After a nice series win over the New York Yankees, the Texas Rangers got a much-needed day off before they play host to the Arizona Diamondbacks tonight. We’ll preview the game before going over which side I’ll be backing, along with a pitcher prop I’ll be taking in the game as well.
The Rangers had lost four straight games, including the first game of their series against the Yankees, but after two straight strong pitching performances and an offensive outburst on Sunday, they are back on track. Texas scored 15 runs on Sunday afternoon, which impressively isn’t the most runs they’ve scored in a game this season. Four different hitters in the Rangers lineup left the yard in the game, as the lineup continued to show why they rank in the top half of the league in hard-hit percentage.
On the mound tonight for the Rangers will be right-hander Jon Gray, who will be looking to give the team their fourth straight strong pitching performance. Gray has thrown 25.3 innings with a 3.91 ERA in five starts this season, along with 17 strikeouts and 13 walks. The righty threw six innings against the Reds in his most recent outing, but Gray ended up getting the no-decision after allowing three earned runs.
Gray will face a Diamondbacks lineup that is also fresh off a rest day and ranks 5th in the league in BAbip. Arizona scored four runs on seven hits in their most recent loss on Sunday to the Rockies, but they are still above league average in slugging percentage, OPS, and OPS+.
Tonight the Diamondbacks will hand the ball to one of the most dominant starters in the league right now in, Zac Gallen. The righty has thrown 28 straight scoreless innings and is fresh off a start in which he racked up 12 strikeouts to bring his total up to 51 on the season. In 37.7 innings of work Gallen has put up a 2.15 ERA, all while allowing just five walks and two home runs.
Arizona is currently priced at (-143) on the moneyline, and I’ll be targeting them for my play in this one. The Diamondbacks are 7-1 in their last eight road games against a righty starter and have won the previous five games that Gallen has started. Texas may be coming into tonight with some momentum, but Arizona holds the advantage on the mound.
Jon Gray is currently in the 24th percentile in expected slugging percentage and has struggled a bit when pitching at home this season. The righty has thrown 11.2 innings at home and has allowed three home runs, seven walks, and five earned runs. Gray has been a fastball-heavy pitcher for his career and is throwing it 46% of the time this season, but opponents are hitting .342 with a .632 slugging percentage against it. This bodes well for an Arizona lineup hitting .264 against righties this season.
The Rangers lineup will have to face a starter in Zac Gallen, that is in the 76th percentile in barrel percentage, 82nd percentile in chase rate, and is in the top 7% of the league in xWOBA. It’s hard to find a starter that has been more impressive than Gallen this season, and I think he can continue his dominance tonight on the road.
For my prop play in this one, I’ll be targeting Jon Gray to go under his strikeout total of 4.5, which is currently priced at (+100). The righty has gone under this number in four of his five starts this season and has not gone over two strikeouts in three straight games. Gray enters tonight in the 13th percentile in strikeout percentage and 40th percentile in whiff percentage, and he faces a team tonight that has shown a lot of plate discipline this season.
Entering tonight, the Diamondbacks have the third-lowest strikeout total in the league and are second in the league in at-bats per strikeout. Overall, Arizona poses a tough matchup for any strikeout prop, but especially for Gray, who is struggling to get swings and misses this season.
Arizona Diamondbacks (-143)
Jon Gray Under 4.5 Strikeouts (+100)