Tuesday, April 23, 2024
Fantasy Guru - Baseball

MLB Preview: Texas Rangers (18-13) at Los Angeles Angels (19-14)


WINS AND LOSSES: Texas suffered a 5-4, 10-inning walk-off loss last night to open this 10-G, 10-day road trip to LAA (0-1 + 2 G), SEA (3 G), and OAK (4 G)…team had a 4-2 record on the 6-G homestand that preceded this trip…Texas has lost 2 straight after a 4-G win streak (4/28-5/2) that matched Rangers’ longest in ‘23 (also 4-0, 4/16-19)…team is 4-2 in last 6 G since a season-long 4-G losing skid…TEX is 4-6 in last 10 G, but still 10-7 in last 17 G and 14-9 in last 23 G beg. 4/9…have a 15-13 record last 28 G since club’s 3-0 start to the season.

• At 18-13 (.581), TEX owns the 4th-best record in the A.L. to only TB (.818, 27-6), BAL (.688, 22-10), and BOS (.588, 20-14), and club’s 18 wins rank 7th in A.L…the .581 win pct. is 6th in MLB and 18 wins rank T10th in MLB.

• TEX enters tonight at 5 G above .500…high point of the season was 7-over on 2 occasions (14-7 thru 4/23, 18-11 thru 5/2)…Texas has been .500-or-better following every game in 2023…prior to ‘23, team had not been at least 7-over since 7/13/19 (50-43),…TEX recorded its 18th win in 2022 on 5/20.

STANDINGS: The Rangers enter tonight in a virtual tie with the Angels atop the A.L. West, although TEX has a slightly higher win pct…club has lost 2.5 games in the division over the past 3 days…TEX had held sole possession of 1st place for 7 straight days before last night, as this is 1st time to be tied since 4/27 (also T1st)…TEX has been alone or tied atop the division for 35 of the season’s first 36 days (exception: 4/8)…TEX has been alone in 1st place for 19 of the last 21 days (beg. 4/14)…have had sole possession of 1st place in the West for 25 days overall in ‘23…reached a season-best 3.5-game lead in the West with off day on 4/20, which was team’s largest lead in the West since the end of the ‘16 campaign (won division by 9.0 G)…from 2017-22, TEX had 1 day in which it held, or was tied for, 1st place in the West (1-0 on 7/24/20, tied for division lead).

SERIES STUFF: TEX is 6-3-1 overall in series this year, going 4-1-1 at home 2-2-0 on the road…club did not win a 6th series in 2022 until 5/26-29/22 at OAK…TEX won 4 straight series from 4/10-23, longest such span since going 5-0-0 from 6/15-7/1/18…club has won 2 of last 3 road series, although team was swept in last away series 4/24-26 at CIN (0-3).

ON ROAD: The Rangers have dropped a season-high 4 straight on the road, longest away skid since going 0-5 to finish last season (9/28-10/2)…club is 6-7 (.462) on road, 10th-best away win pct. in A.L…the Rangers’ 13 road games are tied with HOU/TB for fewest in MLB…before the current 4-G skid, Rangers had won previous 4 straight and 6 of prior 7 road contests…the 4-G win streak (4/16-19) was longest away win streak since a 4-0 span 6/11-17/22.

THE ROAD GOES ON FOREVER: The current 10-game, 10-day road trip marks the 1st of 3 different 3-city road trips for Texas in 2023…this trip has the most games (10) of any roadie for the club this season.

• Beginning last night, TEX is slated to play 10 straight and 19 of the last 25 games in May on the road…from 4/14-5/31, the Rangers are scheduled to play 28 of 43 games away from Arlington.

VS. LOS ANGELES-AL: Rangers and Angels are meeting for the 1st time this season, the 1st of 4 series overall (6/12- 15 and 8/14-16 at GLF, 9/25-27 at Big A)…TEX finished 10-9 vs. LAA in 2022, securing a season series victory vs. Halos for the 3rd time in last 4 years…TEX has lost each of last 4 meetings dating to end ‘22, but has won 6 of 12 and 9 of last 16 G vs. Halos…Rangers are 4-6 at The Big A since the ‘22, but are 11-25 here beg. 9/11/18.

• As the club moves through this all-A.L. West road trip, Texas is 4-3 in division games this season, taking both series (road at HOU, home vs. OAK)…TEX was 31-45 (.408) in division games in ‘22, incl. 15-23 on the road…went 7-16 in last 23 division road games last year.

