MLB Picks: Angels vs. Rangers Series Coverage

Willie Bee

Thursday, September 26, 2013 11:29 AM GMT

Thursday, Sep. 26, 2013 11:29 AM GMT

Game 162 is happening for the Angeles and Rangers tonight. Can the Texas rangers fight it out to get one more game? Let's look at the odds for our MLB picks.

 

29 Sept
Sunday's Game

By: Willie Bee

 

Ponchos started appearing in the stands around the fifth inning when a light rain was falling. By the final out, puddles were forming all around the infield. In the end, however, it was a deluge of errors by the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday that helped keep the Texas Rangers in the AL Wild Card picture.

Game 162 of the season gets underway a little past 3 PM (ET) today for our MLB Betting, and while it's the final game for the Angels, the Rangers are hoping for at least one more. Texas' 7-4 victory on Saturday, its sixth straight, allowed the Rangers to tie the Tampa Bay Rays for the second wild card slot, each a game behind the Cleveland Indians.

The chance for a three-way tie between those clubs exists, which would set off a wild scenario to get two teams to the eventual Wild Card play-in Game on Wednesday. But first, the Rangers have to win today for that to happen, and the MLB odds are firmly in their corner with Texas carrying -200 or better chalk. Totals are still scarce, but expect that number to close around 8 for Game 4 of this set.

Texas Turns To Yu For Finale

The Rangers send staff ace Yu Darvish to the mound needing one more win to guarantee October baseball. Today's moneyline is about half what it closed out this past Tuesday when Darvish and Texas closed at -400 vs. the Astros, a game that saw Darvish fail to make it through the sixth inning for a second consecutive start. Texas did get the eventual dubya, the second straight behind Darvish who has walked 10 in his last 10.1 IP.

Darvish is a perfect 3-0 vs. the Angels this season with a 3.00 ERA and 23 K's in 18 frames. The only win in this park was probably Darvish's worst start of 2013 against the Halos (5 IP, 3 ER, 4 BB), but he owns a 2.66 ERA in 18 previous home starts (Texas 10-8).

In what could be his final lineup card to fill out for the Angels, manager Mike Scioscia will have Jason Vargas on the mound. Don't discount the importance of this start for Vargas even if the Halos are ending another disappointing campaign. The lefty is coming off a shutout vs. Oakland and will be a free agent this winter, so he'd love nothing more than to go out with a strong performance. Vargas has three no-decisions against the Rangers in 2013 despite a solid 2.89 ERA; he allowed just a run in 5.2 IP in his only start in Texas and LA is 1-2 in the assignments. 

Behind The Plate, Mother Nature & A Pick

Alfonso Marquez is in line to work the plate in Game 4, and brings a 16-17 O/U mark into the contest. It's his first time to call balls and strikes in Rangers Ballpark this year, and first since Game 3 of the 2011 World Series, a 16-7 Cardinals blowout. His last three plate assignments here have gone OVER. 

Rain is not supposed to interrupt Sunday's finale, though the grounds crew has its work cut out to get what is a soggy field this morning in shape. Partly cloudy skies and 80º are expected for first pitch with a 10 mph NNW wind, which could help high flies to right-center and possibly knock down balls head out to left. 

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Both defenses have contributed to the 30 runs scored this series, and that scares me off playing the UNDER despite the two hurlers. Let's close the regular season out with an offensive bang, OVER for my free pick this afternoon in Texas.

My pick: Angels-Rangers Over 8

 

28 Sept
Saturday's Game

By: Willie Bee

 

No rest for the weary thanks to a dreary forecast in Arlington for the third of a 4-game series between the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels. Originally slated to take place under the lights Saturday at Rangers Ballpark, Texas and LA are instead cranking things up a little past 11 AM local time to try and beat the wet weather that's expected.

MLB odds for the early matchup were a little behind on the overnight release, finally showing up with Texas -150 chalk behind southpaw Derek Holland. The Angels send Garrett Richards to the hill with a 9 run total favoring the UNDER.

Texas grabbed the 5-3 win Friday, its fifth straight, to remain a game out of the AL wild card behind Tampa Bay and Cleveland who are tied atop the heap following a Rays loss. The Indians and Rays will begin their games today about an hour after the Rangers and Angels get underway.

