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Adam Trigger

Adam Trigger

(969) Cleveland Guardians at (970) Texas Rangers

(969) Cleveland Guardians at (970) Texas Rangers
May 14, 2024 8PM EDT
Play Rating:
5% – Texas Rangers -107 B Lively (RHP), J Leiter (RHP) Must Start

Rangers (8:05PM ET BSGL, BSSW, MLB.TV) – Hanwha covers the +1.5 and we are now rolling with 5 straight wins into Tuesday night!  It’s back to the MLB bases in an attempt to press this solid run and we will head to the Lone Star State where the Texas Rangers take on the Cleveland Guardians in the second game of a three-game set at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

Let’s start with Jack Leiter, he’s gotten roughed up in his first two big league starts but the Rangers didn’t really do him any favors in terms of when they decided to call him up and all signs point to this kid being very good.  Leiter got the call for a road day game in Detroit back in mid-April, he didn’t have his best stuff but he was also completely let down by his defense, specifically on a play in center field that should have been made to save three runs after he settled down in his MLB debut.  Leiter was sent down where he continued his fantastic season at AAA Round Rock where he’s posted a 2.84 ERA with a 0.91 WHIP and .165 batting average against this season.  Leiter has 37 strikeouts in 25.1 innings and has been dominant which in almost every case translates at the MLB level for a pitcher of Leiter’s stature.  It didn’t in Leiter’s most recent start but, again, not the best spot as Leiter was called up to be the 27th man in a double header.  It’s still on Leiter to be better but again there were plays that weren’t made behind him and I still thought he threw the ball well despite giving up four runs over four innings of work.  I think Leiter is in a far more favorable situation tonight, it will be his first start at Globe Life Park in front of the Rangers faithful and he will have the full day to prepare.  He’s also been with the team for a few days so it’s not like he’s scrambling to meet the team in a different city while trying to get ready to pitch.  The upside on Leiter is MASSIVE, behind Paul Skenes he’s the top pitching prospect in baseball this season and suddenly no one is talking about him despite a very strong start at AAA.  I think Leiter turns in his best effort to date and puts the Rangers in position to snap their skid here. 

It's been a bad few days for the Rangers, they have lost a season high four straight and have been outscored 22-6 during that span.  The Rangers bullpen has been hammered (that’s no surprise that’s been the weakness of this team) but I don’t think the relief unit can be worse at this point so it’s priced in here and there’s probably some positive regression on the horizon as Rangers relievers aren’t going to be this poor all season (remember, this was a team that figured it out enough to win a World Series last year).  Cleveland has an elite bullpen but they use their relief unit as much as any team in baseball and even in a 7-0 shutout win still needed four relievers including closer Emmanuel Clase to hammer down the win.  Cleveland didn’t score until the 8th inning last night, the Guardians have 14 runs over the past two games but that’s incredibly deceiving as last night was a 0-0 game into the 8th and the day before against the White Sox the Guards managed 7 runs on just 5 hits.  Prior to that Cleveland had dropped three straight to the lowly White Sox scoring just six total runs and I think this lineup misses Steven Kwan and his league leading .353 batting average setting the table.  Cleveland enters play at 26-16 and I think the Guardians continue to regress big picture until they get some key pieces back.

Another guy that’s probably got some regression coming is Cleveland starter Ben Lively.  I’ve been watching Lively pitch for years, he spent three full seasons in KBO with the Samsung Lions and we targeted him a number of times when he was on the Reds last season so I think I have Lively pegged as good as any pitcher in the league. Lively doesn’t have stuff he can throw by MLB hitters, he relies on elite command which he’s had to this point but he also got off to a similar strong start in Cincinnati last year.  By the end of 2023 Lively had a 5.38 ERA and 1.36 WHIP which is right around where I would expect Lively to be in a 20 game sample at the MLB level.  Lively enters play with a 2.63 ERA and 1.21 WHIP this season, he’s been able to pitch out of trouble but the 6 walks in his last two starts are a concern.  Lively was only able to strike out two in his last start against an abysmal White Sox lineup and was EXTREMELY fortunate the 8 hits and 3 walks only turned into 3 runs for the Sox.  Right handed hitters have hit Lively hard, there’s a number of good ones in this Rangers lineup and I think that all lines up for the Rangers to break out with a home win here.  Play on Rangers -107 for 5% (or 5 units)

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