Problems Solved?

The Texas Rangers hope they have solved their early season offensive issues.

Kevin Millwood would sure appreciate some help of any kind Saturday when he takes the mound in the middle game of the Rangers' series with the Los Angeles Angels.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Los Angeles -162 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 8.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 81% of bets for this game have been placed on Los Angeles -162 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

The Rangers (2-2) got a season-high 12 hits to beat the Angels 11-6 in Thursday's series opener after finally halting Los Angeles' six-run, ninth-inning rally. Ben Broussard hit his second homer in as many games, belting his sixth career grand slam in the fourth.

Texas' strong offensive display came after being held to eight runs with a .206 batting average in its first three games, and had only seven hits in a 5-2 season-opening loss at Seattle on Monday.

Millwood (0-1, 0.00 ERA) was on the hill for that poor hitting performance, and he didn't get much help defensively either. The right-hander allowed two unearned runs and four hits in six innings, watching the Rangers strike out 10 times - including three each by Broussard and Ian Kinsler.

"Millwood did great," Rangers shortstop Michael Young told the team's official Web site. "That's why I love playing behind him. He goes out there and competes and goes right after hitters. Unfortunately, we just couldn't help. He did a great job, we just let it slip away in the end."

The Rangers, though, have made that a habit when Millwood gets the ball, providing only eight runs in his last six starts dating to last season. The lack of support has been more glaring on the road, where he is 0-8 with a 4.26 ERA in his last 10 starts and been given only 12 runs in that span.

He hasn't won away from Arlington, Tex., since defeating Cincinnati on June 17. His last road victory over an AL opponent came last April 13 at Seattle.

Millwood is 1-2 with a 4.15 ERA in his last four starts against Los Angeles (3-2), but has seen similar production from the offense. In his lone victory in that stretch, he got eight runs of support in an 8-3 victory on July 3. However, in the other three games - all losses - the Rangers totaled two runs.

The Angels, the reigning AL West champions, hope Jered Weaver (0-1, 4.26) can avoid getting into trouble in his second start of the season and help them rebound from dropping their home opener.

The 6-foot-7 right-hander allowed three runs and eight hits with five strikeouts in 6 1-3 innings of a season-opening 3-2 loss at Minnesota on Monday.

"I had to battle all game, and I had to pitch with runners on and work out of (trouble)," Weaver told the team's official Web site. "I'll take giving up three runs with this offense behind me. We're going to win most of the time when that happens."

Weaver is 12-4 with a 3.32 ERA in 22 career starts at home, but he hasn't recorded a decision there in three games against Texas while posting a 3.66 ERA.

In three starts against the Rangers last season, he went 1-1 with a 1.89 ERA.

Chone Figgins is looking to continue his torrid start to 2008. The third baseman went 3-for-3 with two walks and a run Friday to improve to 9-for-19 (.474) at the plate. However, he's hitless in 17 at-bats against Millwood.

Here are some key trends for tonight's matchup:

-LA ANGELS are 42-16 (+17.0 Units) against the money line in home games against right-handed starters over the last 2 seasons.

-TEXAS is 74-79 (+10.4 Units) against the money line in games played on a grass field over the last 2 seasons.

-TEXAS is 42-42 (+17.8 Units) against the money line in road games when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 3 seasons.

-LA ANGELS are 76-78 (-49.1 Units) against the money line as a home favorite of -150 to -175 since 1997.

-TEXAS is 1-0 (+1.5 Units) against LA ANGELS this season

-1 of 1 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL this season . (Over=+1.0 Units)

by: Dave Michaels - thespread.com – Email Us

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