This might be the bounce back that the Arizona Diamondbacks needed. They aren’t too familiar with a playoff race, but they’re in the thick of one after winning six of seven games including the first of this three-game set with the Texas Rangers last night.
Arizona is a half game back of the final Wild Card spot at 65-61 while Texas has a 1.5 game lead in the AL West.
For the middle game of this series, Arizona will have its ace on the mound as Zac Gallen goes opposite Jon Gray.
Gray is 8-6 with a 3.52 ERA in 22 starts while Gallen is 13-5 with a 3.17 ERA.
With a win-streak building and their ace on the mound, the Diamondbacks are favored at home.
Rangers vs. Diamondbacks odds, run line and total
Rangers vs. Diamondbacks prediction and pick
Zac Gallen is an absolute stud and is the favorite to win the National League Cy Young for good reason. He has a great strikeout and walk rate, but the only worry is that is in the bottom 10% of all pitchers in average exit velocity and hard hit rate.
That’s not good news against the Rangers.
Texas as a team has a hard hit rate of 41.8% which is in the top 10 of baseball and obviously much better than the league average. The Rangers are also in the top three of baseball in average exit velocity.
I do have faith in Gallen, but if he starts giving up a few more extra base hits than normal don’t be surprised.
On the other side, Jon Gray is the pitcher to be much more worried about. Gray has a 4.16 FIP and a 4.24 xERA, so he might not be as good as his 3.52 ERA would indicate.
When we look at the bullpen, which is Arizona’s biggest weakness at the moment, it’s not a huge concern in this one. Not because it’s improved, it hasn’t, but because Texas also struggles in the back end.
The Rangers rank 21st in bullpen FIP since July 1 while Arizona is 27th. That isn’t a big enough difference for me not to take the favorites in this one.
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