Texas returns home after sweeping the Rays in Tampa Bay to conclude its long road trip. With the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline quickly approaching, the Rangers remain within striking distance of the second American League Wild Card spot. With a nine-game homestand commencing tonight, the Rangers have renewed hope in a playoff push.
“Our guys know what the urgency is to win baseball games,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “And to win them in the fashion we did in this set of three comeback wins, an extra-inning win — just a show of the heart and the grit these guys have. I think it’s a huge plus for us going forward.”
Texas is 11-1 in its last 12 games versus National League East opposition, 38-18 in its last 56 interleague affairs, 8-1 in its last nine interleague home tilts, 15-5 in its last 20 home games versus teams with a losing record and 35-17 in its last 52 home games versus teams with a losing road mark.
In contrast, the Marlins have lost six of its last 9 games and are likely “sellers” in the days leading up to the trade deadline. Miami is a money-burning 2-9 in its last 11 road games versus left-handed starters, 16-35 in its last 51 interleague road affairs and 5-13 in its last 18 interleague road games versus .499 or worse opposition.
Miami southpaw Adam Conley was demoted to Triple-A New Orleans earlier this season after being ineffective for the Marlins. The 27-year-old posted a 5.49 ERA, 5.21 FIP and a 5.76 xFIP in 62.1 Triple-A innings before being recalled earlier this month.
Prior to being demoted, Conley posted a 7.53 ERA in seven appearances (six starts), which followed a subpar Spring Training. Across 34.2 big league innings this season, Conley owns a 6.75 ERA, 4.88 FIP and a 5.46 SIERA. His command and control have all but disappeared, while a 36.0% hard contact rate remains a significant concern.
Conley now faces a Texas lineup that is 10-2 in interlegue play this season wherein the Rangers are averaging 6.0 runs per game (.355 OBP; .809 OPS). Let’s also note that the Marlins’ bullpen has struggled away from home, posting a 4.73 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in 163 2/3 innings of work.
In contrast, Texas southpaw Martin Perez is backed by a solid bullpen that owns a 3.26 ERA and 1.23 WHIP at home and a 2.90 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in interleague action. Perez is further aided by the fact that the Marlins are scuffling at the plate, averaging just 3.4 runs over the last seven games and 4.2 runs per game against left-handed starters.
I also like the fact that the Rangers are 8-2 in Perez’s last ten interleague starts, 19-7 in Perez’s last 26 home starts versus teams with a losing record and 4-1 in his last five outings against .499 or worse foes.
Take the Rangers at home as one of Oskeim’s Daily Sports Picks for Monday, July 24.
Daily Sports Picks for Monday, July 24:
- Texas Rangers (-141)
- Oakland Athletics (+150)
- Pittsburgh Pirates (-146)