Los Angeles Angels vs. Texas Rangers Preview and Pick

Los Angeles Angels (54-36) -140, 10 at Texas Rangers (47-44), 8 pm Eastern Wednesday
by Zman of Predictem.com

The best team in the AL West meets up with one of the teams trying to track them down when the Los Angeles Angles and Texas Rangers play game 2 of a three-game series Wednesday night in Arlington.

Baseball Bookies are listing LA and starting pitcher Jered Weaver (8-8, 4.17, 1.25 WHIP ) as -140 road favorites, with a total of 10 , while Texas and Michael Ballard, who will be making his ML debut, are getting +125 as home underdogs.

The Angels took the opener of this series Monday night 9-6, while Texas evened things up with a 3-2 win Tuesday night, behind seven solid innings from Matt Harrison, who was making his ML debut.

Going into Wednesday’s game, Los Angeles, which has won five of its last seven, leads the AL West by five games over the second-place Oakland A’s, while the Rangers, who have won three straight series, sit in third place, 7 1/2 games back of LA.

The Angels are a Major League-best 28-16 on the road this year, 35-25 as favorites, and 47-43 vs. the run line.

The Rangers are 22-19 at The Ballpark this season, 32-37 as dogs, and 51-40 vs. the run line.

LA has taken four of seven games from Texas so far this season, with the totals going 4-2-1, as the games have averaged 10.9 totals runs per. Last season, Los Angeles took 10 of 19 games from Texas, with the totals going 9-8-2, as the games averaged 10.2 total runs.

Weaver had a rough start to this year, but has improved in recent weeks. Over his last three starts, including a solid outing vs. Toronto last Friday, Weaver has given up three ER and 17 baserunners (hits + walks) in 18 2/3 IP.. LA is 99 in Weaver’s starts this season, the totals 8-10.

Weaver, whose ERA is a run and a third higher on the road this year than it is at home, started and beat Texas back in April, and started against them three times last year. Over those four outings, Weaver allowed just four ER and 26 BR in 26 innings of work. But the Angels could only split those four games, with the totals going 0-3-1.

Ballard, a lefty, went 8-3 this year pitching for the AA Frisco RoughRiders, with a 3.97, 1.54 WHIP and 29/64 BB/K ratio in 88 1/3 IP. A non-draftee, Ballard was pitching for the University of Virginia two summers ago.

Offensively speaking, LA ranks 19th in the majors in team BA at .258, 26th in team OBP at .317, and 23rd in both team slugging at .389 and scoring at 4.3 runs per game.

Texas ranks 2nd in batting average at .280, 3rd in OBP at .351, and leads the majors in both team slugging at .455 and scoring at 5.5 RPG.

Over the last five games, the LA bullpen has allowed two ER and 11 BR in 11 1/3 IP.

Over its last five games, the Texas pen has given up eight ER and 23 BR in 22 IP.

On the injury front, Los Angeles placed C Mike Napoli (12 HR this year) on the DL Monday with a sore shoulder. Meanwhile, both C Gerald Laird and 3B Hank Blalock are still on the Texas DL with bad hammys.

The totals are 33-52 in Angels games this season, 48-39 in Rangers games, and 22-18 in games played at The Ballpark, which are averaging 12 total runs this year, most of all ML parks.

Zman’s Pick: I like the over 10.5 runs tonight.