It's been a disappointing year for the Los Angeles Angels, and it could get even worse on Saturday when they face one of this year's most successful pitchers against the MLB odds.
Jason's 2015 record as of July 3: 28-22, plus-5.84 units ML; 0-3, minus-3.30 units Total
Have the Los Angeles Angels gotten the wake-up call they sorely needed? The Angels were under .500 before rattling off five wins in their last six games, lifting them up to 42-38 (+0.45 betting units) and second place in the AL West. They're also “on notice” after GM Jerry DiPoto resigned July 1 following a reported dispute with manager Mike Scioscia, who apparently didn't appreciate DiPoto's newfangled analytic approach.
The Halos need to keep up the pace this Saturday (9:05 p.m. ET) when they visit the Texas Rangers in the second of a three-game set at the Ballpark in Arlington. Texas is sending Wandy Rodriguez (3.93 FIP) to the hill; he's making money hand over fist this year, while projected Angels starter Hector Santiago (4.22 FIP) has barely made a dent against the MLB betting odds. Speaking of which, Los Angeles is a –120 road chalk as we go to press.
Where in the World Is Hector Santiago?
The Angels may have already wasted their best opportunities to make money off Santiago this year. Despite a tiny .242 BABIP, he's only been able to muster 0.24 units in earnings on a team record of 8-7. Ten of those 15 starts were decided by a single run; Los Angeles went 5-5 in those games, which is fair enough. But that BABIP is bound to go up, and the Halos have also given Santiago 4.06 runs of support, compared to their usual 3.84 runs per game.
It would help if L.A. had a little more pop at the plate. The Angels rank No. 21 in the majors in hitting at 7.9 WAR, although they've managed to move up to No. 12 over the past seven days. Don't be fooled by reigning AL MVP Mike Trout (.978 OPS) and the resurgent Albert Pujols (.886 OPS). The batting order gets pretty thin after that. If only the Halos had a GM who could use some new-school analytics to get the most out of this lineup... oh, right.
A Fish Called Wandy
Say hello to our little friend. Rodriguez (5-foot-10, 180 pounds) cashed in for us earlier this year in a 3-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox (–177 at home), and here he is at press time sitting at No. 2 on the MLB money charts with 8.66 units in earnings on a 9-4 team record. The UNDER is 9-3-1 in those 12 starts; the veteran lefty has allowed just one earned run in seven of those 12 appearances.
It's been quite a solid career for Rodriguez, even though most people aren't too aware of him – that's what playing for the Houston Astros for seven-plus years can do for you. He was a rookie when the Astros went to the World Series in 2005, and not a very good one at that, but Rodriguez turned into a reliable pitcher while Houston was finishing at or near the bottom of the NL Central. It's good to see him getting a shot with the rebuilding Rangers (41-40, +14.36 units).
If you've already got Adrian Beltre (.662 OPS) and you're waiting for him to break out, good news: He's 7-of-20 lifetime against Santiago with three homers and a 1.335 OPS. But Beltre's 94% owned at Yahoo leagues as we go to press, so we turn our attention instead to the Rangers bullpen. Tanner Scheppers (5.19 FIP) has worked his way into a late-innings situation since coming up from the minors in mid-May; he could be good for a hold or even a save this Saturday. And you might be the first person in your league to own Scheppers. Impress your friends with your extreme bargain-bin shopping, and may the sphere be with you.
Free MLB Pick: Take the Rangers +109 at 5Dimes