MLB plays of the day: Ride Lance Lynn vs. Athletics
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After nailing both of Monday's picks with precision, let's keep the good times rolling behind another pair of dominant pitchers in Tuesday's slate.

Texas Rangers (+130) at Oakland Athletics (-150)

Starting pitchers: Lance Lynn (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Jesus Luzardo (0-0, 1.35 ERA)

How often does a pitcher this good enjoy a price like this? Lynn has been simply unhittable this year, boasting an MLB-best .077 batting average against with zero earned runs in 12 innings of work. He's done it all behind the season's most effective fastball, per Fangraphs, which carried Lynn to a top-five Cy Young finish in 2019 and is being used a career-high 64.8% of the time through his first two starts.

Fittingly, only two teams have fared worse on a per-pitch basis against fastballs than the Athletics. They hung 11 runs Monday on Mariners lefty Justus Sheffield - who's yet to throw a four-seamer this year, per Statcast data - but failed to top three runs in their previous six games. They could need more than that to provide cover for Luzardo, who is yet to prove his readiness to assume a full workload ahead of his first career start.

The 22-year-old prospect was knocked around by the Rockies last Wednesday, allowing three runs on five hits and a pair of walks in 3 2/3 innings of long relief. The stuff is clearly there, as evidenced by an 87th-percentile whiff rate, but he'll struggle to overpower a Rangers lineup that ranks eighth in hard-hit rate and 11th in avoiding strikeouts. This line should be far closer to a coin flip, so grab the plus-money with confidence.

Pick: Rangers (+130)

Toronto Blue Jays (+155) at Atlanta Braves (-175)

Starting pitchers: Matt Shoemaker (0-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. Max Fried (1-0, 2.31 ERA)

In a year full of spectacular pitching performances, Fried is flying below the radar. But he's been stellar this year, especially early in games. He took a no-hitter into the fifth inning of his first start and was perfect through 4 2/3 innings on Thursday, combining for three runs on just five hits across those two outings.

Fried doesn't have elite stuff, but batters simply can't square him up. The 26-year-old lefty is coaxing the second-highest soft contact rate (29.6%) and 14th-best swinging strike rate (15.1%) in the majors. He's also inducing ground balls against 51.9% of opposing batters - 15th in MLB but right around his career average - which is bad news for a Blue Jays order that relies heavily on fly balls for its run production.

Shoemaker's surface-level stats are better than Fried's, but he's sporting a career-worst strikeout rate (18.2%), walk rate (9.1%), and allowing solid contact at a much higher rate (12.5%) than ever before. Translation? His success won't last, particularly against a Braves team ranked third in runs per game. This one shouldn't be close.

Pick: Braves first five innings (-170), Braves -1.5 (+115)

(Odds source: theScore Bet)

C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.

MLB plays of the day: Ride Lance Lynn vs. Athletics
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