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Posted at 1:15 PM EST.
7:10 PM EST. Bizarre is about the only way one can explain the record (35-30) of the Texas Rangers through the first 65 games of the year. Texas lost 95 games a season ago and didn’t wow anyone with their offseason. They traded away their best player in Jurickson Profar and watched Adrian Beltre retire. The team sent off two of the four pitchers who had at least 1.0 WAR in 2019 and there weren’t any players with major injuries set to return and boost the club. No top prospects were expected to make an impact. The Rangers’ biggest free agent commitment on the position player side was catcher Jeff Mathis. Playing the roles of injured reclamation projects were Drew Smyly, Shelby Miller, and Edinson Volquez. The reclamation projects have failed miserably. Smyly, Volquez, and Miller have made 19 combined starts and put up an ERA and xERA of around eight. The projections say the Rangers are still a team in the bottom third of baseball when it comes to talent. Only Joey Gallo is projected to be above average on the position player side, with Mike Minor on the pitching side. The last 60% of the season is not a bad place to start fading these imposters, especially after they beat Chris Sale last night.
Ariel Jurado (RHP - TEX) comes into this start with a 2.78 ERA after 13 appearances and four starts. Dude was in the pen to start the year but was a starter his entire minor-league career and keeps earning more starts. Jurado’s stellar control rates are the keys to his success, as he stays around the plate and forces teams to put his sinkerball in play. However, he also made the jump from Double AA to the majors in May last year and only has 22 innings of Triple AAA under his belt. In Triple-A this season before being called up because the Rangers needed bodies, Jurado was tagged for 29 hits in 22 frames with an oppBA of .315. At the major-league level, his swing and miss rate is 8%. Ariel Juradois at the mercy of BABIP and his defense, which by the way, isn’t very good. Dude has upside but he needs seasoning and Fenway is the perfect place for his charmed life to stall.
There is a risk here in playing Darwinzon Hernandez (LHP - BOS) but we’re going to suggest that the risk is worth it because Henrandez has some of the filthiest stuff one could imagine. A signing out of Venezuela in 2013, Hernandez reaches the majors with all of 41 innings at the Double-A level and a ton of questions surrounding his command profile. What’s not in question is the stuff, as the 6’2, 245 pounder can flash two plus-plus pitches in his fastball and curve. The fastball is the more consistent of the two offerings, sitting mid 90s and touching 99. The pitch features natural cut and comes in at a difficult angle to pick up. The curve is more tricky, as while it can flash a devastating out-pitch, he has trouble commanding it, and oftentimes hitters can sit on the fastball when he can’t locate it. There’s a changeup in here as well, and it can flash plus too. It’s also of note that he only gave up 1 HR over 101 innings last year, so if he can keep the ball in the park, it will further give him opportunities in leverage, even if he’s struggling to find the zone. In 40 innings this season at Portland (Double-A), Hernandez walked 32 and struck out 59! There’s big time upside here, but it’s all dependent on Hernandez improving his command significantly. If he’s throwing strikes, the Rangers are toast here and if he’s not, they still might be toast.
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BOSTON -1½ +123 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.46)