SECOND ACT: Nathan Eovaldi takes the mound for Texas tonight, seeking to replicate his outing last Sat. vs. NYY, when he posted a CG shutout (9.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 SO)… he enters tonight with a streak of 12.0 consecutive scoreless innings…Eovaldi has made 3 straight quality starts (2-0, 2.14 ERA, 5 ER/21.0 IP), longest such streak by a Ranger in ‘23… his 2.09 FIP figure is the 3rd-lowest among MLB qualifiers to only ARI’s Zac Gallen (1.70) and MIN’s Sonny Gray (2.06)… he has allowed just one HR in 6 starts/36.2 IP, as his 0.25 HR/9 ranks 4th in the A.L.

OUT OF THE RED?: Eovaldi enters tonight’s start with a 70- 70 career record…Elias Sports Bureau notes that if his next decision is a win, it will be the first time Eovaldi has a career winning record since he was 1 -0 two games into his ML career…Eovaldi was the winning pitcher in his MLB debut on 8/6/11 at ARI, had a ND in his 2nd game, then took the loss in his 3rd game…Elias notes that at one point, Eovaldi was 20
games under .500 (15-35).

LATE LOSSES: Texas held leads of 3-0 after 7 innings and 4-1 after 8 innings last night, but suffered a 5-4 walk-off defeat in 10 innings…club has lost 7 times in the last 16 G, with 5 of the 7 being last at-bat losses, and 6 of the 7 being losses by one-or-2 runs…Rangers have 8 losses by one-or-2 runs in 2023, and each of club’s other 5 losses have been by a run margin of 5-or-more.

• After a 6-3 start in away games, TEX has dropped 4 consecutive road tilts, all last at-bat defeats, with 2 straight and 3 of those 4 contests being walk-off losses…the 3 walk-off losses are T2nd-most in MLB: 4-CLE, 3-TEX/CHC/CWS/CIN/DET/SEA…May 5 marks earliest date for TEX to sustain a 3rd walk-off loss in a season since 2019 (April 26).

WILD WORLD: The winning run in last night’s game scored on a Josh Sborz wild pitch in the 10th inning, his only pitch of the evening…it was the 1st TEX walk-off loss on a wild pitch since 9/7/22 at HOU (Jonathan Hernández)…according to STATS, Sborz produced the 1st one-pitch appearance, walkoff wild pitch since PIT’s Brad Clontz on 10/3/99 at NYM… that Mets win led to a one-game Wild Card tiebreaker Game 163 the next night in CIN, where Al Leiter tossed a CG 2-hitter for the Mets.

DANE DEALING: Dane Dunning posted 5.0 SHO IP last night in his 1st start of the season…it was the 3rd scoreless qualifying start by a Ranger this season, joining Nathan Eovaldi (CG SHO, 4/29 vs. NYY) and Andrew Heaney (5.0 SHO IP, 4/16 at HOU)…the effort dropped Dunning’s season ERA to 1.42, 3rd-lowest in MLB among pitchers with 25+ IP (0.77-Sonny Gray, 1.35-Gerrit Cole)…his .159 opp. BA is also 3rd-lowest among pitchers with 25+ IP to only Shohei Ohtani (.125) and Spencer Strider (.154).

ROBBIE AT 13: Robbie Grossman’s current 13-G hit streak is the 2nd-longest active streak in MLB (15-BOS’ Masataka Yoshida), longest by a Ranger in ‘23, and 2nd-longest of his career (14 G, 8/13-27/13).

LEFT-LEANING: Texas is slated to face left-handed starters in all 3 G of this weekend’s series, the longest such span to this point in the season…entering last night, Texas had faced just 7 left-handed starters over the team’s 1st 30 G… longest span of facing LH starters in 2022 was 4 straight, with both instances coming in September (9/12-14 and 9/29- 10/2)…the TEX offense has been fairly even vs. RH starters (.264/.339/.456/.795) and LH starters (.251/.338/.421/.758).

SHORTS: This road trip along the Pacific Coast (at LAA/SEA/ OAK) marks the Rangers’ 1st games of the season in the Pacific Time Zone, and will be club’s last games on anything other than Central/Eastern Time until the end of July (7/28- 30 at SD)…Marcus Semien has hits in 3 straight, walks in 4 straight…Semien has just one strikeout his last 6 G/28 PA, 10 K’s last 18 G/84 PA.

(3-2, 3.93)

TONIGHT: The 33-year-old right-hander (pronounced ee-VAHL-dee) is scheduled to make his 7th start/appearance of the season tonight in the 2nd game of this 3-G weekend set…former Dodger (2011-12) will pitch on extra 6 days’ rest after posting the 1st 9-inn. CG SHO of his career on Sat. vs. NYY (see below)… has 5.0+ IP in all 6 starts, allowing 3-R-or-less in 4 of 6 outings…has made 3 straight quality starts (2-0, 2.14 ERA, 5 ER/21.0 IP) to drop season ERA from 6.32 to 3.93…his 2.09 FIP figure is the 3rd-lowest among MLB qualifiers to ARI’s Zac Gallen (1.70) and MIN’s Sonny Gray (2.06), and stands just under 2 runs lower than his ERA figure…also ranks among A.L. qualifiers in BB/9 (2nd, 1.23), SO/BB (3rd, 7.80), HR/9 (4th, 0.25), and SO/9 (13th, 9.57)…Eovaldi signed a 2-year free agent contract with the Rangers on 12/27/22…in 2022, his final season with Boston, went 6-3 with a 3.87 ERA (47 ER/109.1 IP) over 20 G/GS… ranked among A.L. leaders (min. 100.0 IP) in SO/BB (8th, 5.15) and BB/9 (9th, 1.65)…was slowed by a pair of IL stints: 6/9-7/14 (low back inflammation) and 8/19-9/28 (right shoulder inflammation)…the Texas native is seeking a return to his 2021 form, when he was an All-Star with the Red Sox and finished 4th in A.L. Cy Young Award voting…his Red Sox stint included a historic postseason stretch during the team’s 2018 World Series run…has 246 games/227 starts with LAD (2011-12), MIA (2012-14), NYY (2015-16), TB (2018), BOS (2018-22) and TEX (2023)…joined Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan as the only graduates of Alvin (TX) High School to reach the Major Leagues…Texas is 3-3 in Eovaldi’s 6 starts.

A CAREER NIGHT: In last start on Sat. vs. NYY, posted the 1st 9-inn. CG SHO of his career in Rangers’ 2-0 victory (9.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 SO, 113 pitches/78 strikes)…produced a game score of 89, highest of his career and best figure by a Ranger since a Derek Holland CG SHO on 8/30/15 vs. BAL (92 game score)…1st CG SHO by a Ranger since Martín Pérez on 5/20/22 at HOU (9.0 SHO IP), and 1st CG SHO ever by a TEX pitcher at Globe Life Field…1st native Texan to throw a CG SHO for the Rangers since Roger Pavlik on 9/7/95 vs. CWS (9.0 SHO IP, 3 H, 4 BB, 5 SO)…1st CG SHO by a Ranger vs. NYY since Derek Holland on 6/27/13 at Yankee Stadium, just 4th CG SHO ever by a Ranger against the Yankees in Arlington.

VS. LOS ANGELES-AL: Has gone 3-2, 4.50 ERA (24 ER/48.0 IP) over 11 G/9 GS in his career vs. LAA…lone outing last year was a Red Sox 1-0 win on 6/8/22 here at The Big A (W, 5.0 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 SO)…is 2-2, 4.63 (12 ER/23.1 IP) in 5 G/GS in his career in Anaheim, incl. 2-1, 2.70 (6 ER/20.0 IP) in last 4 starts at Big A since 2015.

ON ROAD: Is 1-1, 3.57 (7 ER/17.2 IP) in 3 road starts in ‘23, quality starts in 2 straight…has 3 BB/18 SO and no HR allowed in those 3 road outings…suffered a tough-luck loss in his 1st away appearance on 4/7 at CHC (L, 5.2 IP, 2 R-ER), as TEX was shut out 2-0…earned win 4/18 at KC, and exited in position to win on 4/24 at CIN before a late Reds rally…in 2022, fared far better on the road (4-0, 2.64 ERA) than at Fenway Park (2-3, 5.26 ERA), but has traditionally performed better at home (32-32, 3.96 ERA) than on the road (38-38, 4.35 ERA) in his career.

