It’s Not Been Pretty of Late
The Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels are set to begin a four-game series Thursday night in Anaheim.
The Rangers are in the midst of a freefall, having lost nine of their last 11. LA, despite taking three of the last four, have lost 15 of its last 20.
Someone (theoretically) has to win.
Rangers Falling Apart
After a busy offseason, the MLB playoff odds for the Texas Rangers gave them a shot. So, after overcoming a slow start, Texas was around the .500 mark for much of the first half of the season. Since the Rangers sat 36-37 exactly one month ago, they’ve lost 17 of their last 24, a single series win to their credit.
They were done in by a three-run seventh inning in Wednesday’s 4-2 loss at Seattle.
Hitting hasn’t been overly impressive in recent games. The Texas Rangers rank 13th in runs scored and slugging. However, the batting average is 20th, slugging is 27th. Texas is 20th both in ERA and quality starts, 23rd in WHIP.
Righthander Spencer Howard, who turns 26 Thursday, draws the start in the series opener. He has only made five starts (seven appearances) this season, 1-2 with a bloated 7.11 ERA and 1.78 WHIP in just over 25 innings.
Angels Underperforming Again
The Los Angeles Angels have been nearly impossible to figure when it comes to making MLB picks. From their 27-17 start to their infamous 14-game losing streak, the Angels have baffled nearly everyone. Now, they’re hoping three wins in their last four games lead to a desperate hot streak capable of salvaging their playoff hopes.
Los Angeles’ offense is as hot and cold as it comes, ranking 25th in runs and 26th in both batting average and on-base percentage. The Halo hitters also lead baseball in strikeouts. While the Angels have the 17th-ranked ERA and 15th-ranked WHIP, they’ve also thrown back-to-back shutouts.
A strange series indeed in Kansas City, LA lost the opener, 7-0, winning the next two, 4-0 and 6-0.
Righty Shohei Ohtani, arguably the best player in the game, takes his turn on the mound Thursday. The two-way sensation is 9-5 with a 2.80 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 134 strikeouts in 93.1 innings.
LA’s Mike Trout remains sidelined (since July 12) with a rare back condition. There’s no timetable for a return.
Rangers vs Angels Head-to-Head
Despite losing three out of four in their first head-to-head series this season, the Texas Rangers have a 5-4 advantage against the Los Angeles Angels.
Los Angeles won the 2021 series, 11-8, but Texas won four of five series between 2016 and 2020.
Rangers vs Angels Game Information
- Game: Rangers (43-54) vs Angels (42-56)
- Location: Angel Stadium, Anaheim, CA
- Day/Time: Thursday July 28, 9:38 p.m. ET
- Rangers vs Angels Live Stream: MLB.tv
Rangers vs Angels Betting Lines
S. Howard -R
|Los Angeles Angels
S. Ohtani -R
Rangers vs Angels Prediction
Because of Ohtani and only Ohtani, the Los Angeles Angels are big favorites in this game. The latest lines have LA at -215 on the moneyline, while Texas is priced at +185.
Howard’s poor outings on his resume are just about cancelled out by an inconsistent Halo offense and Ohtani’s dominance. All that makes a modest over/under of 7½.
From a pure betting perspective Thursday, it does makes sense to go with Texas. The Rangers are 41-19 against the spread as run-line underdogs, while the Angels are 26-31 as favorites in the same situation. Texas’ road record (22-28) is also comparable to LA’s home record (22-27).
However, understanding Ohtani’s dominance is essential before making any wager. A bad inning against the Atlanta Braves last weekend, but the 2021 MVP had previously delivered six straight quality starts/wins, four of which came without allowing a single earned run.
LA doesn’t win a lot these days, but they’re far more successful with Ohtani pitching than anyone else. Betting them at close to even money to cover the -1½ run line is the best play for Thursday’s series opener.