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Free MLB Pick Thursday

905/906 UNDER 9 Texas Rangers (Minor) at Oakland Athletics (Fiers) 2:40 PM CT

Mike Minor has lost both of his starts this season but his FIP of 3.36 sits well below his 5.91 ERA, he has simply had terrible luck with nearly half of his base runners coming around to score. Minor has been a reliable option for the Rangers the past two seasons but he has struggled vs. Oakland allowing 17 runs in three starts last season. The Athletics crushed left-handed pitching with an .811 OPS in 2019 but the splits have gone the other way so far this season. With five straight wins and 28 runs so far in August, Oakland is emerging as a serious AL contender but the Coliseum remains a favorable pitching park. Mike Fiers also had a FIP much lower than his 5.40 ERA and should have better luck with base runners in upcoming starts. Fiers actually pitched quite well in his last three starts of 2019 vs. the Rangers and last night’s 10-run output was quite misleading. There were only 14 hits in the game and a combined seven at-bats with runners in scoring position. Even with the loss the Rangers preserved its bullpen last night while Burch Smith gave an extended relief outing to keep Oakland with most top options available today. Last night’s total was just 8 and there isn’t significant reason to move today’s number a full run given a pitching matchup that is of similar caliber, albeit with much less strikeout potential. Both teams are outside MLB’s top 18 in team wOBA and strong walk rates for both lineups aren’t likely to be a big factor in this pitching matchup.

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