Angels at Rangers MLB Pick April 11
It’s safe to say the 2018 season hasn’t gone according to plan thus far for the Texas Rangers. Texas enters play Wednesday losers of 3 consecutive games and 4 of their last 5 overall. The Rangers’ staff has a cumulative ERA of 4.93 over the course of their 4-8 start, which is the fifth-worst mark in baseball.
Matt Moore, one of several newcomers to the Rangers’ rotation, has not fared well in his first couple of starts. Through 2 starts, Moore has lasted just 7.1 total innings along with a bloated ERA of 11.05 and a disgusting WHIP of 2.18. This was a guy that struggled to the tune of a 5.52 ERA while playing for the Giants last season, so there’s no telling what the Ranger brass was thinking by bringing him into the hitter-friendly confines of Arlington.
Moore has historically shown a reverse-split tendency, though at this stage of his career he looks plenty hittable to hitters from either side of the plate. Last season, he allowed a massive .438 wOBA to lefties compared to a .326 mark for righties. That is a dramatic split, but it’s not like he’s stifling right-handed hitters. He’s just slightly more adept at getting them out, but .326 is still a bad mark for a pitcher.
Moore has the misfortune of facing a loaded Angels lineup here tonight. The Halos’ lineup doesn’t have a ton of lefties, but the ones they do have are potent in Shohei Ohtani and Kole Calhoun. As for the righties, Moore will have to find a way to get through the likes of Mike Trout, Justin Upton, Zack Cozart, Andrelton Simmons and others. L.A. has an implied team total of 5.72, which is the third-highest on the schedule.
Of course, the Rangers actually have the second-highest projected total at 5.78 runs tonight. Texas hitters will be taking their hacks against Jaime Barria, who will be making his major league debut. Barria, just 21, entered the season as one of the 10 best prospects in the Angels’ system.
Barria doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but he has decent mound presence and command of his 3 primary pitches (low-90s fastball, curveball, change-up). He wasn’t expected to debut in the big leagues until later in the season, but he had to be rushed up due to injuries to Matt Shoemaker, Andrew Heaney and JC Ramirez.
Barria didn’t show a ton of strikeout upside in the minors, where he typically hovered around a K-rate of 20 percent. He has been good about keeping his walks to a minimum, but obviously things are a bit different once you get to the major league level. The Rangers’ lineup strikes out a ton, so it’ll be interesting to see how they fare tonight against a guy that doesn’t have a habit of missing many bats at lower levels.
The right-hander didn’t allow many homers in the minors, but it wouldn’t be a total surprise to see him give up a longball or 2 tonight against an all-or-nothing type of Rangers lineup. Joey Gallo can hit it a long way if he gets a hold of one, while Rougned Odor, Nomar Mazara and Adrian Beltre aren’t lacking in the power department either.
While Barria is unproven, it’s hard to imagine Moore mowing down the Angels’ lineup on the other side. It’s going to be in the 70s tonight in Arlington, which makes for some solid hitting weather. 11 1/2 runs is a massive total, but I think we’ll have a shootout on our hands. I also think the Angels are being undervalued both on the runline and moneyline, so you can feel free to hammer L.A. there, too.
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