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While the Rangers aren't contending for a playoff spot in 2018, their offense is still solid thanks to veterans like Adrian Beltre and Shin-Soo Choo
Welcome back to the LazyBets Free MLB Picks column for Thursday, August 2nd. We picked up another win on Wednesday, as the Cardinals bullpen only allowed one earned run over 7 ⅓ innings to beat the Rockies 6-3. Once again, the line we grabbed (STL -125) handily beat the closing line (STL -140 at Bovada). If you’ve been checking in and betting our picks early, you’ve been reaping the rewards of beating the crowds.
We’ve found another diamond in the rough for Thursday - and when we say rough, we mean it. We’ll be looking at a matchup between two last-place teams, but we think the oddsmakers are underrating just how terrible one of these two teams is. Let’s get into it.
Baltimore Orioles (Cashner) at Texas Rangers (Gallardo)
We’re not going to sugarcoat it: this is one of the worst pitching matchups of the year. Both Andrew Cashner and Yovani Gallardo have probably seen their best days come and go, and both are now simply eating up innings for teams that have no interest in winning.
Without going deep into the stats - that would be too depressing - we’ll sum it up by saying that these guys are about equal in terms of their ineffectiveness. Both struggle with walks, neither has a great strikeout rate, and both should give up more than their fair share of homers. Gallardo’s projected rest-of-season FIP of 5.13 slightly edges out Cashner’s at 5.20, so we’ll call the Texas righty the better pitcher in the matchup, but let’s face it - they’re both pretty awful.
With starters this bad, the burden will likely fall on the bullpens in this one. Texas has had the better bullpen thus far (10th in reliever WAR to Baltimore’s 13th), but both teams traded significant relief arms at the deadline - the Rangers dealt closer Keone Kela and lefty Jake Diekman, while Baltimore traded away Darren O’Day and Brad Brach. Both bullpens figure to be worse going forward, but it’s tough to tell how much worse - we’ll call the bullpen matchup a wash to be safe.
While the pitching matchup appears to be a dead-heat, the offenses are anything but even. The Orioles have had the 26th ranked offense in baseball by wRC+, and they just recently traded two of their best offensive players in Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop.
What’s left ain't pretty - Adam Jones and Mark Trumbo are still slightly above-average hitters, but like Cashner, their best days are in the rear-view mirror. Outside of those two, there’s literally nobody else on the roster who has even provided average production this season. We also have to mention -- shield your eyes, Orioles fans -- Chris Davis is having one of the worst seasons of all-time, posting a horrific .157/.242/.302 in 363 plate appearances. Any offense would be sunk by getting those numbers out their first baseman, and Davis will doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon - he still has 4 years, 84 million left on his contract. Ouch.
Texas hasn’t exactly lit up the league, but they rank a much more respectable 17th in wRC+, and unlike the Orioles, they didn’t trade away any significant bats at the deadline. Shin-Soo Choo is quietly having a resurgent season (137 wRC+), Joey Gallo is still productive despite his putrid batting average, and the ageless wonder Adrian Beltre can still get it done at a high level in the field and at the dish. They’re not elite by any means, but this lineup looks like ‘27 Yankees when compared to the hitters the Orioles are rolling out there.
That’s our pick for Thursday - while it’s certainly not a marquee matchup, you’d be surprised how little that matters when there’s some money on the line. Go check out our top rated sportsbooks, grab a sign-up bonus and bet with us for the rest of the season - with a record like we've got, how could you not join in on the fun?
We’ll see you back here tomorrow. Good luck to all you degens out there, and let’s get a win!
Bet the Rangers -138
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