Cleveland Indians vs. Texas Rangers Preview and Pick – Lee vs. Ponson

Cleveland Indians (26-32) -140, 10 at Texas Rangers (30-30), 8 pm Eastern Wednesday
by Zman of

The Texas Rangers look to continue their recent good play when they host the Cleveland Indians for game 3 of a four-game set Wednesday night at The Ballpark in Arlington.

The Sportsbooks are listing Cleveland and starting pitcher Cliff Lee (8-1, 1.88, .96 WHIP) as -140 road favorites for Wednesday’s game, with a total of 10, while Texas and Sidney Ponson (4-1, 3.83, 1.47 WHIP) are getting +120 as home underdogs.

Cleveland took the opener of this series Monday night 13-9, but the Rangers bounced back to take game 2 Tuesday 12-7.

So going into Wednesday’s action, the Indians are in third place in the AL Central, 5 games behind the first-place Chicago White Sox.

Meanwhile, Texas, with a 17-10 run, has scratched its way back to the .500 mark, and sits in third place in the AL West, now six games back of the first-place Los Angeles Angels.

Cleveland is 10-16 on the road this year, just 20-21 as favorites, and 25-33 vs. the run line, while the Rangers are 15-13 at home this season, 21-24 as underdogs, and 31-29 vs. the run line.

Texas has taken three of five games from the Indians so far this year, with the totals going 3-2, as the games have averaged a healthy 14.6 total runs per. Last year, the Tribe took six of nine games from the Rangers, with the totals going 5-3-1, as the games averaged 10 total runs.


Over his last three starts, including a mediocre outing in a win over Kansas City last Friday, Lee has given up 11 ER and 33 baserunners (hits + walks) in 17 2/3 IP. Cleveland is 8-2 in Lee’s starts this season, the totals 3-7.

Lee started once last year vs. Texas, and once earlier this year, allowing nine ER and 20 BR in 13 1/3 innings of work. The Indians went 1-1 in those two games, as did the totals.

Ponson, over his last three starts, including a so-so performance in a win over Oakland Saturday, has given up 10 ER and 31 BR in 21 IP. The Rangers are 5-3 in Ponson’s starts this year, the totals a lop-sided 7-1.

Ponson, the journeyman who’s pitching on three days’ rest Wednesday, hasn’t started a game vs. Cleveland since 2005.

Offensively speaking, the Tribe ranks 28th in the majors in team batting at .239, 25th in team OBP at .320, 25th in team slugging at .382, and is averaging 4.2 runs per game.

Texas ranks 2nd in the majors in batting at .284, 4th in OBP at .353, 2nd in team slugging at .459, and is averaging 5.5 RPG. And the Rangers’ last four games have all gone over their totals, thanks to the 37 runs scored by the Texas offense and the 37 runs allowed by Rangers pitching.

On the injury front, Cleveland catcher Victor Martinez has missed some recent action with a bad hammy, and is listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game. And slugger Travis Hafner is already on the DL with a shoulder problem.

The totals are 24-33 in Indians games this season, 33-24 in Rangers games, and 15-12 in games played at The Ballpark in Arlington, where games are averaging a ML-high 12 total runs per.

Zman’s Pick: Taking the hot hand here along with underdog +120 value.