The Rangers have blown two chances to clinch the AL West title, but hope to finish the job Sunday vs. Anaheim. But the Halos have playoff hopes of their own. Which way are we leaning?
Angels-Rangers Sunday Odds
As of this writing the MLB odds market had not yet lined this game. Anaheim has won the last two games in this series as an underdog of +110 and +100.
Anaheim has taken two of the first three games of this series, after rallying for a season-saving 11-10 victory Saturday. The Angels trailed 10-6 heading into the top of the ninth, but put up five runs, the last three with two outs, to steal their ninth win in their last 11 games and stay alive in the AL playoff race.
So this is how things stand; Texas, which is already in the playoffs, can win the AL West with either a victory today or a Houston loss. Otherwise it will play a one-game playoff for the division title, with the loser headed to the wild-card game.
Meanwhile, Anaheim needs a win and an Astros loss to force a one-game playoff for the second American League wild-card slot.
The Angels now lead this season series 12 games to six, with the OVERS going 9-8-1.
Hamels (12-8, 3.72) is 20-for-31 on quality starts this season, seven-for-11 since joining the Rangers in that trade with Philadelphia. Tuesday he got clipped for six runs in six innings by Detroit, but over his previous three starts he held foes to four earned runs through 20 innings.
Texas is 9-2 in Hamels' starts, with the OVERS going 7-3-1, thanks in part to some nice run support.
This will be Hamels' first start against Anaheim since 2008, when he was with the Phillies.
Richards (15-11, 3.62) is 18-for-31 on quality starts, and three for his last three. Wednesday he held Oakland to three runs, none earned, through six innings, while over his last three starts he's allowed just five ER through 21 2/3 innings.
Anaheim is 18-13 in Richards' starts, with the OVERS going 18-13.
In three starts this season against Texas Richards has allowed five runs through 20 2/3 innings; the Angels won all three of those games, with the UNDERS going 2-1.
Saturday's Batting Splits
Anaheim ranks 27th in the Bigs this season against left-handed pitching with a .304 team on-base percentage, and 24th with a .370 team slugging percentage.
Texas, on the other hand, ranks third against right-handed pitching with a .328 team OBP and eighth with a .414 team slugging percentage.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at Globe Life Park this season are now 37-36 on the UNDERS, even though they've averaged 9.8 runs per, third-most among all ML ballparks.
Angels-Rangers Free Picks
We'll call the pitching match-up a wash, although Hamels might own a slight edge, because most Anaheim hitters are unfamiliar with him. Also, we give Texas a slight edge with the sticks. So for our free MLB pick on today's game we'll go with the Rangers.
MLB Pick: Texas (-128) at Youwager