Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#3971 Cleveland Guardians vs.
#3972 Texas Rangers
Friday, September 23, 2022 at 8:05pm EDT
Written by Chris King

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A pair of American League teams on opposite sides of the playoff cut line open up a weekend series on the diamond down in the Lone Star State. The Cleveland Guardians are on the road as they kick off a three-game series with the Texas Rangers Friday night. Cleveland was on the road in the Windy City as they tried to sweep the White Sox Thursday night. The Guardians rolled to an 8-2 victory in the middle game of the set Wednesday night. Texas won the rubber game of their three-game set at home with the Angels as they prevailed 5-3 Thursday afternoon. The Guardians took two of three at home in the first series between the teams this season June 7-8.

Cleveland Guardians Try to Take Next Step Toward AL Central Crown

Cleveland took the first two games of their series with the White Sox on the road after rolling Wednesday and took another step toward the AL Central crown. The Guardians entered Thursday night with a six-game lead over the White Sox in the AL Central race with a magic number of eight. On Wednesday night, Cleveland got three hits from Steven Kwan (two runs, RBI) while Andres Gimenez (run, two RBI) and Will Brennan (RBI) each had two hits. Kwan (his fifth) and Josh Naylor (his 19th) each went deep in the contest. Triston McKenzie (11-11) earned the win in this contest as he went eight innings, allowing two runs on six hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts.

Cody Morris is on the mound for the Guardians as he makes his fifth start of the season in this contest. He comes in 0-2 with a 2.30 ERA, a 1.532 WHIP, nine walks and 15 strikeouts over 15.2 innings of work this season. Morris suffered a tough loss in his last start, which came Sunday at home against the Twins. He threw six innings, allowing one run on six hits with one walk and six strikeouts in game the Guardians lost 3-0. In his last three starts, Morris is 0-1 with a 1.32 ERA, a 1.32 WHIP, seven walks and 12 strikeouts over 13.2 innings of work. Morris, in his fifth career major league start, faces the Rangers for the first time. That makes this his first career appearance at Globe Life Field. Prior to his recall, Morris had no record with a 1.69 ERA, a 0.703 WHIP, six walks and 39 strikeouts over 21.1 innings of work in nine appearances, six starts, split between the Guardians’ Rookie League team of the Arizona Complex League and Triple-A Columbus of the International League.

Texas Rangers Look to Pull Home Upset

Texas won the final two games of their three-game set with the Angels as they clawed out a win on Thursday afternoon. The Rangers entered Thursday night third in the AL West, 33.5 games behind the Astros for the division lead. They have been eliminated from playoff contention. On Thursday afternoon, Texas trailed 3-0 before rallying to earn the win. Marcus Semien (run, RBI) was the lone player with two hits for the Rangers while Corey Seager broke a 3-3 tie with a two-run homer, his 32nd, in the eighth inning to send Texas to a win. Martin Perez threw six innings, allowing three runs on five hits with three walks and five strikeouts, and didn’t factor in the decision. Matt Moore (5-2) earned the win with a scoreless eighth, allowing one hit with no walks and one strikeout. Jose Leclerc allowed one hit with no walks and striking out the side in a scoreless ninth for his seventh save.

Jon Gray is expected to get the ball here for the Rangers as he makes his 22nd start of the season. He comes in 7-7 with a 3.80 ERA, a 1.141 WHIP, 35 walks and 125 strikeouts over 111.1 innings of work this season. Gray took the loss in his last start, which came on the road against the Rays Saturday. He threw 4.1 innings, allowing two runs on two hits with one walk and four strikeouts in a game the Rangers dropped 5-1. In his last three starts, Gray is 0-2 with a 5.79 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP, two walks and 12 strikeouts over 9.1 innings of work. Gray lost his lone career start against the Guardians, which came in the first game of a doubleheader on the road on July 7. He threw five innings, allowing five runs on six hits with four walks and three strikeouts in a game the Rangers lost 6-3. Gray is 4-1 with a 3.44 ERA, a 1.118 WHIP, nine walks and 44 strikeouts over 36.2 innings of action in seven career starts at Globe Life Field.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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Texas has been eliminated from playoff contention and the last couple of weeks of this season will be a chance to evaluate personnel for next season. Gray has been trending in the wrong direction, going 0-3 with a 5.74 ERA over his last four starts. Morris is still looking for his first career major league win but he’s pitched fairly well in his limited outings this season. Cleveland is chasing the AL Central crown and they’re intent on trying to close that out as soon as possible. The Guardians have played solid baseball against their top two competitors in the AL Central over the last week. They carry that momentum on the road here to take the opening game of this series.

Prediction: Cleveland Guardians +105

Full-Game Total Pick

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Cleveland has seen the under post a 74-69-6 mark going into Thursday’s contest. The Guardians are 18th in runs per game with 4.26 per contest, though that number edges up slightly to 4.53 runs per game on the road. Cleveland has an average total of 8.22 runs per contest, a number that bumps up to 8.44 runs per game on the road. Texas has seen the over post a 73-70-6 record in 149 games on the year entering Thursday night. The Rangers are 11th in runs per game with 4.46 runs per contest and that drops to 4.21 runs per game at home on the year. Texas has an average total of 9.05 runs per game and that number climbs to an average of 9.16 runs per game at home. This total seems a little low given the production each team has put up at the plate this season. Look for the over to hit in this contest as we see eight or nine runs on the board.

Prediction: Over 7.5
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Written By Chris King , "Chris King"

Chris King has been immersed in the world of professional and collegiate sports for more than three decades. Whether it's playing pickup games or being involved in organized sports to being a fan, he's checked all the boxes. From the NFL to arena football, the NHL to the KHL, the NBA to the WNBA to college hoops, and even MLB to the KBO.  If it's out there, he's covered it and bet on it as well, as Chris has been an expert bettor in his career.  Before joining Winners and Whiners back in 2015, his work appeared around the internet and in print. He's written books for Ruckus Books about college basketball, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, golf, and the World Cup. If you're looking for the inside track on hitting a winner, do yourself a favor and read what Chris has to say.