The Los Angeles Angels playoff hopes are as thin as cooked spaghetti. The Angels currently have a 3.9% chance of making the playoffs although that they improved those numbers by 1.3% following a 4-3 victory over the Texas Rangers on Saturday. Los Angeles (23-30) has won three straight and are now three and one-half games behind the Houston Astros for the last wild card spot in the American League.
"We've got to win out," said Angels Saturday night starter Andrew Heaney, who recovered for six and two-thirds innings of six-hit ball after getting rocked in the first inning. "We've got to win every game, and that's how everybody feels. We've got our backs against the wall, so we've got to win."
Meanwhile, Texas (18-34) sits at the bottom of the AL standings and has lost three straight and seven of 10.
Saturday's win was the Angels third straight over the Rangers, however, Texas leads the season series 5-3. The Rangers have outscored the Angels 34-26 for the season.
Pitching Matchup: Los Angeles will send RHP Julio Teheran (0-3, 8.90 ERA) to the mound while Texas counters with RHP Kyle Cody (0-1, 1.42 ERA).
Rangers Continue Their Late Season Swoon As They Continue To Struggle OffensivelyTexas blew an early three-run lead in its 4-3 loss to Los Angeles on Saturday but the story continues to be the Rangers' inability to cross home plate. Texas has failed to score more than three runs in five straight games and six of seven. The Rangers have lost 13 of 19 games in September as they are hitting just .211 and averaging only 3.47 runs this month.
Texas had six hits, marking the sixth straight game that the Rangers have not reached double-digit hits, and were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position last night. On the plus side, the Rangers ended their four-game homerless streak with two blasts to give them 20 four-baggers for the month. Leody Taveras (2-for-4) led the game off with a blast while Rougned Odor, who is 2-for-22 against the Angels this year, followed suit three batters later with a two-run shot.
Leody Taveras, BIG leadoff guy. pic.twitter.com/aGSi5qJ41d— Los Rangers (@Rangers) September 20, 2020
Nick Solack also had a pair of hits.
Kyle Cody gets the call for the fourth start of his career and seventh time this year. Cody has yet to go longer than three innings although he did throw a season-high 72 pitches while permitting four hits and one run -- a solo homer -- to go along with two walks and one strikeout over three innings in a 4-1 loss to Houston on Tuesday. The 26-year-old rookie has allowed one run in each of his three starts. He is 0-1 on the season with a 1.42 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, .205 OBA, and 4.70 FIP in 12.2 innings. His per nine-inning stats are 6.4 hits, 0.7 home runs, 7.1 walks, and 8.5 strikeouts.
Cody is squaring off against the Angels for the second time in his career. He gave up three hits and walked three others while striking out three and allowing a run in a 7-3 run versus Los Angeles on Sept. 9.
Mike Trout Delivers In ClutchWhile Mike Trout -- who has improved his batting average by 16 points this month as he is hitting .344 in September -- has not gone deep in seven straight games, he came up big with the game-winning single in the bottom of the eighth inning as Los Angeles topped Texas 4-3 on Saturday night. Trout went 1-for-4 in the game and now has a hit in five straight games. Seven other Angels got in on the hit parade, led by Shohei Otani (2-for-3, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI) who was was playing for the first time since last Saturday, as they collected eight hits.
Los Angeles has been one of the biggest disappointing teams in all of baseball, but the Angels have an outside chance of salvaging its season as they have won three straight and are enjoying heir best month of the season. The Angeles are 11-6 in September as they have picked up their offensive production, having scored four or more runs in nine straight games. They are hitting .285 with 22 four-baggers over their last 14 games with Taylor Ward and Jared Walsh joining Trout to lead the offensive resurgence. Walsh (.404 avg in September) has hit in 11 consecutive games and 14 of 15 games this month while Ward (.457 avg. this month) is on a four-game hitting streak and is 7-for-15 at-the-dish during this stretch. Pitching continues to be an issue for the LA with the Angels allowing 5.23 runs a game this month as well.
Julio Teheran is making his ninth start of the campaign, yet he has still gone more than five innings this year. Teheran has issues with home runs and he allowed three more -- for 10 total this year -- along with four runs over two innings in a 9-8 loss to Arizona in his last outing on Tuesday. The 29-year-old right-hander is 0-3 on the season with an 8.90 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, .299 OBA, and 7.80 FIP. His per nine-inning stats are 10.7 hits, 3.1 home runs, 3.7 walks, and 5.2 strikeouts.
Teheran faced the Rangers a little less than two weeks ago when he was battered for six hits and five runs in four and two-thirds innings of work though he did register four strikeouts and walked one in a 7-3 setback. The 10-year pro is 1-2 with a 4.08 ERA in three career starts versus the Rangers.
The Angels are:
- 4-0 in their last 4 during game 3 of a series.
- 4-1 in their last 5 games vs. a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30.
- 7-2 in their last 9 vs. American League West.
- 7-2 in their last 9 home games.
- 5-2 in their last 7 overall.
- 5-2 in their last 7 games as a favorite.
- 5-2 in their last 7 games on grass.
- 7-3 in their last 10 games following a win.
The Rangers are:
- 18-40 in their last 58 games as a road underdog.
- 16-37 in their last 53 games as an underdog.
- 7-17 in their last 24 games following a loss.
- 15-37 in their last 52 road games.
- 5-13 in their last 18 games vs. a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30.
- 7-19 in their last 26 road games vs. a team with a losing record.
- 8-25 in their last 33 overall.
- 5-16 in their last 21 games vs. a right-handed starter.
- 1-4 in their last 5 Sunday games.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Desperate teams are the most dangerous in sports. This is why I am taking Los Angeles as the Angels basically need to win out to have any hopes of reaching the postseason. The Angels are currently playing their best baseball of the season, particularly offensively, and has been much better at home than on the road. Meanwhile, Texas has been awful on the road, 5-20, and they have lost 11 of its 15 day games. The Angels have outscored the Rangers 16-7 over the last three contests.
In addition, the Rangers' only offense lately has basically come as a result of the long-ball and while Teheran has been susceptible to giving up home runs, he had done a better job at inducing ground balls prior to his last outing against Arizona. Moreover, the Angels have a slight advantage in the bullpen and I think that both 'pens will get a lot of action.
Prediction: Los Angeles -137
Full-Game Total Pick
I am going with the under here as I believe that the nine and one-half is a little too high for this matchup. I think that this will also be a bullpen game as neither Teheran or Cody have gone more than five innings and the Angels bullpen has been better lately. Moreover, Texas has scored only 2.5 runs and is hitting .201 over their last eight games. Furthermore, the under is 6-2-2 in the last 10 meetings between and 20-6-1 in the last 27 meetings in Los Angeles.
Prediction: Under 9.5