Major League Baseball

Angels Begin Long Climb Up AL West

Scott FeldmanMLB Betting – Texas Rangers @ Los Angeles Angels
Scott Feldman (5-9) vs. Ervin Santana (9-7)

Scott Feldman vs. Los Angeles Angels Hitting
Scott Feldman hasn’t won since June 18th, going 0-3 in six starts since. Although he hasn’t pitched horribly in that stretch, the right-hander hasn’t done anything to create a win for himself. Only one of those six starts is considered a ‘quality starts,’ and in half of the outings he wasn’t able to pitch out of the sixth inning. His overall numbers (5-9, 5.46 ERA) suggest the Rangers may be looking for more pitching depth, considering they’re poised to win their division. Feldman may be pitching for his spot in the post-season.

Torii Hunter is the Angels best overall hitter, and unfortunately for Rangers fans, the center-fielder has had loads of success against Feldman. Hunter is hitting .429 (9-for-21) with 5 RBI’s in his career against Feldman, and judging by the way Feldman has been pitching those numbers are sure to rise. Another big bopper in L.A., Mike Napoli, has big numbers against the Feld-ster (.478, 2 HR, 6RBI in 23 AB’s). The Angels offense isn’t as good as it used to be, but there is legitimate pop and they’re facing a pitcher with less than dominating stuff. If you’re betting online, be comfortable with the Angels offense in this matchup.

Ervin Santana vs. Texas Rangers Hitting
Ervin Santana has been a very solid pitcher in his last six starts, going 3-2 and pitching at least seven innings each time. In five of the starts he allowed three runs or else (the only exception was four runs in an eight inning appearance). Overall Santana has a 3.55 ERA this season, second on his team behind Jered Weaver. He’s also second on the team in strikeouts and WHIP behind the aforementioned Weaver. It’s safe to say Santana is the second best starter on the Halos.

Unfortunately for him, those stats mean little when facing the high powered offense of the Texas Rangers. Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz and Michael Young and some of the best hitters in the division. However, Santana’s most recent start came against these same Rangers, and the right-hander came away with a win after throwing eight innings of two-run ball. I’m betting that type of success against an offense as talented as Texas’ doesn’t happen again.

Bullpen Comparison

Neftali Feliz anchors a Rangers bullpen that has helped Texas create such a large lead in the AL West. Feliz has 28 saves in 30 chances, and averages over a strikeout an inning. Darren O’Day is the ace of the relievers, with a tiny 1.36 ERA in 39 2/3 innings pitched. Darren Oliver isn’t far behind with a 2.06 ERA. Although there are a couple of bad apples, the Texas bullpen has been one of the better ones in the AL this season.
Once the prize of the AL West, the Angels bullpen has fallen on hard times this season. The usually reliable Scot Shields has been hammered all season and sports an unattractive 5.86 ERA. Closer Brian Fuentes has a respectable 3.86 ERA, but only 18 saves. No reliever who has thrown over 20 innings has an ERA under 3.75, and only three-of-eight average more than a strikeout per inning.

Outlook
Anaheim needs to win this series in order to stay relevant in the AL West. Texas wants to put an end to finish the divisional race early, and they can essentially do so in this series. Both teams are desperate to win. The Angels have the edge because of the pitching advantage, and I’m betting that takes them to a win in this game. However if Santana falters, Los Angeles may be in too deep of a hole to climb up from.

Pick: Los Angeles Angels

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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