Can LA cut into the Texas lead in the AL West by taking this series? Or can the Rangers, coming off a sweep of their own, put the Angels back in their place?
And how might we profit from the happenings in Anaheim over the next three days?
Wednesday's Game Three
By: Ron Patrick
LA got this series to even with a 5-4 extra-inning victory Tuesday night. The Angels blew an early 4-0 lead, but got bailed out when Howie Kendrick popped a solo homer, his second dong of the game, in the bottom of the 11th inning.
LA won as a -105 favorite on the MLB odds boards Tuesday, and the game, like Monday's series opener, played OVER its total.
So the Rangers lead the Angels by 4.5 games in the AL West heading into Wednesday's series rubber match (10 pm ET).
Wednesday's Betting Odds
As of Wednesday morning the best price we could find on Texas with Yu Darvish was the -155 offered at BetOnline, while LA with rookie fill-in starter Michael Roth could be gotten at +146 at 5Dimes.
Wednesday's Pitching Match-Up
Darvish, by our tough standards, is two-for-four on quality starts this year, but he's been better than that. For the season Darvish has allowed six runs and 13 hits through 26 2/3 innings, walked eight and struck out 38.
Last time out, last Friday against Seattle, Darvish threw seven innings of three-hit, shut-out ball, walking three and whiffing 10. Three starts ago Darvish allowed these Angels to score three runs in five innings of a game the Rangers eventually won 7-3.
Texas is 3-1 in Darvish's starts this season.
Last year Darvish and the Angels became very acquainted with each other; the Japanese import, in his first season in the ML, started six times against LA, giving up 18 ER and 29 hits in 38 1/3 innings. The Rangers went 4-2 in those games.
Rookie lefty Roth, who's making a spot start in place of Tommy Hanson, has made four relief appearances this season, allowing two runs and four hits in five innings, walking one and striking out seven. Since getting drafted in the ninth round by LA last June Roth has thrown just 27 innings in the Minors, posting a 4.00 ERA.
Free MLB Pick for Wednesday
This is a tough one. Texas, with Darvish going against a rookie, owns a clear advantage in the pitching match-up, but the Angels are very familiar with Darvish, while Rangers hitters might be at a disadvantage, being unfamiliar with Roth.
So while we don't usually like going with teams seemingly sending a lamb to the wolves, we'll add the Angels as home dogs to our list of free MLB picks for Wednesday.
MLB Pick: Take LA at the +146 offered at 5Dimes.
Tuesday's Game Two
By: Ron Patrick
Texas took the opener of this series Monday night 7-6, rallying from a 6-3 deficit to tie the game, then winning it on an AJ Pierzynski homer in the top of the ninth.
The Rangers won as +105 dogs on Monday's MLB odds boards, and the game played OVER its total of eight.
Texas has scored 30 runs over its last four games; LA has scored 34 runs over its last five games.
So the Rangers are 13-6, the Angels 7-11 as the teams head into the middle game of this three-game set Tuesday night (10 pm ET).
Tuesday's Betting Odds
As of Tuesday AM the best price we could find on Texas with Alexi Ogando was the -110 offered at 5Dimes, while LA with Jason Vargas could be gotten at +104 at Pinnacle.
Also, most books were lining the total on Tuesday's game at eight.
Tuesday's Pitching Match-Up
Vargas opened this season with a good effort, holding these Rangers to one run, albeit on eight hits and two walks, through 5 2/3 innings. But since then he's been touched for five runs in 5 2/3 innings vs. the A's, and five runs in 3 1/3 innings vs. the Twins. For the season Vargas has allowed 27 hits in 14 2/3 innings of work.
Last year Vargas started four times against Texas, giving up 14 ER and 26 hits through 25 innings. The Angels split those four games.
Ogando started very well this season, but is coming off a rough outing. Through his first three starts Ogie allowed just two runs through 16 2/3 innings, and the Rangers won all three of those games. But last time out, last Thursday vs. the Cubs, Ogando got nicked for five runs in less than three innings of a 6-2 Texas loss.
Last year, pitching out of the bullpen, Ogando made eight appearances against the Angels, allowing two runs and 10 hits through 7 1/3 innings.
Free MLB Pick for Tuesday
We discount Ogando's last start, on a muddy mound at Wrigley Field. Meanwhile, we can't find much good to say about Vargas. And while Texas seems to operate with a never-say-die attitude, LA seems a bit defeatist at this point. So we'll add the Rangers to our list of free MLB picks for Tuesday.
Pick: Take Texas at the -110 offered at 5Dimes.
Monday's Series Opener
By: Ron Patrick
Rangers-Angels MLB Betting Odds
Many online sportsbooks opened Monday's game, with Texas throwing lefty Derek Holland against LA with newcomer Joe Blanton, with the Rangers as favorites of around -110. But many of those same books then moved the Angels to favorites of around -110. So Monday's game saw a quick 20-cent reversal of chalk in the early betting.
Also, the MLB odds board at TheGreek.com was chalking the Angels at -120 to win this series, with the Rangers “getting” +100.
Rangers-Angels Series Set-Up
Texas just swept three games from Seattle over the weekend, capping things off with an 11-3 victory Sunday. The Rangers had been having some troubles scoring runs, but put up 23 in the three games against the Mariners.
LA, which had lost 10 of its first 14 games, just took three straight games from the Tigers over the weekend, completing the brooming with a 4-3, 13-inning victory Sunday.
So Texas, at 12-6, leads the American League West by a half-game over Oakland and by 4.5 games over the 7-10 Angels.
Monday's Pitching Match-Up
Holland is three-for-three on quality starts this year. First, he held these Angels to two runs in seven innings; then he held the Rays to two runs through eight innings; and last time out he blanked the Cubs on two hits through seven innings. So for the season so far Holland has allowed four runs and 13 hits through 22 innings of work, with four walks and 15 strikeouts.
Last year, though, Holland went one-for-four on QS against LA, allowing 21 ER and 32 hits in 27 innings. Somehow, the Rangers managed to split those four games.
Joe Blanton, on the other hand, is 0-for-three on quality starts this year. First, he gave up four ER in five innings vs. the Reds; then he got bombed for six ER in five innings vs. the A's; and last time out he allowed four ER in 4 2/3 innings vs. the Twins. So on the season Blanton has gotten rocked for 14 ER and 26 hits in just 14 2/3 innings.
Pitching in the National League the last few seasons, Blanton hasn't faced Texas since 2008.
Rangers-Angels Recent History
LA took the season series from Texas last year 10 games to nine, with the totals leaning toward the OVERS by a 12-6-1 margin.
Two weeks ago the Rangers opened this year's season series by taking two of three games from the Angels in Arlington, with Holland getting the victory in that series opener. Two of those games played OVER on the totals.
Rangers-Angels Betting Trends
In the “something's gotta give” department LA is 12-5 on the OVER/UNDERS this year, while Texas is 4-12 on the totals.
Free MLB Pick for Monday
Holland has been great so far this year, while Blanton has been a dud. And the Rangers, in the early wagering on Monday's game, got bet from favorites to dogs. So while the Angels showed a little life over the weekend we'll add Texas to our list of free MLB picks for Monday.
Pick: Take the Rangers at the +100 offered at Pinnacle.Hardball handicappers should check back at these pages over the next couple of days for updates and more free picks on this series.