• Has 13 road starts in 2022-23: 5-1, 2.85 (24 ER/75.2 IP), 11 BB/80 SO, 10 HR… in 2022, his 2.64 road ERA ranked 9th in the A.L.

PUNCH OUT: Has struck out 39 of 147 (26.5%) batters faced in 2023, as his 9.57 strikeouts per 9.0 innings figure ranks 13th among A.L. qualifiers…would be near the highest full-season SO/9 mark of his career (9.63 in 2021 w/ BOS)… has issued just 5 walks through 6 starts this season, joining Jacob deGrom (45 SO/4 BB thru 6 GS in 2023) as the only pitchers in WSH/TEX franchise history with 39+ SO and 5-or-fewer BB in their first 6 outings of a campaign. 2023: Opponents have batted .266/.295/.403/.697 (37-139) with 13 extra-base hits (HR, 4 3B, 8 2B), incl. opp. BA of .269 (18-67) vs. LHB and .264 (19-72) vs. RHB…batters are 7-for-11 w/ 3 XBH when putting 1st pitch into play, also 5-for-16 (.313) with a 0-2 count…has 39 strikeouts/5 walks, as he ranks among A.L. qualifiers in BB/9 (2nd, 1.23), SO/BB (3rd, 7.80), HR/9 (4th, 0.25), and SO/9 (13th, 9.57)…recorded season-high 18 swing-and-miss strikes (Statcast) on 4/12 vs. KC (L, 5.0 IP, 10 H, 6 R-ER)…run support has been high (6+ R 3x) and low (one-or-zero R 2x)…made Rangers debut in 16-3 Texas victory on 4/1 vs. PHI (W, 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R-ER)…became 1st Rangers starting pitcher to be awarded a win in his first start with the club since A.J. Alexy on 8/3/21 vs. COL…the Alvin, TX native became the 5th native Texan ever to earn a win in his TEX debut (last Kip Wells on 8/2/06 at MIN).


LEADING OFF: Happy 28th Birthday to Matt Thaiss!!!…Today, the Angels play the second (1-0) of six games on a homestand against the Texas Rangers (1-0; May 5-7) and Houston Astros (May 8-10)…Halos went 4-2 on last road trip against the Milwaukee Brewers (1-2) and St. Louis Cardinals (3-0)…LAA was 5-2 on last homestand against Royals (2-1) and Athletics (3-1).

WOAH, THAT’S WILD: Last night, Angels rallied for three runs in the 9th inning to force extra innings and won the game in the 10th when Zach Neto scored on a wild pitch for the walk-off victory…Was Angels first extra-inning win of the year and first walk-off win of 2023…Second straight win when trailing after eight innings…First time Angels won on a walk-off wild pitch since Aug. 5, 2015 vs. Cleveland (run scored by Taylor Featherston).

BACK ON TOP: Angels enter play today tied with Texas atop the American League West standings…Halos have at least a share of the division lead this late in a season for first time since May 16, 2022…Last time Angels had sole possession of first place in the A.L. West 34+ games into a season, was exactly five years ago today (May 6, 2018 – had a 21-13 record, +1.0 game ahead of Houston).

VS. TEXAS: Today is the second (1-0) of 13 matchups this season between the Angels and Rangers…Halos have won four straight games vs. Texas, dating back to last season…Last year, Texas won season series 10-9.

(since franchise moved to Texas in 1972)

  1. Mike Trout – 44
  2. Reggie Jackson – 43
  3. José Canseco – 40
    *Trout also ranks third in career HR vs. Senators/Rangers franchise all-time behind Reggie Jackson (54) and Harmon Killebrew (48).

SWEEPING ST. LOUIS: In the last series at St. Louis, the Angels secured their first series sweep of the season and first ever series sweep against the Cardinals.

LEAGUE LEADER: Shohei Ohtani, leads the Majors in strikeouts (59) and opponent batting average (.125), and ranks sixth in WHIP (0.87).

HIGH WATER MARK: With an 19-14 record, Halos are a season-high five games over .500…First time at five games over .500 since May 30, 2022 (27-22)…With a win today, Angels would move to six games over .500 for first time since May 28, 2022 (27-21).

STREAKING: Angels current five game win streak is the longest of the season and longest since a seven game streak from Sept. 25 – Oct. 2, 2022.

UNEARNED: Angels have allowed 22 unearned runs this season, which is the most in the Majors.

