Athletics at Rangers – MLB Pick for June 6th
Despite boasting a record north of .500, the Oakland Athletics currently find themselves in 4th place in the A.L. West. The A’s remain very much in the thick of the playoff hunt regardless, though they did drop a game on Tuesday night at the hands of the lone sub-.500 team in the division, the Texas Rangers. The Rangers beat the A’s 7-4 in the opener of their 2-game miniseries down in Arlington.
Oakland will look to avoid the sweep tonight with right-hander Daniel Mengden on the hill. Mengden is far from a household name, but if he keeps pitching like he has, he’ll be a shoo-in for the All-Star Game. On the season, the right-hander with the curly mustache is 6-4 with a 2.91 ERA and a WHIP of 0.97.
Mengden isn’t a guy that will induce many strikeouts – his 2018 K-rate is just over 16 percent – and he’s a fly ball pitcher that has been able to get by despite allowing a decent amount of hard contact. His fly ball tendencies fit perfectly with the spacious settings at his home park, o.Co Coliseum. The Coliseum is known as one of the best parks for pitching in all of baseball, and Mengden knows how to use the dimensions to his advantage.
Mengden’s xFIP of 3.96 is solid, but it’s over a full run higher than his ERA. That would suggest the righty is due for a little bit of regression. It’s not that he’s a bad pitcher by any means, but he’s more league average than he’s shown of late. Mengden has been pitching deep into games – he’s gone at least 6 innings in 6 straight starts – thanks in part to his low pitch counts. Not striking anyone out helps you keep your pitch count down.
His hard-hit, fly ball tendencies could come back to haunt him tonight in Texas. Globe Life Park is one of the most favorable parks for power in the league. Mengden’s reverse splits should help him against a lefty-heavy lineup, but the Rangers do still boast plenty of pop in the order.
As for the A’s hitters, they’ll be dealing with the grizzled, tubby veteran, Bartolo Colon. The former Athletic (take that to mean whatever it may) doesn’t have bad season-long numbers. His 4.21 ERA and 1.03 WHIP are both more than serviceable, especially considering Colon is now 45-years-old. He generally pumps the strike zone with his middling fastball, which can certainly lead to some trouble.
Colon isn’t bad, but he’s quite hittable. Big Sexy has already allowed 15 home runs in just 66.1 innings this season. Only Josh Tomlin, Danny Duffy and Dylan Bundy have allowed more dingers thus far. As we know, the A’s happen to have one of the most powerful lineups in all of baseball. Oakland finished fourth in the league in home runs last season, and they’re fifth thus far this season with 76.
Colon won’t walk anybody, but he has a hard-hit rate of nearly 43 percent, which certainly leads to trouble. I would not be surprised to see the A’s put up a 10 spot on their own here. It’s also expected to be another muggy night in Texas, which is a boost to hitters. Give me the over on 10 ½ runs in this one.
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