Friday MLB Preview – Angels at Rangers

Game 1 of this series was a classic pitching duel, but tonight’s contest may light up the scoreboard.

Los Angeles Angels at Texas Rangers

Los Angeles fell to 1-2 on its current six-game road trip after dropping a 3-2 contest to the AL West-leading Texas Rangers on Thursday night in Arlington.  “Each game with these guys is important,” last night’s starting pitcher Jered Weaver said.  “Six back is not where we want to be.”  The Angels are 4-3 since the All-Star break, but 7-11 this month (-480).  An important trend to pay attention to this weekend is the Halos propensity to perform at a high level over the weekend.  Los Angeles is 28-17 in games played from Friday-Sunday this season compared to 23-29 the rest of the week.  The team will find itself a +175 to +200 road underdog for just the third time in three years, posting a 1-2 mark (-20) with the total being 2-1 O/U in those games.

Angels starting pitcher Joe Saunders is 6-9 with a 4.83 ERA in 19 starts this season (-270), but is coming off back-to-back starts of giving up 10 hits.  The left-hander failed to receive a decision in leading the Angels to a 7-6 home victory over the Seattle Mariners last time out.  He allowed five runs (four earned) and 10 hits over six innings of work in that contest.  Saunders is 4-3 with a 3.88 ERA in eight road starts this season, managing to strike out just 19 batters while walking 18 in 48.2 frames.  In 10 career starts versus the Rangers, he has a dismal 3-6 record and 7.19 ERA, including a horrendous 0-5 mark and 11.68 ERA in five lifetime outings at Rangers Ballpark.

Texas has won six of eight games since the All-Star break and have built a six-game lead in the division.  It’s recent good play can be attributed directly to a pitching staff that has combined for a 2.68 ERA over that span.  The victory also snapped the team’s four-game home losing streak, but the club is still a solid 32-19 in Arlington (-240) and the total is 25-23 O/U in those contests.  Tonight is the second of 16 straight games within the division for the Rangers, as they bring in a 15-7 record against AL West foes (+810).  Texas has won nine of 12 at home agains Los Angeles and has taken all three meetings this season, while holding the opposition to a .192 batting average.

Rangers starting pitcher C.J. Wilson is 8-5 with a 3.23 ERA in 19 starts this year (+560), with the club alternating wins and losses over his last five starts.  He proved victorious last time out on the road, allowing a single run and three hits in 6.2 innings of work in a 4-2 win over Boston.  The left-hander has tallied an impressive 6-2 record and 3.54 ERA in 11 home starts, allowing the opposition to hit for a combined .210 average.  In 30 lifetime appearances (three starts) against the Angels, he is 1-3 with five saves and a 5.27 ERA.  He fell 2-1 to the Halos in his only start against them on July 1 in Anaheim, surrendering two runs and five hits over 5.2 frames.

Bettors will likely not choose sides in this contest due to Saunders’ struggles in Arlington and the high price placed on the Rangers.  The total is 12-6 O/U the last three years when Texas has been placed as a home favorite of -175 to -200.  This fits nicely with the Angels going 43-24 O/U in July the last three seasons.

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