Texas Rangers at Tampa Bay Rays (100, 7)
Offense is something the Texas Rangers haven’t had to worry about this season. Their .275 team batting average ranks third in the show, while their 4.98 runs per game average is good for fourth overall in the league. But at least recently that potent attack hasn't looked quite as menacing.
Outfielder Nelson Cruz left Saturday’s game with a left hamstring problem. The team hasn’t released any information about the injury, but will certainly miss his bat if he’s out for a while. Cruz was hitting .320 with 16 homers and 64 RBIs.
Meanwhile, Vladimir Guerrero is sputtering at the dish and Ian Kinsler is still on the DL, so the timing of this latest injury is far from ideal. Texas has managed more than four runs just twice over its last six games.
And to make matters worse, Texas will spend the night dealing with David Price’s nasty stuff. The 6-foot-6, 255-pound lefty was a little off in his last start, going just five innings on 115 pitches, but did strike out nine Tigers and picked up his 15th win of the year.
Toronto Blue Jays at Oakland Athletics (-140, 7)
If the Toronto Blue Jays are going to have any hope keeping pace with the rest of the beefed-up AL East, they’re going to need Shaun Marcum at the top of his game.
Unfortunately for Jays bettors, Marcum’s picked a terrible time for a slump. He allowed four dingers against the Boston Red Sox in Wednesday’s 10-1 blowout loss as a -110 favorite and has now given up 13 runs over his last two outings.
“It was one of those days when I didn’t locate anything at all,” Marcum told reporters after Wednesday’s game. “My mechanics felt off a little bit, but that’s no excuse. I’ve still got to make pitches and try to find out a way to grind out innings and limit those guys to a lower amount of runs over there.
Apparently, Marcum’s surgically reconstructed elbow doesn’t have anything to do with his recent struggles, but it’s definitely something Toronto brass will keep an eye on.
The Jays have handled the A’s pretty well this year and Marcum’s in a good spot to bounce back against Oakland’s brutal offense. The A’s average just over four runs per game.
Pick: Blue Jays