After taking each of the first two games of this series by a single run, the Texas Rangers (75-57) look to keep pace atop the incredibly tight AL West with a road sweep over the New York Mets (60-73) on Wednesday. First pitch from Citi Field is set for 6:40 p.m. ET. Righty Dane Dunning (9-6, 3.36 ERA) will go for the visitors, while the Mets give the ball to the recently promoted Denyi Reyes (0-2, 7.50).
Texas enters as -155 favorites on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, with New York at +130. The run total is set at 9.5.
Rangers-Mets picks: Wednesday, August 30
Out: SP Nathan Eovaldi (right forearm strain), 3B Josh Jung (left thumb fracture)
Out: INF Luis Guillorme (right calf strain), OF Starling Marte (right groin strain)
Dane Dunning vs. Denyi Reyes
Dunning has cooled off a bit since his torrid start to the season, but he continues to churn out innings for a Rangers team that’s desperately needed them amid a ton of rotation uncertainty. The righty has pitched to a 3.64 ERA this month, although he was roughed up for four runs on six hits in just four innings last time out in a loss to the Minnesota Twins. He didn’t have his slider or cutter working at all in that outing, which he really needs if he wants to have any chance at getting lefties out. (.775 OPS vs. left-handed hitters, just .603 against righties.)
With New York basically punting its rotation for the rest of the year, Reyes is being called up to make just his third start this season and the fourth of his career. His prior two outings with the Mets were disasters: Reyes was shelled for 10 runs on 13 hits in just 5.2 innings, all against the Braves. While it’s tempting to just chalk that up to Atlanta being Atlanta, it’s worth noting that the right-hander has also pitched to an ugly 5.80 ERA down at Triple-A this season — we just don’t have very much evidence that he’s a Major League-caliber starter.
Neither of these pitchers are inspiring a ton of confidence at the moment, but neither are these lineups — the Rangers have the league’s eighth-lowest OPS over the last two weeks, while the Mets haven’t scored more than three runs in their last seven games. In the end, I’m banking on the former holding more sway: It’s hard to believe that a lineup with as much talent as Texas’ won’t be able to knock Reyes around a bit, and if the Mets can scratch out a few against Dunning as well, we should hit this over.
Pick: Over 9.5
Dunning might not be particularly remarkable, but he’s infinitely more trustworthy than Reyes, who’s yet to prove that he can get big-league hitters out consistently. Texas is slumping at the plate right now, but I expect this matchup will help them snap out of it and keep pace in a three-way race atop the West.
Pick: Rangers -155