MLB Pick: Los Angeles Angels at Texas Rangers

by Taylor Smith
on April 15, 2019

Minute Read

This will already be the second head-to-head series between the Angels and Rangers in 2019. The 2 teams met back in Anaheim for a 4-game weekend series at the beginning of April, and Mike Trout certainly played a sizable role. Trout had 6 hits across 11 at-bats against Texas in that first series. He also walked 6 times, homered 5 times and drove in 9 runs.

Trout was forced to miss the Halos’ weekend series in Chicago due to a groin injury, but the former AL MVP is expected to return to the LA lineup tonight. Obviously, that’s awful news for the Rangers’ pitching staff and great news for the Angels. Trevor Cahill will take the mound for the Angels tonight against Ranger right-hander Shelby Miller.

The following odds are courtesy of our live odds feed:

Betting Data Angels Rangers
2019 Straight-Up 8-7 7-7
2019 Home 6-1 5-3
2019 Away 2-6 2-4
2019 ATR 10-5-0 9-5-0
2019 ATR Home 6-1-0 6-2-0
2019 ATR Away 4-4-0 3-3-0
2019 O/U 3-12-0 8-6-0
2019 O/U Home 2-5-0 6-2-0
2019 O/U Away 1-7-0 2-4-0

Texas’ Pitching Struggles

The Rangers have a starting rotation full of experimental arms, and Shelby Miller is one of them. Once a decorated prospect in the Cardinals’ system, Miller has battled a number of injuries and inconsistency over the last several seasons. The 28-year-old had an ERA north of 10.00 in 5 appearances for the Diamondbacks last season, but the Rangers decided to take a flier on him in free agency this past winter.

Things haven’t gone smoothly for Miller thus far. He’s allowed 6 runs on 10 hits in just 5.2 innings of work across his first 2 starts of the season. His most recent outing came against Trout and these Angels on April 7. He yielded 4 runs on 4 hits in 2 innings that afternoon.

Miller has a below-average career strikeout rate of just 19.4 percent, but so far this year he’s managed a K-rate of just 8.1 percent. That’ll come up as the year progresses, but it’s still not a great sign. His walk rate so far is also north of 21 percent, which is downright painful.

There is a good pitcher in here somewhere, but it’s been a while since we’ve seen him. Miller has actually fared well against right-handed hitters over the years, as he’s limited RHBs to a wOBA of just .291. Lefties have teed off on him, however, as they have posted a wOBA of .336 against Miller over the course of his career.

The Angels don’t have many imposing lefties in the lineup, especially with Shohei Ohtani still sidelined, but guys like Kole Calhoun and Justin Bour could take advantage of Miller’s wide platoon split in this spot. Globe Life Park is an elite hitter’s park, especially when it comes to left-handed power hitters.

Angels’ Uneven Start

The Angels are 8-7 on the season, which is actually pretty impressive when you consider they’ve dealt with injuries and started the season just 1-6. The Halos bounced back by taking 3 of 4 from Texas and sweeping the Brewers before splitting 2 games over the weekend with the Cubs. Winning games with Trout, Ohtani and Justin Upton all out is surprising, but it’s necessary for this team if they have realistic postseason aspirations.

The Angels have a pitching staff that doesn’t look amazing on paper, but they do have the 10th-best ERA in the league so far this season. The Halos’ staff has a team ERA of 3.91 thus far, which is better than World Series contenders like the Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox and Phillies.

Cahill, who pitched for the A’s last season, has gotten off to a fine start in his first season in Anaheim. The veteran right-hander has allowed just 3 earned runs over his last 2 starts combined, and he’s faced a quality offense (Oakland, Seattle, Milwaukee) in every game.

Cahill has made a career out of getting ground ball outs, but so far this season he’s been getting more strikeouts and fly balls. Cahill has a ground ball rate of just 29.4 percent so far, which is well below his career average of 54.6 percent. His ground ball tendency has made it tough for opposing offenses to hit many home runs against him, but he does get a substantial park downgrade tonight going from Angel Stadium to Globe Life Park.

He’ll also be facing a Texas lineup full of left-handed power bats. Cahill has yielded a career wOBA of .332 to those that swing the bat from the left side of the plate.

The Pick

This game has an implied total of 10 ½ runs, so Vegas expects this to be one of the more high-scoring games of the day. We have a pair of quality offenses going toe-to-toe against a couple of right-handed pitchers with sketchy track records against left-handed hitters, so it makes sense considering the game is taking place in this ballpark.

Cahill has pitched well, but I’m not a fan of this matchup for him. The Rangers can throw a number of quality lefty hitters (Joey Gallo, Shin-Soo Choo, Nomar Mazara) his way, and the fact that he won’t be pitching in his pitcher-friendly home park makes this a pretty scary spot for him.

I’m not confident in backing a team throwing Shelby Miller to the mound, but I do like the value that comes with betting on the Rangers to win this game outright at +110 on the moneyline. Vegas has this as close to a toss-up, but I like the Texas side here. I agree with oddsmakers in that plenty of runs should be scored, and this looks like a good spot in general for the Rangers.

I’d be betting on Texas to win at home tonight at +110.

Pick: Texas Rangers

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Taylor Smith

Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, but he’s willing to take one for the team on that front every now and then.

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