Oakland Athletics vs. Texas Rangers Prediction
First pitch: 8:05 p.m. ET
Probable pitchers: Frankie Montas (7-6, 4.21 ERA) vs. Kyle Gibson (4-0, 2.09 ERA)
Approaching the Midsummer Classic, there can be a little more at stake for certain pitchers. Count Gibson as one.
The nine-year veteran has never even sniffed a possible All-Star berth prior, yet here is the former longtime Minnesota Twin (a longtime Zylbert Guy as well) in contention with just a few weeks to go for attaining the honor of actually being this year’s American League All-Star starter.
That’s not an exaggeration. While there’s several other viable candidates (though one recently went down in the form of Tyler Glasnow), Gibson deserves as much consideration as anyone, owning the AL’s third-lowest ERA (2.09). Furthermore, his .206 batting average against ranks as seventh lowest in the league and is by far a career-best mark for the 33-year-old.
Sure, Gibson’s strikeout rate — a puny 7.1 K/9 — easily pales in comparison to the other All-Star starring candidates but that’s perfectly fine given the new style of pitching he’s adopted. Gibson has had years of striking out around a batter per inning and these days, he’s added an effective cutter that’s playing a big assist in generating favorable contact for him.
According to FanGraphs, only 18.8 percent of batted balls against Gibson have registered as line drives. Additionally, hitters are pulling the ball 39.2 percent of the time, an indication they’re not getting as much of a read on Gibson previously. Both these marks are clear career bests.
Hopeful for another gem from Gibson, who’s yielded only 13 total runs across his last 12 starts (or a 1.51 ERA!), we just need some steady work from the counterpart. Fortunately, that’s just what Montas does.
The burley 255-pound right-hander is settled in a nice groove right now, having allowed more than three runs in a start only once in his last 10 turns. And even in that one instance where he did get tagged for more than three, Montas still punched out 11 batters for his fourth double-digit strikeout showing in the Major Leagues.
Notably, Montas is consistently hanging around in games, pitching the A’s into the sixth or deeper during all of the aforementioned last 10 starts. He has a fine opponent to continue that stretch in the Rangers, whom he’s had some success facing. His 10.59 K/9 in seven lifetime meetings (four starts) signals that.
Montas likely isn’t All Star Game bound but that shouldn’t distract anyone from the fact he’s enjoying a nice campaign. Look for both starts to continue the ride.
Pick: UNDER 8.5
MLB Picks & Leans - Monday June 21
Braves-Mets Under 4.5 (Game 1)
Indians-Cubs Under 7
Dodgers-Padres Under 7
2021 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: “42-31-5,” +6.91 units
Yesterday’s Result: Phillies-Giants Under 8 (loss)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit