Our MLB handicapper digs up a statistic that makes this matchup a little more even than Vegas is pricing it. Read on as he gives the value play and his Friday MLB pick.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim off of I-10 host the Texas Rangers in the first game of their weekend series Friday night, desperately needing a win as they try to catch up with one of the AL West teams out of Texas already in a playoff spot. I’m not going to mince words here, I have a futures bet on the Angels to lose more than 88.5 games, so I already have a vested interest in the Angels getting jacked up in this series versus the Rangers. That’s probably worth a lean towards the Angels on its own, but I guess we should look at the pitching matchup before we pass judgment.
Garrett Richards takes the mound for the Angels, which is good for them, as he has fantastic career numbers against the Rangers. Over 72.1 IP, Richards has posted a 3.11 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 60/19 K/BB rate, and .257 BAA against Arlington. The last time he pitched against them on July 3rd he went 7.2 innings and gave up just one earned run while striking out six. Richards has put up a pretty dramatic home and away split this year, and with this game at home, it is something to consider. On the road Richards has a domestic 4.71 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, and .288 BAA. At home he turns into a good pitcher, posting a 3.09 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and .210 BAA. Nearly all of the dingers Richards has given up have been at home though, so I guess that is some hope for the Rangers.
Perez Pitching Good Enough
Martin Perez gets the call for the Rangers in this game, after a solid stretch of outings over the last month. He might not strike a lot of batters out, but he is pitching well enough to give the Rangers a chance, only giving up 3 earned runs or less per start since the beginning of August. I’ll go ahead and mention that the last game he pitched in July against the Yankees he gave up 8 earned runs in the first inning, so that was a clunker. Perez came back this year after Tommy John surgery and has found that his groundball rate has increased almost ten points to 60%. There must be a lot of seeing-eye grounders in that number as his BABIP is at a high, and likely unsustainable, .340. This is indicated in his fielding independent pitching statistic, or FIP, that sits at just 3.19. Compare that to Garrett Richards FIP which is at 3.73 and you’ll see that these two pitchers are much closer in talent than ERA would indicate.
The MLB odds in this game have the home team Angels currently favored at -152 on the money line at Heritage. That would make the Rangers the run line dog and you can buy the +1.5 runs for just -150. The O/U total is listed at 7.5 at multiple books, and 8 at some more. After opening at -140 there has been considerable line movement in this game favoring the Angels.
There are two lines in this game that are garnering over 90% of public support, and that is the Over of 7.5 and the Rangers on the run line. Usually that would concern me if I was to be considering one of those lines, but there is just too much value on the run line here. Richards has given up 3 or more earned runs in 8 of his last ten games, which is actually more than Perez in this regard. I’m buying the Rangers at -155 to keep it close and taking 1.5 runs at 5Dimes as my Friday night MLB Pick.
MLB Pick: Texas +1 ½ (-155) at 5Dimes