Monday night baseball and we will see the Los Angeles Angels travel to the Lone Star State to take on the Texas Rangers in game 1 of their 4 game series. The game is scheduled for a 7:05 (ET) pm start time and it will be televised live on ESPN. Currently the odds have Texas favored at -142, while Los Angeles is dogs of +134. The total for the game sits at 11 runs.
Free Analysis: The Angels have had a golden opportunity to make up ground against the struggling Rangers, who lost two of three to Chicago at home over the weekend, but they've failed to take advantage, suffering back-to-back losses against Tampa Bay to remain five games back of Texas in the American League West. Los Angeles has a 5-4 edge head-to-head entering this week's four-game set, but four of its five victories have come at home. The Rangers took two of three at the Ballpark in Arlington back in May. Both clubs have gotten solid starting pitching this season, ranking near the top of the American League in ERA, WHIP and several other categories, but Monday’s showdown features a pair of starters that have not found a rhythm in 2012. Ervin Santana (4-10, 6.00 ERA), who allowed six runs and three homers in 1 2-3 innings of a 9-2 home loss to the Rangers in his last outing July 21, might need a strong performance to remain in the Angels' rotation. The right-hander is 0-3 with a 9.41 ERA in five starts since beating Arizona on June 16, and 1-1 with an 11.00 ERA in his last four road starts. Texas' Roy Oswalt (3-1, 5.22) makes his first start in 12 days and first career appearance against the Angels in the opener. The right-hander missed his last start because of tightness in his back but appears ready to give it a go Monday. Oswalt has allowed one run in each of his last two outings, the most recent over 6 1-3 innings of a 6-1 win at Oakland on July 17. Los Angeles (55-47) scored six or more runs three times while winning four of five before being shut out in two straight games by Tampa Bay over the weekend. The Angels were held to nine hits in those defeats, including four during Sunday's 2-0 loss that spoiled Zack Greinke's Los Angeles debut. Los Angeles, which has not been shut out in three straight games since June 24-26, 1978, hopes Trout returns after missing the finale because of a knee injury suffered in Saturday's 3-0 defeat. Trout, who turns 21 on Aug. 7, is batting an AL-best .350 with 16 homers, 49 RBIs and 31 stolen bases. He's hit .441 (15 for 34) to help the Angels go 5-4 against Texas in 2012. Los Angeles 1B Albert Pujols is 26-for-86 (.302) against Oswalt with seven doubles, five homers and 13 RBIs. The rest of the Angels are a combined 5-for-24 against the longtime National Leaguer. While stars Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Michael Young are each hitting .360 or better versus Santana, Josh Hamilton has batted .212 (7 for 33) against him. Mired in a 1-for-21 slump, Hamilton is batting .115 (7 for 61) with 20 strikeouts in his last 17 games overall. The Angels have won just five of Santana’s last 23 starts overall, but they are 9-2 in his last 11 starts when he is coming off an outing of fewer than four innings.
Free Pick: We will look for a solid play on the UNDER in this one. I know the horrendous numbers of Santana this year and of late (16.00 ERA in last 3 starts), but he will be facing a Texas team that is just having problems scoring right now. The Rangers have averaged 5.27 rpg at home, but in their last 5 here they have put up just 3 rpg. In the 3 game set vs the White Sox they scored just 9 total runs and were 1-32 with RISP. Now despite Santana's 6.96 ERA on the road, those games have averaged just 9.6 rpg. Roy Oswalt come in after 12 days rest and while his overall numbers aren't that great (5.22 ERA), he has pitched well in his 3 starts here this year with a 3.44 ERA and he has yet to allow a HR in his home starts this year. Roy will also be taking on a struggling offense, as the Halos come in being shutout in their last games, while averaging just 3 rpg in their last 5 games. Just one of Ervins last 7 games vs the Rangers vhave put up more than 11 runs and I see that trend continuing here as no more than 9 runs are scored in this one.
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Betting Strategies: Handicapping TheoriesHost Marco D'Angelo and Pregame Pro Dave Essler discuss there handicapping theories and what they look at when they are handicapping games.