Rangers vs. Angels MLB Pick – April 21, 2021

We have another chock-full day of MLB baseball as 15 games hit the slate, although you can call it 16 if you include the D-backs/Reds game that was suspended after seven innings and will resume later on in the day today.

With that in mind, let’s dive into this Rangers vs. Angels MLB Pick and get in on the action!

  • Season Record: 5-2
  • Units: +2.78

Rangers vs. Angels Betting Odds

  • Rangers (+157)
  • Angels (-170)
  • Rangers +1.5 (-125)
  • Angels -1.5 (+105)
  • Over 8.5  (-115)
  • Under 8.5 (-105)

Rangers vs. Angels MLB Pick Breakdown

Rangers

Starting Pitcher

The Rangers’ rotation isn’t exactly of the loaded variety, but you wonder how much more leash today’s starter Mike Foltynewicz has given his early-season work after the club took a flier on him in the offseason.

Once an All-Star and fire-baller, Foltynewicz’s work of late has fallen off a cliff. A player that worked to a 2.85 ERA/3.37 FIP as recently as the 2018 season, Foltynewicz notably regressed to a 4.54 ERA/4.97 FIP the following season and was tagged for six runs and three homers in just 3.1 innings of work last season.

So far this season with this new club, the right-hander owns a 5.63  ERA/6.44 FIP with a 5.36 xERA to boot. His 4.38 SIERA and 4.76 xFIP are more encouraging peripherals, but he’s also allowed homers at a 2.81 HR/9 clip on the season with a 47.7% hard-hit rate against, as per Statcast. Add in the huge 50% fly-ball rate and the elevated home run figure is not surprising.

One positive to note, however, is that the velocity has returned. Folty owns a 96 mph career average on his four-seam fastball, a number that cratered too just 91.5 last season in that short stint, which was the leading cause of his DFA by the Braves. This season, that figure is back up to 95 mpg while his sinker has gone from 90.4 mph last season to 94 mph this time around.

Still, he’s not missing as many bats as he once did with an 8.2% swinging strike rate that is below his 9.8% career mark and his control hasn’t exactly been impeccable with a 3.94 BB/9 clip that remains above his 3.15 career mark.

On the heels of allowing five earned runs and two homers in five innings of work his last time out against the Orioles, we’ll see if Foltynewicz can get straightened out despite a much more difficult matchup today.

Offense

After excelling for six runs in a series-opening win on Monday, it was back to normal last night as the Rangers’ sluggish offensive season continues.

They managed just two runs in last night’s 6-2 loss, and it’s not as if they didn’t have their chances. They had Shohei Ohtani on the ropes with the bases loaded and one out in the first innings, but failed to score before Ohtani settled in. That said, they drew six walks on the night and stranded a whopping 16 base runners in that one as clutch hitting remains an issue.

To be honest, hitting in general remains an issue. The Rangers recorded just one hit off Ohtani in those four innings and only five on the night, but drew seven walks. The team is now hitting just .219 on the season while their .288 wOBA sits in a tie for 26th alongside the Colorado Rockies. Add in the lack of power via their 28th-ranked .128 ISO and it’s not a surprise that the club has averaged just 3.72 runs per game on the season, but also with two runs or fewer in four of their last five games.

The problem today is they also haven’t been any good against left-handed pitching, something they’ll see to start this one. The Rangers rank 28th with a .272 wOBA off southpaws so far, and their 256 plate-appearance sample size in such scenarios is the third-highest in the league.

Expectations were low in Texas to begin with here in 2021, but the bats have been awfully sleeping more often than not to be sure.

Bullpen

Like with the rotation and offense, there wasn’t much expected from this Rangers bullpen to begin with in the 2021 season, and that was before the group was ravaged with injuries.

They lost closer Jose Leclerc to Tommy John surgery prior to the season, and another key arm in Jonathan Hernandez suffered the same fate very early in the year. Add in the long-term arm injury to fellow high-leverage reliever Matt Bush and this Rangers bullpen has already been decimated by injuries three weeks into the season.

On the heels of ranking 22nd with a 4.63 ERA last season, the 2021 version of the Rangers’ bullpen enters this one ranked 29th with a 5.59 mark. Their 4.93 FIP checks in at 28th and while their 3.86 xFIP is more encouraging, it’s still a group that ranks 29th with a 1.91 HR/9 on the season and 22nd with a 41.2% hard-hit rate against, so it’s a little difficult to see much positive regression on the horizon, especially with the personnel on board.

It’s a bullpen that was tagged for two homers and three earned runs in just two innings of work last night, although all of that damage came off of left-hander Taylor Hearn who now owns a 7.59 ERA in 10.1 innings of work this season.

It’s going to be a long season in that Rangers bullpen.

Angels

Starting Pitching

The focus of the Angels’ front office this winter was once again pitching as the club added several veterans to its staff, one of whom was Jose Quintana, one of the more underrated pitchers in baseball throughout his big-league tenure.

Quintana sits with a career 3.77 ERA/3.64 FIP, however he pitched just 10 innings and made one start in the shortened 2020 season as injuries crept into his season for the first time in his big-league career. The southpaw had made between 31 and 33 starts in seven straight seasons prior to the 2020 campaign, and clearly he’s been effective as evidenced by the noted ERA/FIP figures.

