Los Angeles Angels vs. Texas Rangers Preview and Pick – Sean O’Sullivan vs. Vicente Padilla

Los Angeles Angels (41-32) Sean OSullivan +121, 10.5 O/U at
Texas Rangers (40-34) Vicente Padilla -131, 10.5 O/U, Rangers
Ballpark, Arlington, Texas, 8:05 PM EST, Monday

by Badger of Predictem.com

Rangers Ballpark will be center stage tonight in the showdown for the
American League West Division, as the second-place Texas Rangers
throw veteran Vicente Padilla at the first-place Los Angeles Angels
in game one of what has become a critical three-game series.

The Angels, who enter the series with a 1 -game lead in the AL West
and a five-game winning streak, counter with rookie Sean OSullivan
making just his third major-league start. The Angels completed a
sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks with a 12-8 victory Sunday, the
third time theyve scored 11 runs or more during the win streak.

Theres no doubt this series is critical for the Rangers. Back on May
17th the Rangers had just completed a three-game sweep of the Angels
and held a 4 -game lead in the West. Since then the Rangers have
lost 20 of their last 37 games and have watched the injury-riddled
Angels pass them up in the standings.

The Rangers are also playing miserably right now, losing two in a row
and seven of their last 10, but they may have finally hit bottom
yesterday when they were held to one hit by journeyman Chad Gaudin in
a 1-0 loss to San Diego. Theyve scored two or fewer runs in five of
their last eight games, so the offense will need to back on track if
they hope to keep up with the red-hot Angels.

Oddsmaker opened the game with Padilla and the Rangers as -135 favorites on the moneyline, and the number has settled into the -130
to -138 range at most sportsbooks. That means you can find
the Angels listed as high as +121 and +123 underdogs on the dimeline. The over/under total
is listed at a high 10.5 across the board at most bookies.

Padilla (6-3, 4.48) is the listed favorite despite the Rangers recent
offensive struggles because he is one of the hottest pitchers in the
American League. Hes only lost one of his last eight starts (team is
6-2), and two of those six wins included five shutout innings versus
the Dodgers and seven innings of six-hit, one-run baseball his last
time out versus the D-Backs.

Padilla won game two of the Rangers three-game sweep back in May,
allowing three runs on 10 hits over eight innings of a 5-3 victory.

OSullivan threw a gem in his debut June 16th against the San
Francisco Giants, allowing just one run on five hits in seven innings
for his first career win. In his last start he was roughed up a
little more, giving up six hits (2 HR), three walks and three runs in
five innings of what turned into a no-decision when the Rangers still
won the game 4-3 over Colorado.

OSullivan might be able to take advantage of the free-swinging
Rangers lineup. They had 10 strikeouts in yesterdays one-hitter to
move their Major League-best team strikeout total to 599 on the season.

Prior to dropping those three games in May the Angels have actually
played well at Rangers Ballpark, winning seven of nine there last
season. Overall the Angels won last years head-to-head meetings with
the Rangers 11 games to six.

The over is 7-3-1 in Padillas last 11 starts versus the Angels, but
its actually the under that has cashed in eight of his last 10
starts during his good run. Both of OSullivans starts have ended
under, and the under was 2-1 in the previous series.

Badgers Pick: Padilla is throwing good ball right now and OSullivan
is a rookie, but I cant pass up the red-hot Angels as underdogs. Im
riding the hot team as opposed to the struggling one tonight, so take
the Angels at +121.