I challenge you to find a hotter team in baseball than the Angels, who have won nineteen of their last 21 home games (15-1 L/16) and have scored five or more runs in eight consecutive home contests. Los Angeles right-hander Jered Weaver is enjoying a very good 2014 campaign as evidenced by the fact that he is 9-6 with a 3.56 ERA and 1.16 WHIP, including going 5-3 with a 2.75 ERA and 1.06 WHIP at home, 7-4 with a 3.35 ERA and 1.12 WHIP at night and 2-0 with a 3.05 ERA and 1.16 WHIP over his last three starts. Let’s also note that Weaver is 9-2 with a career 3.48 ERA and 1.07 WHIP versus the Blue Jays, and he won’t have to contend with Edwin Encarnacion, who was recently placed on the fifteen-day disabled list with a quad injury.
Weaver is also supported by an improving Los Angeles bullpen that owns a 3.68 ERA and 1.22 WHIP at home and a 0.84 ERA and 0.98 WHIP over the last seven games. Despite having an excellent lineup on paper, Toronto”s offense has been extremely disappointing this season:
- 4.6 runs per game overall (.258 batting average)
- 4.3 runs per game on the road (.247 batting average)
- 2.3 runs over the last seven games (.216 batting average)
In contrast, Los Angeles is averaging 5.0 runs per game at home this season, including plating an average of 6.3 runs over the last ten days. I expect those offensive numbers to improve against Toronto starter J.A. Happ, who owns a pedestrian 4.39 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in twelve starts this season. Happ also takes the mound with a 5.13 ERA and 1.63 WHIP on the road and a 5.30 ERA and 1.23 WHIP over his last three starts. Happ’s poor ground-ball rate (42%) and swinging strike rate (7%) further indicate that the 31-year-old southpaw is on the decline. I also like the fact that Los Angeles boasts a .798 OPS versus left-handed pitching this season, which is the best mark in the Major Leagues. Happ’s underlying metrics also leave a lot to be desired:
- 4.18 xFIP overall
- 4.21 SIERA overall
- 4.43 xFIP on the road
Los Angeles investors should take further comfort in the fact that Happ is 0-2 with a career 9.46 ERA and 2.40 WHIP versus the Blue Jays. And, once Happ is removed from the game, the Angels get to feast on a poor Toronto bullpen that owns a 4.36 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in 2014, including a 4.70 ERA and 1.38 WHIP on the road and a 4.60 ERA and 1.46 WHIP at night. From a technical standpoint, Los Angeles is a profitable 25-9 (+13.8 units) at home versus teams averaging less than 4.8 runs per game, 30-10 (+18.5 units) with a total between 8 and 8.5 runs, 17-3 (+11.8 units) as a home favorite of -150 or more. With Weaver toeing the rubber, the Angels are 19-2 (+15.7 units) at home during the month of July and 49-17 (+20.5 units) at home in the second half of the season. I also like the following trends:
- Los Angles is 13-3 in its L/16 games versus left-handed starters;
- Los Angeles is 39-13 in Weaver’s L/52 starts as a home favorite;
- Los Angeles is 59-29 in Weaver’s L/88 starts overall;
- Los Angeles is 4-0 in Weaver’s L/4 home starts vs. the Blue Jays
- Los Angeles is 7-1 in Weaver’s L/8 starts vs. the Blue Jays
Since June 6, the Angels lead the American League with a 20-8 record and have swept four of their last five home series, with the most recent coming in four consecutive wins against the Astros. Having won ten straight home games, take the surging Halos and invest with confidence.