MLB Baseball: Texas Rangers vs. Cleveland Indians Preview, Prediction & Odds - 8/25/21

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 7:10 p.m. ET 
Venue: Progressive Field, Cleveland, OH
Where to watch: Bally Sports Southwest, Bally Sports Great Lakes

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: Indians -170, Rangers +150
FanDuel: NL

Season record (entering Tuesday)
Rangers: 43-81 (Last place, AL West)
Indians: 61-61 (2nd place, AL Central)

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Rangers - Indians preview and analysis

Recent form
Rangers: 3-7 in last 10
Indians: 6-4 in last 10, won 3 straight

God bless the Texas Rangers. They’re trying.

Even when they lose, it’s in grand style.

Grand. As in a grand slam at the hands of the Boston Red Sox on Monday when they were trying so hard to take the series against the American League East playoff-caliber squad.

But such is life with the Rangers, who have gone through the most painful rebuild this side of the Mississippi. The end of the road is near, however. Texas is on the road to face the Cleveland Indians in a three-game series at Progressive Field.

At the time of publishing, Game 1 is still going on Tuesday night with the Rangers leading. This, of course, is subject to change. Because, again, such is life in the Lone Star State.

The Rangers entered Tuesday having lost five of six, but that one win was a 10-1 surprise beatdown of the aforementioned Red Sox. Brock Holt and Andy Ibanez had two RBI each, and Jordan Lyles pitched seven strong innings and allowed one run in one of the best starts in his MLB career.

And now the Rangers are at the point where they need to see what will stick in the system. The Rangers are projected to start former fifth-round pick Jake Latz on the mound Wednesday, his first Major League start. The former Kent State product is 14-5 in his minor-league career with a 3.65 ERA and a WHIP of 1.21.

Latz will faceoff against Zach Plesac and an Indians team that are not getting beyond second place in the American League Central any time soon. The Chicago White Sox still lead that division comfortably with no end in sight.

The Indians entered Tuesday coming off a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels, capped by winning the Little League Classic on Sunday 3-0. Cleveland has won two of its past three series.

Plesac is 7-4 this season with a 4.87 ERA.

Offensive analysis

Ever since the Rangers traded Joey Gallo to the New York Rangers, their power has sharply taken a dive. They’ve already been one of the worst hitting teams in the league batting .225, but leaving Adolis Garcia as the lone power hitter did not help matters, either. The Rangers are sixth-lowest in homers with 132. The offense just isn’t there yet.

The Indians are a .500 team, and their play at the plate is an indication of that. They’re a middle-of-the-pack team when it comes to homers, given Jose Ramirez is the catalyst for that, and their .235 average is a sign they need another piece in the lineup to contend.

Defensive analysis

Once upon a time, the Rangers were a fun pitching team. Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels, Derek Holland, the list goes on. Such times are gone now. Kyle Gibson was the lone smiling time in the rotation; now he’s gone. It’s down to guys like Lyles (5.33 ERA), Mike Foltynewicz (5.54) and Dane Dunning (4.31) to carry the load. Only a few more years until Jack Leiter.

The Indians are much of the same; a 4.40 ERA now, when Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar are not in the picture. That was their three-headed horse when they went to the World Series in 2016. What I’m saying is, it’s hard to be a competitive beast in MLB. How the Los Angeles Dodgers are pulling it off is remarkable.


Texas is going to have to be tired eventually from the travel, and this may be the game it happens. Even if the Indians don’t come back to win Tuesday, it should be a better result this time around. Indians win 7-5.

Betting trends

The Indians are 13-1 (+11.2 on the moneyline) as a home favorite of -150 to -200.

The over is 29-20 when the Indians are an outright favorite and 35-17 overall (+10.6).

Key injuries

Players to watch

Rangers: Catcher Isiah Kiner-Falefa entered Tuesday with a five-game hitting streak and has a hit in eight of the last nine games.

Indians: Right fielder Franmil Reyes has batted .171 in August, but there’s cause for hope; he’s registered a hit in three of four games coming into Tuesday, including a 5-RBI game Friday against the Angels.

Projected lineup

Leody Taveras (S) CF
Isiah Kiner-Falefa (R) SS
Adolis Garcia (R) RF
Nathaniel Lowe (L) 1B
DJ Peters (R) LF
Andy Ibanez (R) 3B
Yohel Pozo (R) DH
Nick Solak (R) 2B
Jose Trevino (R) C

Myles Straw (R) CF
Amed Rosario (R) SS
Jose Ramirez (S) 3B
Franmil Reyes (R) DH
Wilson Ramos (R) C
Oscar Mercado (R) LF
Yu Chang (R) 1B
Daniel Johnson (L) RF
Ernie Clement (R) 2B

Statistical leaders

Batting average: Isiah Kiner-Falefa (.263)
Hits: Isiah Kiner-Falefa (130)
Home runs: Adolis Garcia (27)
RBI: Adolis Garcia (71)
Stolen bases: Isiah Kiner-Falefa (16)
Wins: John King (7)
Saves: Ian Kennedy (16)
ERA: Jordan Lyles (5.33)

Batting average: Amed Rosario (.289)
Hits: Amed Rosario (126)
Home runs: Jose Ramirez (29)
RBI: Jose Ramirez (79)
Stolen bases: Jose Ramirez (16)
Wins: Aaron Civale (10)
Saves: Emmanuel Clase (18)

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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