The Texas Rangers take on the Los Angeles Angels on Monday in the first game of their three-game series from Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. Texas had an impressive sweep over the Rays during the mid-week last week but then followed that up with a series loss to the Orioles over the weekend to remain under .500 on the year. For the Angels, they continue to be one of the pleasant surprises of the baseball season, sitting just a half-game behind Seattle for first place in the AL West but lost their last fully played series to the Royals last week. Both teams will be relishing the opportunity to take on a divisional foe, but which team will start off the mid-week slate of games with a bang on Monday night?
Rangers Inconsistency Becoming A ConcernThe Rangers are yet to lose back-to-back series on the year but haven’t won back-to-back series either, and that inconsistency of play from night to night continues to be a major issue. After looking like they might have turned a corner by sweeping the Rays, they just gave it all back away over the weekend by dropping a series to the Orioles. Nate Lowe has been a leader on the offense, bashing a team-high four home runs and knocking in 16 RBIs, but is only hitting .230 on the year. The contact numbers have been an issue for the Rangers, as they have no eligible players hitting over .300, with Nick Solak leading the way hitting .293. Leody Taveras started the season strong, as did Eli White who was expected to add some power to the lineup, but both are hitting well below .200. The Rangers also brought in David Dahl recently as well, but he’s failed to produce at the top of the order as well, hitting only .218 on the year now that he’s not getting half of his bats in altitude out in Colorado. The Rangers have found ways to win without breaking the bank and without much of a diverse set of offensive weapons, which might be a good sign for when the lineup as a whole starts to click.
According to MLB.com, Kohei Arihara is slated to get the ball on Monday night in what will be his fourth start of the year. The MLB rookie had a decent spring, starting four games and allowing six earned runs across 14 innings, striking out 11. On the regular season, he’s 1-1 across three starts, allowing only five runs across 14.2 innings of work and striking out seven. Arihara looked exceptional in his last start against the Rays and will be able to make some noise if he’s able to channel that momentum from the last time out. Against the Rays last week he got through 5.2 innings, allowing only three hits and no walks, allowing no runs, and striking out five. He’s gotten better as the season has progressed, allowing three runs in his first start, two in his second, and none last time out, as he becomes more and more familiar with the pace of Major League Baseball.
The Rangers bullpen hasn’t necessarily been their strong suit this year should Arihara get into trouble, but they do have a former starter, Kolby Allard, who already has appeared in three games for five innings this year, only giving up a single earned run, according to FanGraphs. John King only has allowed one earned run across six innings of work, adding in a hold, while another former starter, Ian Kennedy, had three saves after moving towards a bullpen role in recent times. The Rangers’ ability to incorporate former starters at the Major League level and turn them into relievers, should definitely help them down the road from a depth and experience perspective.
Angels Trying To Keep Pace In AL WestAfter years and years of hype and off-season additions that ended up adding little value when it was all said and done the Angels seem finally be turning the corner this year, but have a competitive division that they need to make sure they’re keeping pace with for the time being. Mike Trout continues to look like one of the best players in baseball, co-leading the team with four home runs and a .386 batting average, while also having 10 RBIs. Jared Walsh has been a key addition to the everyday starting lineup, leading the team with 13 RBIs and tying Trout with four homers himself, while still hitting .341 on the year. Shohei Ohtani has also been able to remain healthy for the time being and has four home runs himself with a .333 average. If the guys at the top of the order can get on, the Angels have their own group of power hitters who can take over and make pitchers pay with the long ball
According to MLB.com, Dylan Bundy, the former first-rounder to the Orioles, will make his fourth start of the year on Monday night at home. On the season he’s 0-1 with a 3.32 ERA and 22 strikeouts, after a strong spring training that didn’t see him get any decisions across his four starts but did see him boast an ERA of only 3.12. Bundy took the loss in his last start, but has consistently gotten through six innings, and has only allowed seven earned runs across 19 total innings this season while striking out 22. The Rangers lineup will actually be a nice change of pace for him after taking on two of the best offenses in baseball in the White Sox and Astros to start the season, and then the red-hot Royals last week.
Bundy’s last start against the Rangers came all the way back in the 2019 season when he faced them in both a September and June start. In those two starts, he went 1-0, tossing 11 total innings, but allowing eight earned runs. He still was able to keep the team in those starts and struck out eight. In 2018, Bundy started only one game against the Rangers, allowing only one earned run and seven hits across six innings, striking out six, but still taking a loss in the process. According to ESPN, Texas hitters have 80 total at-bats against Bundy in their careers, with 23 hits which is good for a batting average of around .288. They also have struck out 22 times total and only have an on-base percentage of .319 as a team.
The top team trends according to Covers.com are: - Rangers are 0-4 in their last 4 Monday games. - Rangers are 0-5 in their last 5 games vs. a right-handed starter. - Rangers are 0-4 in their last 4 games with the total set at 9.0-10.5. - Rangers are 1-4 in the last 5 meetings. - Rangers are 4-14 in the last 18 meetings in Los Angeles.
The top team trends according to Covers.com are: - Angels are 5-0 in their last 5 during game 1 of a series.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Not only are the Angels at home for this one, but they also have a lineup capable of making noise and making it a long night and an introduction to the AL West for Arihara. Trout remains one of the most dangerous hitters in the game and is locked in this early in the season better than he has been during his younger playing days and will remain a tough out for the Texas staff. Bundy has been good against some elite competition on the year and facing the Rangers should allow him to take a step back and focus on his cadence and rhythm and make outs happen without much of an issue. In the end, the Angles’ offense and bullpen experience will be too much for Texas to match and prove to be the difference as the Rangers struggle to score runs and take advantage of the Angels’ inevitable mistakes.
Full-Game Total Pick
Both the Angels and Rangers struggle to put up big numbers and that shouldn’t change on Monday. The Rangers rank 26th in runs per nine innings and 20th in batting average, and while the Angels are consistent, it’s still difficult to rely on them to put up nine or ten runs on their own to ensure the over hits. In addition, according to covers.com, for Texas, the under is 4-0 in their last four series-opening games and is 5-1 in their last six games overall on grass. For Los Angeles, the under is 5-0 in their last five series-opening games. In games between the two teams, the under is 20-5-1 in the last 26 meetings in LA and is 3-1-1 in the last five meetings overall.