I’ve actually been waiting to write up this game for a while this morning while surveying the rest of the card. It will be the Athletics and the Rangers here with Cole Irvin for Oakland and Jordan Lyles for Texas and a total that is up to 9.5.
The A’s are deserving road favorites and growing road favorites at that. They salvaged a game in Houston, which was good, and now they’re back playing a bad team in the Rangers. They’ve pummeled a lot of bad teams this season. They’re 4-8 against Houston, but good against most other teams, including the bad ones.
There are a lot of reasons to be invested in this game. The first is that I view Cole Irvin as a regression candidate. If you caught yesterday’s edition of The Bettor’s Box, I explained why, but I can do it again here.
Irvin has only allowed a .447 batting average on batted balls of 95+ mph. That was tied for the 10th-lowest going into yesterday’s games when I rattled off the stats on the podcast. His .526 wOBA against is the eighth-lowest in that split. He is a negative regression candidate on hard contact.
It seems to maybe be starting, as he has allowed four runs in three of his last four starts and at least four runs in six of his last nine. Since May 20, he has a 4.05 ERA, so that has been on the rise, while his strikeout rate has decreased even further.
Visiting pitchers in Texas have been experiencing spin rate and velocity declines since the foreign substance crackdown, which has allowed Texas’s offense to be a little bit better, especially Joey Gallo, while their pitching staff continues to struggle everywhere.
Jordan Lyles is another guy struggling. He has a 4.98 ERA with a 5.07 FIP. If not for a 75.3% LOB%, things would be even worse for him. Lyles has allowed 17 homers in 90.1 innings. He’s also allowed a 40.8% Hard Hit%. Lyles has the highest batting average against on 95+ mph batted balls at .598 and the fourth-highest wOBA at .716.
I see runs in this game this evening with some regression for Irvin and the continued baseline for Lyles, which is not particularly good. We’ll have tons of balls in play in this game, which should give us the chance at baserunners and hopefully lots of plate appearances with runners in scoring position.