It had to happen. The Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers will play each other 19 times this season, so we knew CJ Wilson was going to face his former Texas teammates at some point and that the Angels would eventually go up against rookie Yu Darvish.
But for Wilson and Darvish to pitch against each other in the first game of the year between the two clubs? No, even with both making their season debuts on the same day (April 9), it was difficult to forecast Friday's showdown in Texas between the two.
The series opener between the Angels and Rangers will highlight a jam-packed Friday slate on the baseball betting front. Game time is set for 8:05 p.m. (ET), and it's going to be interesting to see just what sort of welcome the Texas crowd gives to one of their former heroes in Wilson.
Texas has won the season series three straight years, taking 12 of 19 played in the Lone Star State in 2010-11, and bringing both Wilson and Albert Pujols on board via free agency this past winter was supposed to push the Halos back in front of the Rangers in terms of AL West dominance. Wilson has certainly done his part with four wins in six starts and a nifty 2.61 ERA. Pujols, however, remains mired in a slump with his .198 average and one long ball coming into the weekend set.
The Angels have started to turn things around from their poor start with seven victories the last 10 times on the diamond. Still, they'll start this series in the AL West cellar and have been very beatable on the road at 5-10.
While the Halos are completing a road trip this weekend, the Rangers will be cranking up a 7-game homestand following a long trip through Toronto, Cleveland and Baltimore. Texas will play a doubleheader at the Orioles on Thursday before flying home to begin the stand. The twinbill at Camden Yards was due to Wednesday's contest with the O's being rained out. Rangers hitters were set to face another teammate for the first time Thursday evening in Tommy Hunter before taking on Wilson for the first time Friday.
As a starter his final two seasons in Texas, Wilson was a big winner pitching in Arlington where the Rangers were 26-9 behind him in the regular season. He did have a much higher ERA there than on the road, however, coming in at 3.69 at home compared to 2.56 away.
Darvish has been shaky at times, but the results are tough to argue with as Texas is 5-1 in his six assignments. The one loss came last Sunday in Cleveland when Darvish struck out a season-best 11 but also walked four batters in his six innings. Control has been the biggest problem for the rookie, and Sunday's outing was the fourth time in six games Darvish has issued at least four free passes.
Texas will bring a 4-game win streak over the Angels into this series. Five of the nine games played at Rangers Ballpark in 2011 went 'over' the total.
Father Time Takes Mound In Rockies, Dodgers Series Opener
Jamie Moyer will get the call Friday for the Colorado Rockies who open a 3-game series at the Los Angeles Dodgers. First pitch is at 10:10 p.m. (ET) and it will be delivered by Chris Capuano.
Friday's matchup begins the middle series in a homestand for the Dodgers and middle set of a road trip for the Rockies. Los Angeles has built a comfortable 5-game margin at the top of the NL West entering the weekend and will be looking to gain a small measure of revenge after dropping two of three in Denver a little more than a week ago. Two of those three went 'over' the total at Coors Field, and the underdogs also went 2-1.
Neither Moyer nor Capuano took part in the earlier series, and for Moyer this will be his first crack at the Dodgers since he was still in his mid-40s, or June 2009 to be exact. Hurling for the Phillies at Chavez Ravine, Moyer left with a 3-2 lead after seven innings but the bullpen coughed it up as LA came away with a 4-3 triumph.
Colorado and Moyer have been victorious in just one of his six starting assignments, and the southpaw has been knocked around pretty good his last two times out as the Mets and Braves combined for 21 hits and 10 runs (9 earned) in his 10 innings of work.
While Moyer struggled in his recent trips to the bump, Capuano has been in a good groove since his season debut back on April 7. The former Duke star has grabbed the dubya in each of his last three starts and is currently working on a 19-2/3 scoreless innings streak. Capuano is a perfect 3-0 at Dodger Stadium where he has whiffed 21 in 19 innings along with a 1.42 ERA.
Colorado opens the series 16-13-1 'over' for the season thanks to a recent 8-3-1 string to the high side of totals. Los Angeles is 15-14-2 'under' overall, but 5-3 'over' in recent action.