In one of the more impressive turnarounds this season, the Arizona Diamondbacks have gone from one of the most disappointing teams in the second half to an 8-2 record over their last ten games. With their win last night, Arizona has a three-game winning streak going, and they can secure their fourth straight series win with a victory tonight. We’ll preview the second and final game of their series with the Rangers before going over which side I’ll be backing.
Losing in extra innings will happen throughout a season, but losing in extra innings after your starter gave you eight shutout innings can’t be described as anything other than a bad loss. That was the case for the Texas Rangers last night, as they entered the top of the 9th inning with a 1-0 lead thanks to an Adolis Garcia home run and a phenomenal start from Jordan Montgomery. Texas could not close it out, though, with Aroldis Chapman letting up a game-tying home run in the bottom of the inning.
Even though the Rangers retook the lead in the top of the 11th inning, reliever Will Smith allowed three runs in the bottom, resulting in a 4-3 loss. With the awful loss behind them, the Rangers will have Jon Gray on the mound for the series finale. The right-hander has turned in two straight strong outings in which he worked seven innings in each and allowed one earned run or fewer.
Gray will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Montgomery and not his bullpen tonight when taking on the Diamondbacks lineup. Arizona did look lost at the plate for most of the game last night, as their first extra-base hit came when Ketel Marte tied the game in the bottom of the ninth with a solo shot. Their other two extra-base hits came in the 11th when Geraldo Perdomo drove in a run with a double, and Tommy Pham walked it off with a two-RBI double.
Not only did Arizona complete two impressive comebacks last night, but they return tonight with their ace on the mound, in Zac Gallen. The right-hander dominated the Padres over his last two outings, allowing one earned run in 12.1 innings, which brought his ERA to 3.17 in 162 innings of work.
Arizona is currently priced at (-125) on the moneyline, and I’ll be backing them for my play tonight. The Diamondbacks' offense had to deal with a lefty for most of last night’s game which has given them trouble as of late, but tonight they match up with a right-hander. Pitching-wise, Arizona also gets their ace on his home mound, where he has produced his best numbers this season.
Gallen is facing a Rangers lineup tonight that is hitting .234 and ranks 20th in OPS and wOBA over the last 30 days against right-handed pitching on the road. We saw them struggle offensively last night against a slew of bullpen arms and righty Slade Cecconi, and now they have to face Gallen, who has a 2.22 FIP and .204 batting average against in 79.1 home innings this season.
Rangers starter Jon Gray has been strong over his last two outings but is still in the 44th percentile in xERA/xwOBA and 27th percentile in xBA. Back facing a righty starter, the Diamondbacks' offense is hitting. 263 and has the 4th highest hard-hit percentage against right-handed pitching at home over the last month. The Rangers bullpen also has the 11th-highest xFIP in the league over the past month, and we saw firsthand last night how much they’ve been struggling.
Arizona Diamondbacks (-125)