AL West Match-up of the Day: Los Angeles Angels vs. Texas Rangers

The Texas Rangers (75-59) play host to the Los Angeles Angels (72-60) for the rubber match in a three-game series between the top two teams in the American League West. Texas will seek to right their ship after losing 8-4 last night to fall to 3-7 in their last 10 games, and just 2 games ahead of Los Angeles in the AL West standings. At the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, runs have been pouring in on both sides with a total of 30 runs scored during the first two games, however in tonight’s game the Texas Rangers specifically may have a tougher time getting runs on the board against Jered Weaver, one of the best pitchers in the Major Leagues this year.

Jered Weaver (15-6, 2.03 ERA) hits the mound for today’s game on just 3 days’ rest, as manager Mike Scioscia opted to send his best pitchers against Texas in the hopes of picking up ground in the standings. It certainly paid off last night as Ervin Santana got a win on 3 days rest himself, though the Angels bats definitely contributed by scoring 6 runs through 5 innings to knock out Rangers’ starter C.J. Wilson en route to the 8-4 win. Jered Weaver will make his first career start on 3 days’ rest, though with the way he’s been pitching down the home stretch, this may be of little consequence for him this evening, especially against Texas who he’s 2-1 with a 1.86 ERA in 29 innings against this year.

In opposition to Weaver tonight, Colby Lewis (11-9, 4.07 ERA) will try to get back on track after his roughest start since June 6th, giving up 7 runs in 6 innings during a 11-5 loss to Boston this last Tuesday. Though he’s pitched pretty well against the Angels this season (0-1, 3.00 ERA over 12 innings), run support has been a problem for him against LA, evident in his last outing on August 18th when he went 7 shutout innings but took a no decision in a 2-1 loss.

Betting Lines for Texas vs. Los Angeles at WagerWeb Sportsbook:

With Jered Weaver having no precedent of pitching on 3 days’ rest, WagerWeb Sportsbook finds the Angels’ ace behind +100 underdog odds, while Colby Lewis and the home team Rangers get a -120 on the money line as the favorite to win this match-up. Los Angeles gets 1 1/2 runs at -125 on the spread while Texas gives up 1 1/2 runs at +175 odds. The over/under on today’s match-up is at 8 1/2 runs, which while being about half the runs scored in each game of this series so far, takes into consideration Jered Weaver’s presence on the mound.

Our Pick to Win:

Texas has yet to show that they have shrugged off their current run of bad form, and hasn’t been able to overcome their spotty pitching with their usual heavy-handed bats. With Los Angeles on a run-producing tear and sitting behind one of the best pitchers in baseball, I like LA as an underdog to take the win today as well as the series, and close the gap in the AL West to just 1 game.

Players to Watch, Texas:

Elvis Andrus, SS – Andrus is hitting .356 against LA this year, including an astounding 10-for-14 (.714) against Weaver this season (and .405 over his career). The speedy shortstop will need to continue getting on base against Weaver to help win the small ball battle against him.

Michael Young, DH – Hitting an impressive .350 during August and .377 this year against Los Angeles, Young could be another factor in tonight’s game as he looks to improve on his .264 career average against Weaver.

Players to Watch, Los Angeles:

Peter Bourjos, CF – The youngster has been impressive down the stretch this season, hitting .341 in August and .326 this year against Texas pitching. Look for Bourjos to get on base and provide a speedy addition to the Angels’ run scoring machine of late.
Torii Hunter, RF – Hunter continues to tear through August, hitting a blistering .391 with 5 home runs and 16 RBIs. However, the 36 year-old has struggled against Texas this year and Colby Lewis, hitting .207 and .143 respectively. His hot hand may work in his favor to change those numbers a bit towards the positive tonight if the Angels can keep up their impressive scoring run.

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