Off Shutout, Holland In Search Of Win No. 11

Bouncing between the bullpen and the rotation, Richards' biggest claim to fame this season is he's one of only two MLB pitchers with both a save and complete game. Dan Haren of the Nats could change that Saturday afternoon, but otherwise it will be just Richards and Tampa Bay's Roberto Hernandez. Among Richards' 16 starting assignments are two quality efforts vs. Texas, both in Anaheim where he toiled for 13 innings surrendering four earnies.

Holland is coming off an easy win over Houston this past Monday when he limited the Astros to six hits while whiffing nine in the easy 12-zip shutout. It was Holland's second shutout of the year, the other coming in New York at the end of June. The Astros and Yankees have two of the weaker AL lineups, and facing the Angels -- tied for 5th in AL scoring 4.55 rpg -- has been a different story for Holland.

He earned no-decisions his first three tries of 2013 vs. LA, and his team bailed him out on two occasions to win all three. He was tagged with the loss in start No. 4 vs. the Halos three weeks ago in Anaheim (5.2 IP, 8 R); totals for the season include 24.1 innings with a devilish 6.66 ERA and 29 hits allowed, four of them homers.

Behind The Plate & A Pick

Scott Barry (18-9-4 O/U/P) is next up for plate duty in Ted Barrett's umpire crew, a crew that was sharply criticized by Angels hurler CJ Wilson in Game 2 for not having baseball's properly rubbed up. Barry is on a run of four consecutive OVERS, but worked two games in Arlington earlier this season that both stayed UNDER.

Will the time change for the game have an effect? It's the earliest game ever in 20 years at this stadium, plus it could get dragged on throughout the afternoon and evening if the rain comes early. Both pitchers have been a little better in day games, so I'm going to bite on the UNDER for my free pick in this one.

My pick: Angels-Rangers Under 9 (-120)


27 Sept
Friday's Game

By: Willie Bee

 

Have Texas Rangers fans given up on their team? The way things have gone the past few weeks, it would be tough to blame them, but to fill barely half the seats against the rival Los Angeles Angels with the Rangers still very much in the postseason hunt, that's embarrassing. 

Texas' defense was also embarrassing in Thursday's series opener vs. the Halos, but the Rangers still walked off with a 6-5 win thanks to Jurickson Profar's pinch-hit homer in the bottom of the ninth. The victory allowed Texas to keep pace with Tampa Bay and Cleveland who were both busy winning their 7th-straight ballgames on Thursday.

Still a game behind the Indians for the second AL wild card, the Rangers turn to Alexi Ogando to extend their win streak to five while hoping for a little help from Toronto and Minnesota. Texas is chalked in the low -140s for the tilt that finds their former teammate CJ Wilson on the mound for the Angels. SBR's live MLB odds show agreement across the board with a 8.5 run total that carries extra juice on the UNDER.

Rangers Ballpark Unkind To Wilson Since Joining Halos

You can't blame CJ Wilson for the Angels' struggles this year, as the southpaw brings a 17-7 mark and 3.36 ERA into Friday's clash. Los Angeles is 19-13 in his 32 starts, good enough for a 3-unit return for his backers.

But as good as Wilson's year has been overall, he probably won't consider it a success unless he ends it with a strong start on this mound. Wilson has yet to have a quality start in four tries at Rangers Ballpark since he joined the Angels, surrendering 20 earned runs in just over 15 frames in those outings. Texas pounded on him for six runs in four innings at the end of July, a no-decision for Wilson in a slugfest that went to the Rangers 14-11.

Ogando also can't be blamed for Texas' September slide. Four scoreless relief outings and two solid starts -- the most recent last Sunday in Kansas City with seven shutout innings -- are on Ogando's ledger this month, and he has performed well vs. the Angels in 2013. He beat them in Anaheim from the bullpen about three weeks ago, and owns a 2.70 ERA in 13.1 innings combined vs. LA combined.

Behind The Plate, Mother Nature & A Pick

Calling balls and strikes this evening should be Mike DiMuro (16-14-2 O/U/P). The New York native began his 15th season as an MLB umpire with a heavy OVER tendency, but that has changed the past few months with 10 of his 15 plate assignments falling short of the total, along with one push. 

