AL Match-up of the Day: Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Angels

The Los Angeles Angels (65-58) host the Texas Rangers (71-52) for Game 3 of a 4-game series between the 1st and 2nd place teams in the American League West division. After grabbing the first two games of the series by taking advantage of rookie pitching in opposition, the Rangers will seek out their 6th win in a row as well as a commanding 7 game lead over Los Angeles in the AL West with just 38 games left in the regular season after today.

The starting pitching match-up for today’s game may at least shift some balance back in the direction of Los Angeles, as Ervin Santana (9-8, 3.10 ERA) faces C.J. Wilson (11-5, 3.28 ERA), which should make for a much more competitive game this evening in comparison to the last two contests.

Ervin Santana has been on fire over the past month, winning 5 straight decisions. He’s thrown 3 complete games during that stretch (two of those on the road), and has allowed no more than 1 earned run in each of the last 5 games he’s thrown in. However, his toughest challenge during his recent hot streak comes tonight against the Rangers, who he’s struggled against this season giving up 10 earned runs on 18 hits in 11 innings of work (8.18 ERA). However, most of his work was during his slumping first half of the season, and the Angels will be hoping that his form in August (3-0, 1.03 ERA in 26 1/3 innings) will shine though tonight.

C.J. Wilson on the other hand has been very shaky over the past month, though has dominated the Angels this season posting a 1.35 ERA against them in 20 innings of work, and has improved in his last 2 outings of work in August (1-1, 2.13 ERA in 12 2/3 innings). He’ll look for redemption today after a tough loss in his last outing against the Angels and ace Jered Weaver on July 21st, which saw him as the better pitching throwing 8 innings of 2-hit ball, but getting a 1-0 loss on an error by outfielder Endy Chavez.

Betting Lines for Texas vs. Los Angeles at Bodog.eu:

The lines for this match-up move much closer together tonight, with the Angels actually getting the favorite at -107 odds, as the Rangers follow closely behind at -103 favorites to win. Expecting these two pitchers will be on point tonight, the over/under is set at 7 1/2 runs (-110 for either over or under), and the spread showing Los Angeles with +185 odds giving up 1 1/2 runs, and Texas getting 1 1/2 runs at -225.

Our Pick to Win:

With the Rangers bats’ doing the damage thus far this series and averaging north of 7 runs per game in their last 8 wins, all Rangers eyes will be on C.J. Wilson to continue to improve back to his usual solid form and we can expect that the Rangers bats will produce runs regardless of pitching match-up. Though Santana has been outstanding of late, his shaky form against Texas earlier in the year might come back to haunt him tonight, as he faces one of the hottest batting orders in the game. Look for the Rangers to pick up their 6th win in a row, and for the over wager on total points to be a solid option based on the Rangers eclipsing the total runs in all but 1 of their last 11 games.

Players to Watch, Texas:

Mike Napoli, C – He’s hitting .345 against Los Angeles this year (10-for-29), and is hitting .302 in August with 4 home runs and 10 RBIs.

Michael Young, DH – Young is hitting .367 for August, and .333 (15-45) against LA this season with 10 RBIs. He’s seen a ton of Santana too and fared well against him, going 24-for-68 lifetime (.353) with 3 home runs and 12 RBIs.

Players to Watch, Los Angeles:

Torii Hunter, RF – The veteran outfielder is experiencing some hot August nights, hitting .442 for the month with 2 homers and 8 RBIs. He’s struggled against Texas however, with just a .167 average this year, and a .227 lifetime mark against C.J. Wilson. He’s hit in every game this month for a nice little 14-game hitting streak, so expect to see Hunter contributing for the Angels tonight.

Peter Bourjos, CF – filling in at the #1 spot in the batting order in place of the slumping Erick Aybar, the 24 year-old Bourjos has shown lots of potential. He’s hitting .345 against Texas (10-for-29), .326 in August, and .333 over the past week. Consistency earns you playing time, and we may be seeing much more of it from this kid going forward.

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