MLB Baseball - L.A. Angels (-165, 10) at Texas Rangers 8:30 PM EST
Despite trailing the first place Angels by 15 games in the standings, the Rangers are proving to be more than the L.A. can handle in this current series, taking the first two games, both as underdogs.
The hosts will go for the sweep tonight as Texas is a +150 dog at sportsbook.com when Robinson Tejeda takes the mound to oppose Kelvim Escobar.
As big as the disparity in the current teams' records, this series shouldn't stand as that big of a surprise if you consider recent play.
Texas is actually playing much better baseball of late, winning 13 of 19 games overall. Making the stretch even more impressive is the fact that the Rangers have won 12 times during that span as an underdog.
With two wins over Detroit, Boston, and the Angels, the team is finally starting to show signs of life in 2007.
The Angels, meanwhile, have dropped six of their last eight and have scored only 12 runs in their last four games. This is quite a change of pace for a team that enjoyed a magnificent two month run between April 20th & June 24th in which it catapulted itself to the top of the MLB standings and offensive leaderboard.
Robinson Tejeda (5-7, 6.69 ERA) starts the finale for the Rangers, but hasn't lasted more than four innings in three of his last four starts, and has allowed at least four runs in each of them.
He is tied with teammate Vicente Padilla for the worst ERA in baseball among pitchers who have thrown at least 80 innings.
The Angels counter with Kelvim Escobar (9-3, 3.32), who has won his last three decisions but was pounded for season highs of seven earned runs and 10 hits on Friday.
Escobar is 3-8 with a 4.45 ERA in 30 career appearances, including 12 starts, against the Rangers. He won his only start this season against them, allowing three runs in 5-1/3 innings in an 8-3 home victory on April 3.
Texas hasn't swept a series from the Angels in nearly six years, September 21-23 of 2001 to be exact. However, in tonight's game, the Rangers boast a very strong StatFox Super Situation that has won at a 71.8% clip over the last five seasons:
Play Against - Road teams (LA ANGELS) - poor power team (<=0.9 HR's/game) against a starting pitcher who gives up 1or more HR's/start against opponent with a cold starting pitcher- ERA >= 7.50 over his last 3 starts. (51-20 over the last 5 seasons.) (71.8%, +28.9 units. Rating = 3*)
Essentially, the System is saying that the weakness of Tejeda, giving up the long ball, won't be able to be exploited by the finesse lineup of the Angels. When you throw in the fact that the Halos have just 19 hits in their last four games, Tejeda's recent struggles shouldn't matter much.
With a line of LA -170, it would be easy to jump on the favorite in this one, but little evidence seems to point to any value on that side of the line. Consider a Texas play today or let it go.
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