Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#971 Texas Rangers 9.5 vs.
#972 Los Angeles Angels -165
Sunday, May 26, 2019 at 4:07pm EDT
Written by Nick Raffoul

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The Texas Rangers will close out their American League West weekend battle at Angel Stadium on Sunday as they prepare for their series finale versus the Los Angeles Angels.

The Houston Astros have run away with the AL West, putting seven games of separation between them and the next closest team. The Rangers currently find themselves in second place in the division standings after getting back above the .500-mark with another solid week. Texas had won eight of their last 10 games, including five straight entering play on Saturday night. Can the Rangers close the series with a victory on the road at Angel Stadium on Sunday afternoon?

Rangers to use Jurado as opener for Sunday’s finale

The Rangers have committed to using relievers in an opener role this season and it had paid off for the most part. This time right-hander Ariel Jurado will take the mound in the first inning for the Rangers. Jurado tried his hand as a traditional starter last season, but posted a 5.93 ERA in 12 games (eight starts) for the Rangers, while averaging just under five innings per start.

However, Texas has moved him into more of a bullpen role in 2019, while giving him the opportunity to use the experience that he gained as a starter last season by employing him at the start of games. Jurado has usually followed the opener for Texas this season, but he did make one start this season. That outing was more of a traditional start for Jurado, who gave up four runs (two earned) in 4 ⅓ frames against the St. Louis Cardinals. Prior to that outing, Jurado had not worked longer than 2 ⅓ innings and had not allowed an earned run in an appearance of two innings or less.

The 23-year-old faced the Halos twice (one start) last season, finishing with a 5.40 ERA against them in 10 combined innings of work. According to Baseball Savant, the current Halos’ roster is batting a healthy .412 in 18 plate appearances off of the Rangers’ right-hander.

Heaney to make 2019 debut after coming off IL

Los Angeles will counter with left-hander Andrew Heaney, who is scheduled to come off of the injured list to make his first start of the 2019 season. Heaney’s long-awaited debut comes on the heels of a solid 2018 campaign in which he led the Angels in starts with 30 and posted a solid 4.15 ERA. He struck out 10 in 4 ⅓ scoreless frames in his final rehab start at Triple-A on Monday. The 27-year-old was tough on left-handed hitters last season, giving up zero home runs and an OPS of .546 against them. However, righties launched 27 home runs off of Heaney in 2018.

Heaney made three starts versus the Rangers last season, but only factored into one decision, finishing 0-1 with a 5.89 ERA. However, he was much better at Angel Stadium last year, posting a 7-3 record and a 3.22 ERA in 14 home starts compared to a 2-7 record and a 5.06 mark on the road.

According to Baseball Savant, the current Rangers’ roster is batting .297 in 71 plate appearances off of the Halos right-hander. StatCast data projects Texas hitters for an expected batting average of .249 and an expected slugging percentage of .250 heading into Sunday’s start.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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The Rangers have won each of their last four meetings, but they’ve managed to win just two of their last 10 meetings in Los Angeles. Jurado has been pitching well for the Rangers this season, but he struggled in his only start and it doesn’t seem like a guarantee that he will be out after just an inning or two. Meanwhile, Heaney looked good in his last rehab start and was arguably the Halos’ most consistent pitcher last season. Take L.A. to come out on top at home in the series finale on Sunday.

Prediction: L.A. Angels -158

Full-Game Total Pick

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These two teams have stayed under the projected total in 19 of their last 26 meetings and 16 of their last 21 meetings on the road in Los Angeles. The under is 9-3-2 in the Angels last 14 Sunday games and 7-3-3 in their last 13 games overall. Meanwhile, the Rangers have stayed under in six of their last seven games and the under is 34-15-4 in their last 53 road games overall. Take this AL West clash to go under the projected total on Sunday afternoon.

Prediction: Over 9

Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. He uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits.