Monday night features a battle of AL West foes as the Los Angeles Angels (42-43) travel to Globe Life Park in Arlington to take on the Texas Rangers (46-38). While there is currently a gap between these two teams and the first-place Astros (the Rangers are in second but 6.5 games back), the postseason is still definitely in focus for both teams. Texas currently sits in the second Wild Card spot, a half-game ahead of the Indians and the A’s, while the Angels sit 4.5 games back of that second spot. With that in mind, both teams know that every win is vital coming down the stretch.
The pitching matchup for this one features a matchup of southpaws as the Angels will send Jose Suarez (2-1, 5.57 ERA) to the mound to square off with the Rangers’ Mike Minor (8-4, 2.40 ERA). First pitch for this contest is scheduled for 8:05 pm ET.
The moneyline for this contest is set at the Los Angeles Angels +129 and the Texas Rangers -139. The over/under for runs scored is set at 10.
By The Numbers
On the offensive side, both of these two come in the top half of the majors in terms of runs per game. The Rangers currently rank fifth overall with an average of 5.47 runs per game (5.70 at home), while the Angels come in at 12th with an average of 5.01 runs per game (4.93 on the road).
On the pitching side, Texas holds a slight advantage, although neither of the two teams is stellar. The Rangers rank 20th in the majors in earned run average with a staff ERA of 4.69 (4.51 at home). For the Angels, they come in at 23rd with an ERA of 4.88 (5.13 on the road).
When you put it all together, it is Texas that holds the edge in run differential. They currently rank 11th with a run differential of +40, while the Angels come in at 15th with a differential of +7.
Angels Look For Road Win
The Angels are in the precarious position of not being especially close to a playoff spot but aren’t too far away either. They would really like to make a push prior to the trade deadline to get a clearer idea of their positioning. Going for the win on Monday will be lefty Jose Suarez. In four starts this year, Suarez is 2-1 with a 5.57 ERA, 1.48 WHIP and opponents are hitting .275 against him.
Suarez is actually coming back up from Triple-A to make this start. In fact, he has kind of bounced back and forth between the minors and the big club all season as his last start with the Angels came back on June 20 (he gave up five runs in five innings to the Blue Jays).
On the offensive side, it is easy to talk all day about Mike Trout, but a couple of other Angels have been contributing this year as well. Tommy La Stella was selected to be an All-Star this season, and for good reason. In the first half, he hit .304/.356/.500 with 16 home runs, 44 runs batted in and 49 runs scored. Additionally, since returning from the injured list, Shohei Ohtani has been on a small tear. In 174 at-bats, he is hitting .299/.356/.552 with 12 home runs, 35 runs batted in and 25 runs scored. Those two mixed with Trout, Justin Upton, and Albert Pujols makes for a formidable lineup.
Texas Tries To Keep Rolling
Despite dropping two of three to the Rays over the weekend, the Rangers have been one of the hottest teams in baseball. In fact, in June they went 18-11 to cut the gap with the Astros from double digits to 6.5 games. Still, they know they have work to do and will turn to Mike Minor to try to get them on the right foot this series.
Minor has been rather impressive this year. In 17 starts he has gone 8-4 with a 2.40 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and opponents are hitting just .221 against him. In 112 2/3 innings, he has allowed just 89 hits, 30 earned runs, 12 home runs and has struck out 110 versus just 37 walks. There was a notion that if the Rangers fell out of contention, he would be a prized trade chip; instead, he has turned into their ace.
On the offensive side, Joey Gallo has been dominating. He is hitting .286/.426/.683 with 20 home runs, 46 runs batted in and 45 runs scored in just 189 at-bats. The Rangers’ offense as a whole has ridiculous power. They have six players that have double-digit home runs and can hit the long ball just about anywhere in the order. They also got one starter in the All-Star Game. Hunter Pence has revitalized his career this season, hitting .294/.353/.608 with 15 home runs, 48 runs batted in and 44 runs scored. All in all, this is a lethal offense that can make opposing pitchers pay.
Rangers Take Game One
For me, this one comes down to the pitching. For the Angels, they are calling on a pitcher that they are pulling up from Triple-A, one that has only made five starts and gave up five runs in his last outing. On the other hand, the Rangers are going with Minor, who has won three games in a row, including a complete-game win in his last outing. Throw on top of that the fact that the Rangers’ offense has been rather lethal this season, and I feel much more comfortable putting my money on Texas. Granted, any time that Mike Trout is on the other side of the field, you have to have doubts, but I think the safer bet is the Rangers at -140.