These two teams have split the first two games of this
series, L.A. winning, 6-1, Friday while Texas bombed five homers to take Saturday's
game 9-2. So, the Rangers, at 56-37, lead the AL West by six games over the
Texas also trails the Yankees by just a half-game in the
battle for the best record in the American League.
L.A., meanwhile, also leads the AL Wild-Card race.
Dan Haren (6-8, 4.86) will come off the DL to go for L.A. in
Sunday's series rubber match (8 pm Eastern, ESPN) against lefty Matt Harrison
(12-4, 2.87) for Texas.
These two pitchers hooked up back in early June, with
Harrison getting the better of it in a 7-3 Rangers victory.
Harrison just threw a five-hit shut-out vs. Seattle last
Sunday, and has been on a roll, allowing just five ER over his last 52 1/3
innings. He's now 12-18 on quality starts this year, and the Rangers are 13-5
in games he's started.
However, in two outings vs. L.A. this year, Harrison has given
up seven ER in 12 2/3 innings.
Haren, meanwhile, hasn't pitched since July 3 because of a
sore back. It must have been bothering him for quite some time, because in his
five starts before going on the DL he'd allowed 26 ER on 43 hits over 27
In that one start this season vs. Texas back in June, Haren
gave up two ER on seven hits through five innings.
Most baseball odds makers are listing Sunday's game at
right around a pick 'em, with a total of either eight or 8.5.
Free MLB Pick
Harrison is hot,
while Haren and the Angels are not. But, before this series started, we thought
L.A. would make up some ground on the Rangers in the standings. So, we're going to
go a bit contrarian for Sunday's game and back the Angels
So, the Rangers' lead in the AL West now sits at five games
over the second-place Angels. If the playoffs started today, Texas would be the
two seed in the American League, while L.A. would be the top Wild-Card team.
The Angels will send Ervin Santana (4-9, 5.60) to the mound
Saturday while Texas will throw its pricey Japanese import, Yu Darvish (10-6,
Santana, by our standards, is 8/17 on quality starts this
year, but L.A. is only 5-12 in games he's started. In his latest start, Santana
allowed four runs, two earned, in six innings vs. the Tigers Tuesday; in his
two previous starts he got roughed up for 13 ER in less than seven innings. We
had some success with Santana a couple years ago, but right now he's a threat
to one's bankroll.
On the year, Santana has allowed 108 hits, including 20
homers, in 109 innings.
This will be Santana's first start this year vs. the
Rangers; in four starts last year vs. Texas, Santana gave up 17 ER on 32 hits
over 25 2/3 innings. The Angels lost three of those four games.
On the other side of this pitching matchup, Darvish is also
8/17 in quality starts this year, but the Rangers are 11-6 in games he's
started. Most recently, Darvish got bombed for seven runs in less than seven
innings vs. the Mariners last Saturday, and over his last three starts he's
allowed 14 ER in 20 1/3 innings. So after a very good start to his MLB career,
maybe teams are becoming familiar with his stuff.
Darvish has started twice this season against the Angels,
giving up five ER on nine hits through 11 2/3 innings.
On the season, Darvish has stuck out 121 in 109 innings, but
he's also walked 57, which is more than one every two innings. That's a bit
In cruising some MLB odds makers Saturday morning, we
found Texas could be played at -108 for Saturday's game at Matchbook, while L.A. could be gotten at +110 at The Greek.
The total on Saturday's game was listed at 8.5 at most
baseball betting outlets, but some had it at nine.
Free MLB Pick
We'd like to take the
Angels, but Santana just hasn't shown us enough to warrant any support. SO, instead we'll go with the OVER and shop around for the best number,
preferably no more than 8.5.