The Chicago Cubs proved to the Los Angeles Angels and the rest of the world that they are here to play this season. The World Series favorites got off to a fast start this year, defeating the Angels consecutive days in Anaheim. The Cubs cemented their footprint rather early, pummeling the Angels for a 9-0 final score. Jake Arrieta looked just as fantastic as he was last season and the bats took care of the rest. The Angels will have to deal with a rotation this season which isn’t the most attractive. In no way do I see them getting it done, due to the fact their pitching is a clear liability.
Their number one option in the rotation got beat up for a 5.40 ERA in the opener, taking the loss while Arrieta rolled. The Angels are a streaky offense and will find a rhythm, but they’re going to need the pitching to come up big more than once a week.
The best the Angels have might be the guy on the bump tonight. Hector Santiago makes his first start of the season against the Texas Rangers. Santiago is entering his fourth year as a full-time starter at the major league level, his third year in LA. Santiago isn’t the ace that the Angels need, but he is solid enough and has played consistently enough throughout his career. The Angels have yet to win their first game of the season, with their 0-2 start against the Cubs.
Texas will come to the west coast looking to disrupt their quest for win number one. The Rangers just got mauled by the Seattle Mariners, resulting in a 10-2 final at home. In game 1 the Rangers beat the Mainers 3-2, needing only 1 hit in the entire game. You read that right, Texas won the contest by getting 1 hit. They paid for their ineffectiveness at the plate the next day.
Last season was in the tubes for the Rangers rather quickly. With their pitching regular members of the hospital, the Rangers were unable to get much going, much to the same tune as 2014. Yu Darvish went to the IR before the season even began, undergoing Tommy John surgery to rupture the season for the Rangers. Darvish is still working back from that shoulder injury. Derek Holland will get the call for the Rangers tonight, who will look to keep the Angels at bay and denying them of their first win of 2016.
Texas Rangers vs. L.A. Angels
Derek Holland (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Hector Santiago (0-0, 0.00)
It’s a battle of lefties tonight in Anaheim, with Holland and Santiago stepping up to the mound. Holland, like much of the Texas rotation, has had to battle through injuries the last two seasons. Lots of promising years have been dashed thanks to shoulder injuries in Texas. Some come back from it like nothing happened, while others need more work, and for others their careers are shattered. Holland only managed 10 starts in 2015, not looking like the same guy before the injury. He finished with a 4.91 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. Holland doesn’t like to see the Angels that is for sure. In 133.2 innings pitched against the Angels, a nice sample size, Holland has posted a 5.52 ERA and 1.38 WHIP.
Hector has held steady with a 3.36 ERA against the offensive-minded Rangers. Impressively, he kept the Rangers at a batting average of just .217. That is the story of his career in a nutshell. Santiago pitched for a 3.59 ERA a year ago, before a 3.75 ERA, 3.56 ERA, and 3.33 ERA in prior seasons. He needs to step up and take control of this rotation for the Angels in 2016. I suspect Mike Trout and the rest of the offense gets on track for LA today. Trout went 0-8 at the plate in the first two games. I like the Angels in this one, who are catching a pretty reasonable price against Holland and the Rangers.
PICK: ANGELS TO WIN -120