This season has been rough so far, however. Quintana has made two starts and pitched just five innings in that time, allowing nine earned runs in that time with seven walks to boot. However, you wonder how sustainable that ghastly-looking 16.20 ERA could be.

I mean, here’s the owner of a career 2.57 BB/9 an even worked to a 2.70 mark last season despite the lingering injuries. Walking seven in five innings is rather shocking, but he’s also struck out nine and has not allowed a homer. Furthermore, he owns a 68.8% ground-ball rate in the small sample, has yielded just 33.3% hard contact, yet has been brutalized by an outrageous .556 BABIP. He’s already allowed just one barrel in 18 events on the season.

His average fastball velocity of 91.5 mph is identical to his marks from the 2019 and 2020 seasons with the sinker and cutter velocity hanging right around career norms as well. Nothing wrong here.

He figures to get back on track here at some point as his 3.67 FIP/4.02 xFIP are solid figures in the tiny sample, and it would appear the veteran has a fine matchup to accomplish that feat today.

Offense

It would appear to be dangerous matchup today for the scuffling Foltynewicz as this Angels offense has flat-out been one of the best in baseball this season and also one of the best against right-handed pitching.

They didn’t exactly tag right-hander Jordan Lyles in last night’s contest with three runs across six innings off the veteran, but at the end of the day the Angels put six runs on the board, increasing their average to just shy of seven runs per game over their last three.

They did so last night without the left-handed bat of Shohei Ohtani as he didn’t hit while pitching last night, but he figures to be back in the lineup today, enhancing a group that’s clobbered right-handed pitching this season.

The Angels enter this one ranked fourth with a .331 wOBA on the season and tied for 11th with 21 homers on the campaign. They have also hit .266 as a team, the second-best mark in the bigs.

Against right-handed pitching, they sit fifth with a .323 wOBA and while they haven’t hit for as much power off righties, their identical .266 average off of them checks in at a tie for second with the Cincinnati Reds. In addition to their excellent contact skills against righties, they’ve also been a tough out by way of their fifth-ranked 22.1% strikeout rate versus righties.

They too could have opened things up earlier last night as they stranded 13 base runners themselves, but it would appear the matchup is even better in this one today.

Bullpen

One area where the Angels didn’t get much in terms of results last season was in the bullpen as they finished the season ranked 21st with a 4.63 ERA on the season, although their 4.17 fIP suggested they deserved a better fate.

They once again haven’t caught up to their excellent peripherals here this season, but the bottom-line results have been far better. The Angels’ bullpen sits 10th with a 3.75 ERA on the 2021 season, but also fifth with a 3.29 FIP and 3.65 xFIP. A big key has been keeping the ball in the yard at a quality 0.75 HR/9 rate, thanks in large part to their third-ranked 49.7% ground-ball rate.

With a 15.63 K/9 against a 1.42 BB/9, new closer Raisel Iglesias has been far better than his 5.68 ERA might suggest as he also owns a 2.37 xERA and 1.91 xFIP. Junior Guerra and Mike Mayers have combined to allow one earned run across 16.2 innings of work while Aaron Siegers, Steve Cishek, Alex Claudio and Chris Rodriguez all own ERAs of 3.86 or better with the latter three sitting at 3.38 or better.

It’s a deep group that’s performing at the moment, and one that holds a sizeable advantage over this Rangers group this season.

Rangers vs. Angels MLB Pick

I noted above the struggles of Foltynewicz in a variety of departments, but one thing I didn’t touch on was the fact he owns a 5.63 ERA/6.44 FIP despite being fortunate in the batted-ball department by way of his .205 BABIP against. Add in his .167 mark from his small sample last season and he’s produced some brutal results despite being extremely fortunate on balls put into play, especially with the elevated hard contact involved.

As per Statcast, he ranks in the league’s 17th percentile in barrel rate, 11th in whiff rate, 17th in chase rate, 19th in hard-hit rate and 21st in xSLG so far this season. In other words: not good.

This Angels lineup is a force this season, one that gets an additional righty-masher into the mix with Ohtani projected to be back hitting in this one. Quintana has scuffled so far results-wise, but there’s plenty to be positive about if we look at his 96th percentile ranking in whiff rate, 76th in xSLG and 66th in barrel rate. Not elite, but serviceable, as he’s been throughout his career.

Add in the huge bullpen advantage and I’ll take the Angels here at nice value on the run line as they look for the series victory this afternoon.

The Bet
ANGELS -1.5
+105
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Brenton Kemp / Author

Brenton is a lifelong sports fan who resides in Ontario, Canada. Brenton is a fan of most all sports but specializes in hockey, baseball, football, basketball, and golf. He’s a fierce researcher with a strong appetite to deliver accurate and relevant facts that in turn have led to past success with picks and DFS advice across the board. Brenton’s biggest goal is to deliver readers with the picks and advice that can build their bankroll. He takes great pride in his success and loves nothing more than to share that success for the benefit of everyone involved.

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