The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s poor start to the season will continue on Saturday when they play on Chicago’s Southside against the White Sox. Absolutely nothing has gone right for the Angels this year. Despite picking up high-priced outfielder Josh Hamilton to complement Albert Pujols in their line up, the Halos rank eleventh out of fifteen American League teams in runs scored per game.
Still, what will cost them in this contest is their relief pitching. The Angels will send Jerome Williams to the pitcher’s mound. This is only the right-hander’s second start of the season (he’s been primarily pitching out of the bullpen). As a result, he likely won’t be able to go deep into the game, meaning Los Angeles’ bullpen will be vital. That’s not good as the Angels relief corps has given up the third-most runs of any AL team. Like Los Angeles, the White Sox’s offense has been weak, but with pitcher Jose Quintana on the mound for them (he’s a solid 2-0 with a 3.86 ERA), they should have just enough to triumph in this contest. Take Chicago, on at 1.87, in this match-up.
A very low-risk option can be had in Houston when the Texas Rangers visit the Astros. This is an example of a player’s strength going up against a team’s greatest weakness. Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish is absolutely overwhelming the league when it comes to strikeouts. Both his overall total and his rate of strikeouts per nine innings are easily first in the Major Leagues among starting pitchers. Guess which team strikes out more than any club in the Big Leagues (by a comfortable margin)? Yep, it’s the Astros. Darvish should have a banner day under these conditions.
Houston’s cause is not helped by their starting pitcher, Erik Bedard. Not only does he have a 7.36 ERA but he also hasn’t gone more than four innings in any start this season. The upshot: A subpar Houston bullpen will have to fill the void. This is not a high value bet – the Rangers can be had at 1.38 – but it’s about as safe an option as you’ll see.