It’s been a demoralizing last few nights with my free MLB picks as they have almost erased a season’s worth of excellent work. I am 0-7 over my last seven picks.
That said, we’re now in the final week of the regular season, and it’s time to get things turned around before we look forward to some playoff baseball.
Let’s get it!
Season Record: 20-16-1
Now let’s check out this free MLB pick featuring the Rangers vs. Angels from Anaheim!
Rangers vs. Angels Betting Odds
- Rangers (+173)
- Angels (-188)
- Rangers +1.5 (-121)
- Angels -1.5 (+101)
- Over 8.5 (-116)
- Under 8.5 (-104)
Rangers vs. Angels MLB Pick Breakdown
The Rangers will turn to veteran Kyle Gibson for today’s start as he looks to build off a season-best outing his last time out.
In his last start which came in Houston, Gibson hurled a complete-game shutout while allowing just four hits and three walks while punching out nine. That’s the good news.
The bad news is his work through his first nine starts of the season.
Prior to his excellent showing against the Astros, Gibson allowed at least five earned runs in four of his previous five starts and will enter this one sporting a 5.18 ERA/5.50 FIP, although his 4.69 SIERA isn’t quite as bad.
Nonetheless, he’s been bitten by the long ball in the form of a 1.73 HR/9 and while his fly-ball rate is a career-best 21.8% mark, he’s also allowing more line drives than ever before at 26.4% while his 39.4% hard hit rate allowed is far above his 32.8% career mark.
A ground-ball pitcher by trade, Gibson’s 51.7% mark in that department is about right in line with his 51.5% career mark and one would think he’s due for positive home run regression as he’s allowed homers on 28.9% of the fly-balls he’s allowed while his 4.28 xFIP isn’t a bad figure at all.
Still, he’s yet to show any consistency here in the 2020 season and his first year of a three-year deal he signed with the Rangers this past winter and owns a career 5.01 ERA in 12 starts and 70 career innings against the Angels.
While Gibson has regressed this season in Texas, Bundy is enjoying a breakout year in his first season with the Angels.
After years of struggling to live up to his prospect hype with the Orioles, Bundy was traded to the Angels and has subsequently turned in a quality 3.12 ERA/2.70 FIP to go along with a career-high 10.24 K/9 while he’s dropped his HR/9 rate from a career 1.57 mark to just 0.59 this season.
He’s issuing more ground-balls this season with a 42.5% rate well above his career 36.5% mark while his 32.7% fly-ball rate and 31.4% hard hit rate are both some of the best marks of his career, especially the fly-ball numbers. Allowing fewer fly balls and less hard contact has certainly helped him reign in the home run numbers.
Bundy lasted just 2.2 innings while being touched up for five earned runs his last time out, but it was just the third time in 10 starts he’s allowed more than two earned runs this season.
Bundy owns a stout 2.61 ERA across six starts, eight appearances and 41.1 innings against the Rangers for his career.
It was going to be difficult for the Rangers on offense given the makeup of their lineup and focus on pitching this past offseason, and they have indeed struggled at the plate.
For the season, the Rangers rank 29th with a .279 wOBA and .214 batting average while their 25.6% K-rate on the season is the fifth-highest mark in baseball and their 8% walk rate is tied for 22nd.
Things haven’t improved against right-handed pitching either as once again they sit 29th with an identical .279 wOBA while their 65 wRC+ on the season versus righties also checks in at 29th.
The Rangers have largely been the second-worst offense in baseball versus right-handed pitching with the Pirates being the only club that’s fared worse to this point.
Finally, while the Rangers scored seven in last night’s win over the Angels, they scored just one run in three of their previous four games and averaged 1.75 runs per game during that stretch.
Needless to say, consistency has been a major issue on offense this season.
It’s been a wildly disappointing season for the Angels, but it hasn’t been due to their work against right-handed pitching.
While they’ve scuffled with lefties, the Angels enter this one ranked sixth with a .338 wOBA on the season off of right-handed pitching. They’ve been an extreme difficult out versus righties as they’ve walked at a fourth-ranked 11.3% clip and also struck out at a tiny 20.5% clip against righties, good for a fourth-place tie league wide.
The promotion and addition of Jared Walsh to this lineup has only added thump versus right-handed pitching while Mike Trout has major reverse splits on the season, crushing right-handed pitching while scuffling versus lefties, by his standards. Shohei Ohtani and David Fletcher have also hit righties well this season.
The offense was quieted in yesterday’s loss, however they averaged 6.2 runs per game over their previous five.
Things don’t get a whole lot better for the Rangers when we move into their bullpen figures.
Entering this one tonight, the Rangers rank 24th with a 4.77 ERA on the season, 16th with a 4.57 FIP and 26th with a 5.06 xFIP. They’ve generated strikeouts at a healthy 9.09 K/9 clip, but have also struggled with free passes in the form of a 4.68 BB/9.
That said, the sum of all those parts is a 14th-ranked 1.2 fWAR, which isn’t too shabby.
It’s largely a cast of unknowns doing the bull of the work as Jonathan Hernandez has been the team’s best reliever with a 2.60 ERA while leading the club with 27.2 innings pitched from the bullpen this season, although Joely Rodriguez, Jimmy Herget and closer Rafael Montero have enjoyed nice seasons as well.
I don’t see a major bullpen swing either way as the Angels haven’t been great behind their starters, either.
The Angels bullpen enters this one sporting a 23rd-ranked 4.74 ERA, although their peripherals are superior to those of the Rangers.
In fact, the Angels rank 10th with a 4.08 FIP on the season while checking in at 14th with a 4.52 xFIP. If we look at the fWAR figure, the Angels’ 1.8 mark ranks 11th, but the on-field results just haven’t been there for the most part.
Mike Mayers, Felix Pena, Cam Bedrosian and Matt Andriese have produced quality results, but the former back-end guys such as Hansel Robles and Keynan Middleton have both struggled, as has Ty Buttrey in his first opportunity to close out games in the bigs. Therefore, four different Angels have registered at least one save this season as the search continues for a reliable ninth-inning arm.
Rangers vs. Angels MLB Pick
To me, there just isn’t a big enough gap between the two bullpens to have those groups factor into my decision here.
I’m more so looking at the big advantage the Angels have in the starting pitching and offensive departments here.
Gibson is coming off a season-best outing and has peripherals that show some poor luck this season, but the truth is that complete-game shutout came against an Astros lineup that has actually struggled against right-handed pitching this season and Gibson has otherwise been extremely hittable.
Bundy isn’t coming off a great outing, but he’s been excellent all season long and a bounce-back effort is in store given that his peripherals very much support his strong work to this point. There’s not much pointing to him being shelled in this one tonight.
Add in the Rangers 29th-ranked offense and the Angels’ sixth-ranked offense versus righties and I see plenty of reasons to find value in the Angels on the run line tonight.