Angels vs. Rangers prediction and odds for Monday, Aug. 14 (Expect vintage Scherzer)

The Rangers are leading the AL West and may have acquired the vintage Max Scherzer after two strong starts.

Texas Rangers starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31)
Texas Rangers starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels have struggled but they were able to salvage the final game of their weekend set with the Houston Astros to get to 59-60.

They are fourth in the AL West, a division led by the Texas Rangers at 70-48. Texas took two of three from the San Francisco Giants this weekend and will send newly acquired Max Scherzer to the mound to open this divisional series. 

Scherzer will make his third start for the Rangers tonight and will be opposed by Patrick Sandoval. The lefty Sandoval is 6-8 with a 3.86 ERA in his 20 starts for the Angels this season.

Scherzer is 11-4 with a 3.88 ERA and has won both of his starts in Texas. 

If the Angels are going to get back into the playoff picture they’ll need to beat playoff teams like the Rangers, but Texas can bury what postseason hopes L.A. has left. The Rangers are favored in the first of three tonight. 

Angels vs. Rangers odds, run line and total

Angels vs. Rangers prediction and pick

All of a sudden Max Scherzer looks like he found his vintage form. The trade to Texas might have revitalized the aging pitcher, but I don’t expect that to last long.

He’s strung together three straight great starts, the first of which came in a Mets uniform, but all came against very bad teams. The Angels might fit in with the Nationals, White Sox and A’s better than true postseason contenders, so he could keep beating up on lesser opposition.

Scherzer did give up his 24th home run of the year last time out, but it was a solo shot and the only run he allowed. Scherzer’s walk rate is still up and his strikeout rate is still done, so he’s definitely a diminished version of himself, but that’s still a serviceable pitcher and one that can certainly go toe-to-toe with Patrick Sandoval. 

Sandoval is 20th percentile in strikeout rate, much worse than Scherzer who is 76th percentile, and is 32nd percentile in walk rate, again much worse than Scherzer’s 69th percentile.

The lefty 26-year-old does generate about a 50% ground ball rate which is his greatest strength, but I’m not sure how well that will work against Texas’s stacked lineup. 

The Rangers are second in OPS against lefties this year at .825, but since the start of July their OPS is just .760.

Over that stretch Robbie Grossman has a 1.167 OPS in 28 plate appearances against lefties to lead the team, and Corey Seager has 39 plate appearances against left-handers and also has an OPS over 1.000.

That’s still more depth than the Angels have in their lineup against Scherzer where it’s mostly still Ohtani and the rest. 

In August, the Angels have a .621 team OPS and even Ohtani has struggled, by his standards, with an OPS of .875 which is first on the team. 

Follow all Josh Yourish’s bets HERE

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change