The Angels have been getting beat up on as of late. They enter this series riding a five-game losing streak and they’ve been outscored by an average of eight runs per game during that stretch. Opponents have hung double-digit runs on the Angels in four of those five games, including a 21-3 drubbing by the A’s on Thursday.
Sampson to make third career start for Rangers
The Rangers are scheduled to turn to right-hander Adrian Sampson for his third start of the season in the series opener on Monday. The 26-year-old has suffered a tough fate so far this season, losing each of his first two starts, despite allowing just three runs over a combined 10 ⅔ innings of work. He is fresh off of tossing 5 ⅔ innings of two-run ball at home against the Tampa Bay Rays, but run support was once again a problem for Sampson, as the Rangers were shut out in a 3-0 loss. Texas has now scored zero runs in the rookie’s first two career starts. Sampson was effective at Triple-A before being recalled to the big leagues, going 8-4 with 3.77 ERA in 33 appearances (19 starts). Opponents are batting .286 off of him coming into this game and don’t expect the Rangers’ right-hander to miss many batters either. He’s striking out just 4.09 batters per nine innings in the Majors and owned a 6.04 K/9 rate at Triple-A this season. This will be his first career start against the Angels.
Pena hopes to rebound after rough outing
Los Angeles will counter by sending righty Felix Pena to the hill at Angel Stadium, who is looking to rebound after getting roughed up in his last start against the Oakland Athletics. Pena looked to be emerging as a viable option in the starting rotation before allowing six runs on six hits in four innings of work on the road versus the Athletics last time out. Prior to that outing, he had pitched into the sixth inning or later in eight consecutive starts, while allowing three earned runs or less on seven of those occasions. He enters the week sporting a 3-5 overall record to go along with a respectable 4.20 ERA through 18 appearances (16 starts) this season.
Pena has made one start against the Rangers already in 2018, tossing six scoreless innings of six-hit ball against them just two outings ago on Sept. 12. According to Baseball Savant, the current Rangers’ roster is batting .273 in 23 career plate appearances against the Angels’ right-hander heading into Monday’s matchup.
- Angels are 7-1 in their last 8 home games vs. a team with a losing record.
- Angels are 4-1 in their last 5 Monday games.
- Rangers are 1-6 in their last 7 road games vs. a right-handed starter.
- Rangers are 0-4 in their last 4 when their opponent allows 5 runs or more in their previous game.
- Rangers are 0-5 in their last 5 after scoring 5 runs or more in their previous game.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Pena shut out the Texas less than two weeks ago and he should be hungry to rebound with a solid showing after getting hit hard in his last start against the A’s. Sampson has pitched well through his first two Major League starts, but he’s allowed at least one home run in all three of his big league appearances and he doesn’t appear to have the ability to generate swings-and-misses consistently enough to remain effective. His 4.09 K/0 rate suggests that his current .265 BABIP isn’t going to last very long, so I’m leaning towards the Angels in this AL West showdown at Angel Stadium on Monday night.
Prediction: Pick: Los Angeles Angels -168
Full-Game Total Pick
Texas has scored the second-least runs in baseball over the past week, scraping just 14 runs across the plate over their past six games. The Rangers are batting just .186 with a .591 OPS as a team during that span. The Angels haven’t been much better offensively either, ranking just 22nd in runs scored over the past week. Expect a bounce back effort from Pena here after he shut out out the Rangers earlier this month and take the under in this divisional battle on Monday night.
Prediction: Under 9
Full-Game Prop Bet
Just when it seemed like J.D. Martinez had all but locked up the AL MVP race, Mike Trout has caught fire to close off the season on an absolute tear. The Angels’ outfielder has 38 home runs to go along with his .316 batting average and league-leading 1.096 OPS. He’s been even more locked in than usual as of late, hitting .404 with seven home runs over the past two weeks and five blasts over his last six games. Take Trout to hit the first home run of this ball game.
Prediction: Mike Trout to hit the first home run
First Five Innings Side Pick
The Angels have been getting blown out left-and-right over the past week. They’ve been outscored 58-13 during their current five-game losing streak and Pena was victimized for six earned runs in his last start against the A’s. With that being said, he had been one of the Angels’ best pitchers over the past two months and Pena has tossed quality outings in four of his previous five trips to the mound. Take the Halos at home in this meaningless late-season clash between two non-playoff teams.
Prediction: Los Angeles Angels
First Five Innings Total Bet
Pena stumbled in his last outing, but he’s still allowed three earned runs or less in six of his last eight starts and he’s pitched into the sixth inning or later in seven of those appearances. Meanwhile, Sampson has stymied opponents to just three runs over his first two MLB starts, so I’m leaning towards the under on the five-inning total in this spot.
First Five Innings Prop Prediction
Sampson was serviceable at the minor league level, but he didn’t really stand out either. He surrendered a first inning run in his last start and I expect him to have some trouble with the top of this Angels order. Take the Angels to win the first inning of this ball game.
Prediction: First Innings Winner – Los Angeles Angels