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Brewers vs. Rangers, 4:05 ET
I think I probably would’ve believed you if you told me the Brewers were in first place in late August and were likely to take down the division. I believed in the Cardinals and put money on them, but I wouldn’t have been shocked. Now, if you told me the Rangers would be in first place, I probably would not have believed you. Today, the two clubs in first place in their division, the Brewers and Rangers, square off.
The Brewers have actually been playing pretty good baseball overall. How have they maintained their game and even improved on it? The same way they have for the past few years: solid pitching, good, reliable fielding, and timely hitting. The pitching staff has been the staple of the Brewers for years and I expect it to continue, even if they are slightly worse than they have been in past seasons. The hitting hasn’t ever been something to really fear, but they do find a way to string together hits and get what they need to done. Today, they send out Freddy Peralta, one of the pitchers that hasn’t been quite as sharp this season as he was in the past couple of years. Peralta isn’t having a bad season, but it just hasn’t been as good as we’ve seen him. In August he has been great, with just four earned runs allowed over 19 innings. He has now posted four consecutive quality starts, and five of his past six starts. He alos has allowed no runs in three of those six outings. If he can keep this up, it will go a long way in the race for the NL Central. There have been just 18 at-bats against him from Rangers hitters, and he’s allowed one home run and two singles while punching out seven.
The Rangers have been hot all season and may have led the division for basically the entirety of the season. It doesn’t mean they can relax as they have the Astros breathing down their neck. That really isn’t a bad thing though as it keeps them from resting and getting complacent as they head down the final stretch. They’ve had the best offense in all of baseball and I am interested in seeing how they handle it when they get to the playoffs and have to face the best pitchers each day in a series. Their pitching staff really hasn’t been bad though. One of the guys that has had a very strong season is Dane Dunning and he takes the ball today for the Rangers. Dunning owns a 3.10 ERA for the season and has pretty normal splits with nothing drastic. He did struggle a bit in July with a 5.06 ERA but he has responded with a strong beginning to August with five earned runs allowed over 20.2 innings. He also has been pretty solid against opposing hitters, holding them to five hits in 24 at-bats.
The total is too high in this one at 8.5. Take the under for this game as both pitchers should be able to navigate through the lineup a couple of times. I get the Rangers are better hitters, and the Brewers are coming off of a tough series against the Dodgers where they scored very few runs, but I also like the Brewers to win this game. I’m taking the under for the game, but I’ll also sprinkle the Brewers moneyline as I think Peralta has been too good lately.
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