One year ago, a match between Oakland and Texas would’ve been the highlight of the day as these two teams were fierce competitors for the first position in the AL West. At least in theory, they are still competing for a playoff spot, but the A’s have such a commanding lead over the Rangers and Seattle, that they only need to worry about the LA Angels.
In a nutshell, Oakland has won 63 games and lost 38 which is the best record in baseball, while the Rangers have the exact opposite and not surprisingly the worst numbers. It goes without saying that the intensity of this match and the fact that the stakes are quite high might change a great deal in the strategy used by Texas. They have nothing to lose and will take more chances, but this could also backfire and the hosts have a couple of players that can finish the Rangers off early in the game.
Jason Hammel has a winning record with Oakland but he was far from impressive this season, with the last two games being simply appalling. Luckily for him, his new team has the resources to put him through even on a bad day, so it is very likely that his numbers will improve. According to the official website, Jason is optimistic about his chances to return to form against the Rangers, as one can read below http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2014_07_25_oakmlb_texmlb_1&mode=preview&vkey=preview_web_away&c_id=oak.
It definitely helps that he will be playing against Jerome Williams who wasn’t particularly sharp in his five games that resulted in a decision. He only won once and that prompted the Houston Astros to trade him, after using Jerome as a reliever for a couple of games. His ERA crossed the psychological threshold of 6.00 and there are not many reasons to expect him to contain the offensive threat posed by Oakland.
Bookmakers are under no illusion that despite having home pitch advantage, the Rangers are unlikely to win the series, or the opening match for what it matters. It took them a while to determine the correct odds for this encounter, but they came to a conclusion and punters can now make a decent profit by backing the visitors. At the end of the series, the A’s should consolidate their position at the top of the standings, while the Rangers will add at least two more defeats, including the opening match.