RECENT TRANSACTIONS: Yesterday the Angels recalled RHP Andrew Wantz from Triple-A Salt Lake…In a corresponding move, LHP Aaron Loup (right hamstring strain) was placed on the 15-day injured list.

WEDNESDAY’S RALLY: Wednesday night at St. Louis, Angels tallied three runs in the top of the 9th inning to rally for a 6-4 victory…Marked Angels first victory this season when trailing after seven and eight innings and first final at-bat win of the year.

NET-OW: Zack Neto has been hit by seven pitches this season, which is tied for second-most in the Majors… Since 1901, Neto’s seven HBP through his first 15 career games are the most in MLB…He also was the first player in Angels history to be hit a pitch in four consecutive games (April 18-21).

PLAY FROM AHEAD: Halos have held leads in 28 of 33 games played this year.

ALL OVER THE INFIELD: Gio Urshela is one of five players in the Majors to appear at all four infield positions this season…He has made 11 starts at first base, eight starts at third base, seven at shortstop and one at second base.

SURF AND TURF: Wednesday at Busch Stadium, Mike Trout recorded his fifth career go-ahead home run in the 9th inning-or-later and first since June 18, 2022 (Game 1) at Seattle…Jake Lamb hit his fifth career pinch-hit home run last night and tied the game in the top of the 9th inning; it was the Angels first game-tying pinch-hit HR in the 9th inning-or-later since Dallas McPherson on June 29, 2005 at Texas.

500K: Shohei Ohtani matched his MLB single-game career high with 13 strikeouts in last pitching start Wednesday and finished the night with 500 career MLB strikeouts…Is the 10th Japanese-born pitcher with 500 strikeouts in the Majors…Reached 500 strikeouts in 388.2 IP, which is second fastest as a starting pitcher all-time, behind Corbin Burnes (365 IP). (ELIAS).

THE BABE AND I: Shohei Ohtani is one pitching strikeout shy of matching the career total for Babe Ruth (according to ELIAS, Ruth had 501 career pitching strikeouts)…Ruth and Ohtani are the only players all-time with 500+ pitching strikeouts and 100+ home runs in a career.

*Note: Ruth’s overview page on Baseball Reference and MLB.com list 488 career strikeouts…That does not match his total strikeouts when adding up totals from his individual yearly game logs on the sites

ASTROS ON DECK: Following the current series vs. Texas, the Angels will conclude the homestand with a three game series against the Houston Astros…Will be the first meeting of the season between the Halos and Houston…The Clubs will meet a total of 13 times in 2023…Last season, Astros won season series 13-6.

0-1, 4.85 ERA
Pitched 12th no-hitter in Angels history on May 10, 2022 vs. Tampa Bay

• TODAY’S GAME: Making sixth start of the season today and third at home…Made Opening Day roster for second consecutive season…Is in third Major League season with Angels.

• LAST TIME OUT: Took the loss in last start on Saturday at Milwaukee after tossing 4.1 innings and allowing seven runs (four earned) on four hits with three walks and six strikeouts; the seven runs allowed were a career high.

• STAY UNFAMILIAR: This season, opponents are batting .210 (17/81) the first two times through the order, but are batting .429 (9/21) the third time through the batting order.

• GOING OFFSPEED: In 2023, is holding opponents to a .246 (17/69) average against off-speed pitches, but has a .273 (9/33) average against his fastball.

• EARLY SUCCESS: Has a 3.60 ERA (15 IP – 6 ER) in the first three innings of games, compared with a 6.55 ERA (11 IP – 8 ER) from the fourth inning on.

• VS. TEXAS: In five career starts vs. Texas (all in 2022), is 1-1 with a 5.19 ERA (26 IP – 15 ER) and 33 strikeouts… First victory over Rangers came in final start last season on Sept. 30, 2022 at Angel Stadium (W; 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 SO…Set a career high with 12 strikeouts vs. Rangers on July 31, 2022 at The Big A.

• AT ANGEL STADIUM: In 17 career games at Angel Stadium, is 5-4 with a 3.75 ERA (93.2 IP – 39 ER) and 87 strikeouts…This year, is 0-0 with a 5.06 ERA (10.2 IP – 6 ER) in two home starts…Last season, was 4-3 with a 3.22 ERA (72.2 IP – 26 ER) in 13 home starts, including no-hitter on May 10 vs. Rays (seventh individual no-hitter in Angel Stadium history).

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