September 1 Odds: Hamels, Rangers the Right Play vs. Angels

Cole Hamels

Willie Bee

Friday, September 1, 2017 12:32 PM GMT

Friday, Sep. 1, 2017 12:32 PM GMT

The Angels begin a long 9-game road trip through their division Friday with the first stop in Texas, where Cole Hamels and the Rangers are slight favorites on the MLB odds in Game 1.

MLB Season Record: 67-72-4 (-0.93)

September has arrived, and the month gets underway with a couple of clubs hoping to slip into October baseball beginning the month facing each other in Texas, where the Rangers host the Los Angeles Angels for the weekend. The series begins with a pair of southpaws squaring off on the mound as Tyler Skaggs (1-4, 4.25) takes his turn in the LA rotation against Cole Hamels (9-2, 3.78). The morning nickel line at 5Dimes has Texas a very slight favorite with 10½ for the scoreboard target.

The Angels are the closest challenger to Houston in the AL West race, 11½ games behind the Astros and 1½ back of Minnesota for the second wild card slot in the Junior Circuit. L.A. made two trades on Thursday to make a playoff push, landing outfielder Justin Upton from Detroit and second baseman Brandon Phillips from Atlanta. Both could debut here. The Rangers are a game under .500 but still within 4 games of a playoff spot.

 

Hamels Has Been Stingy With Halos This Year

The good news is the Angels did win Skaggs’ last start; the bad news is it wasn’t because he pitched well at home in Anaheim against the Astros. The 26-year-old surrendered five runs (4 earned) in his five innings, needing his bullpen and offense to bail him out after falling behind 4-0 in the top of the second. Skaggs had fallen to the Rangers the start before that with a similar line on his pitching ledger. He earned two no-decisions against Texas before that with 10 combined innings and six runs scoring.

Hamels is glad to be back home in Arlington, where the Rangers are 6-2 in his starts while the lefty pitches to an ERA just above 3.00. His biggest problems have come on the road, like his last trip to the mound this past Saturday in Oakland, where Hamels was popped for two homers among nine hits allowed, the A’s chasing him an out into the fifth with six runs already coming plateward. He has been outstanding against the Angels this season regardless where they take place, winning two of the three outings with a 1.25 ERA in nearly 22 frames.

 

Rivalry Trends, Mother Nature & A Free Pick

Friday will be the 889th meeting between the clubs, the rivalry dating to when they were expansion clubs in 1961 and the Rangers were in DC as the second coming of the Senators. Texas is up 8-5 this season after taking 3 of 4 in Anaheim a week ago. The clubs are a level 3-3 in Arlington for 2017, MLB odds running 1-3-2 O/U/P in the totals column.

Clear skies and warm temps in the upper 80s will be on hand for the start of tonight’s tilt, not enough of a breeze to even mention. It’s simply too good of a price not to make my free baseball pick on Hamels and the home team.

Free MLB Pick: Rangers -105Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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