Something clearly went wrong with the Rangers who are mired in a four games losing streak, while their divisional rivals have recently won the fifth consecutive game. In these conditions, it comes as no surprise that Oakland is six points above Texas and the chances of anything to change at the top of the West division are slim to none.
Oakland is very likely to win the division and they will probably finish with the second-best record in the American League which will guarantee home pitch advantage throughout most of the playoffs. By contrast, Texas are on the verge of losing their wildcard after winning the division for months in a row and they need to end the slide tonight. The A’s took the first two games of the series and if they manage to sweep the Rangers, this will be the first achievement of this type in more than four years.
Pride aside, Texas can’t afford another defeat because their opponents in the Central and Eastern division are closing the gap separating them from the leaders. There are two wildcards in play and the Rangers are currently competing for the second one, but the remaining rounds announce some difficult fixtures. Having home pitch advantage and Perez on the mount are usually good reasons for optimism but Oakland has the countermeasures for both of them.
To start with, they are one of the best traveling teams in the league and have already won two games in Texas, so they are clearly comfortable at Arlington Park. Second, they have a starting pitcher that can brag about even better numbers than Perez, although the two players are evenly matched and this could easily turn into a pitchers’ duel.
Perez has won nine decisions this season and conceded an average of 3.6 runs per game virtually the same number as his counterpart. By contrast, Parker won 11 times and nine of these victories are consecutive ones with the last defeat dating on May 22 when Oakland lost to Texas. Both teams are highly motivated to win, but the visitors are focused mostly on securing home pitch advantage in as many playoffs game as possible and they can certainly weather a defeat tonight.
By contrast, this is a do or die situation for the Rangers who can already feel the ground shaking underneath them and see their very playoffs qualification in jeopardy. Not surprising, the bookmakers are finding it difficult to determine a favorite in this fixture and as a result credit both teams with similar odds that revolve around 1.90. The best choice for punters who are not risk-averse is to decide on a team and then find the bookmaker where they can bet on it to win by two runs or more at odds of 2.70 or higher.