The LA Angels are set for a two game home series vs. the Texas Rangers starting on Tuesday.
The LA Angels come into the contest with a 20-27 record, and the Rangers sport a 22-27 record.
While neither team is off to the start they want, it’s early, and both are still in it. These AL West division series are huge, and there’s three things that the Rangers do really well. That being said, there are three things that the Angels can do to prevent the Rangers from excelling in their strengths.
The first key to an Angels series victory vs. the Rangers: Don’t bat in the ninth
Obviously, no home team ever wants to bat in the ninth, but it would be a pretty daunting task to do so when playing the Rangers.
Ian Kennedy, the Rangers closer, is tied for the AL lead in saves this year with 11.
Betting on overcoming a deficit in the ninth would be a very poor plan for the Halos. In the last five games that the Angels have batted in the ninth, they have not scored a single run.
It’s simple: The Angels are not very good at hitting in the last inning, and the Rangers are very good at preventing teams from hitting in the last inning.
The rest of the Rangers’ bullpen is a pen they can hit. The rest of their combined ERAs is 4.33, compared to Kennedy’s 1.86. A 4.33 team ERA would place in the bottom third of the American League.
The Rangers starting ERA is 4.39, which ranks in the middle of the pack in the AL.
The Angels need to hit in this series, and their best shot is hitting starting and early relief pitching. If it comes down to trying to win a game with Kennedy on the mound, it’s most likely not going to end very well.