More of the same is expected from the weather this evening with temps in the upper-80s at first pitch under clear skies. The forecast also includes a 10-15 mph SSE wind. I'm expecting more of the same from Wilson in this park tonight and like the OVER for my free pick.

My pick: Angels-Rangers Over 8.5 (+100) at Bet365


26 Sept
Thursday's Game

By: Willie Bee


When looking at the 2013 MLB betting schedule back in March, it was easy to imagine these final four games in Texas between the Rangers and Los Angeles Angels having playoff implications.Turns out we were right, but not in the manner first thought.

A matchup of pitchers that were not in either team's rotation Opening Day gets the series rolling as Jerome Williams is up for the Halos against Texas' Matt Garza.The Rangers are carrying rather substantial chalk for the contest with the moneyline in the -170s at shops charted by SBR's live MLB odds.A 9 run total is priced 20¢ to the UNDER.Bettors will want to watch for updates throughout the day as there's still a chance that Williams, who took a line drive off his foot during Monday's batting practice, could be a late scratch. 

Texas' hopes for a fourth straight postseason appearance are hanging by a thread while the Angels are guaranteed to enjoy their fourth consecutive October on the sidelines.The Rangers just finished sweeping the Astros the past three days, and remain a game out of the AL Wild Card picture.Los Angeles is flying east after playing its final home game on Wednesday, a 3-1 win over Oakland, and have been as hot as any club the past five weeks with a 23-9 stretch that has the Angels in position to at least salvage a .500 or better season. 

Will Axe Fall On Scioscia After More Disappointment? 

What has happened in Anaheim the past two years is why rumors persist about changes in the front office or down in the dugout.That's the norm when an owner opens up their checkbook like the Halos have done.Playoffs were certainly expected to take place in Anaheim this year with the Angels opening the season as 3/1 favorites to win the American League after adding Josh Hamilton, the second straight offseason that LA snatched a key player from the Rangers following CJ Wilson's defection in 2011. 

Hamilton was to complete a lineup that had young superstar Mike Trout coming back after a brilliant rookie campaign, plus Albert Pujols, a quarter-billion dollar purchase prior to 2012.The lineup is producing even less in 2013 while the pitching staff is yielding more to opposing batting orders.Injuries to Pujols along with Jered Weaver didn't help matters, but those two won't be paying for the team's overall performance. 

Jerome Williams wasn't expected to be among the better pitchers on Scioscia's staff, or even in the rotation for the Angels.Forced into the starting mix in May after both Weaver and Tommy Hanson were out of action, Williams has been a key reason why the Angels are still in contention for a .500 or better season.Los Angeles has won his last six starts while going 10-8 with others. 

The big Hawaiian didn't have many good experiences vs. the Rangers before this season, and got knocked around by Texas out in Anaheim in early August, also a series lid-lifter (5.1 IP, 5 ER).Still, he has enjoyed a fine overall season vs. the Rangers, pitching twice in relief and twice as a starter while compiling a 3.00 ERA in 18 IP, including one dandy effort July 31 in this park, taking a no-decision in an eventual 2-1 Texas win. 

Jobs May Also Be In Danger In Texas

There could be some changes down in the Lone Star State this winter as well, especially if the club falls short of the postseason following another September el foldo.Even after brooming the Astros, the Rangers are 8-15 for September, and offense has been a problem for Ron Washington's troops. 

Garza also doesn't have a lot of fond memories facing the Angels going back to his first full season with the Twins in '07.He has still yet to record a win over them, though the Cubs and Rangers both registered dubyas in Garza's assignmenst vs. the Angels this year, his second start with Texas on July 29 being that win when the Halos bullpen failed.This will be his third start against the Anaheim bunch since coming to Texas (14 IP, 8 ER combined). 

Warm conditions remain in Texas where we're looking at most if not all of tonight's contest played in the mid-to-upper 80s.We might see rain in the picture for Saturday's third game of the series, and there will also be some S/SE winds (10-12 mph) the next few days.Technically that is in from right field, but the effect inside the stadium could end up giving hitters a little assist on flies out to center and right-center.

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The Angels are playing well right now and seem intent on doing what they can to end Texas' postseason dreams.I'm going to take the Halos for my free pick in Game 1.

My pick: Angels +158 at Bet365

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