hitter this season has been Casey Kotchman, who is batting .323. Evan Longoria has blasted 24 homeruns and drove in 77 runs to lead the team. The Rays pitching ranks sixth in baseball with a 3.61 earned run average, while ranking 4th in quality starts, with 82. James Shields will make the start, which will be his 28th of the season. Shields is 12-10 with a 2.90 this season. In his career, the right hander is 68-61. Shields is coming off a complete game win in Toronto on August 26th.
Tampa Bay needs win in a bad way. The Rays have the offense that can win games, if they are hot. Too many times this season, the Rays offense has been cooled off. Texas seems to be a pretty consistent offensive team, with a bunch of big bats in the lineup. Look for youngster Alexi Ogando to pitch well once again, and the Rangers to come away with a win. We are bettng the Texas Rangers to beat the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night.
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