On any baseball gambler's list of top money pitchers before the start of the major league season, it would not have been a surprise to see Boston's Josh Beckett and the New York Mets' Johan Santana rank near the top.
Yet, Saunders has been cash in the bank for the Angels with a 5-0 record in six starts heading into today's game against Baltimore.
Saunders, who joined Frank Tanana as the only pitchers in team history to go 5-0 in April (and was joined the next night by Ervin Santana), will start against the Orioles' Steve Trachsel (1-3) at Angel Stadium.
The Angels are favorites for today's game and will be riding several positive trends.
Dating to last season, the Angels are 9-2 in Saunders' last 11 starts against a team with a winning record and they are 9-3 in Saunders' last 12 home starts overall.
Then there are the negative trends that Baltimore will bring to the field.
The Orioles are 3-12 in their last 15 games when Trachsel has started against a team with a winning record, and they are 1-7 in Trachsel's last eight road starts.
After one month of play, Las Vegas oddsmakers have updated numbers on the American League pennant race and the Angels are listed at 9-2, which is behind Boston (2-1) and the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees (4-1), according to sportsbook.com.
The Lakers are seven-point favorites against Utah for today's Game 1 at Staples Center, where the Lakers are 4-0 against the spread in their last four home games.
The over/under combined total points scored is 213 points, which is one point lower than both teams' regular-season averages combined at 214. The Lakers averaged 108.9 points and the Jazz 105.1 during the regular season.
The over is 5-2 in the Lakers' last seven home games against a team with a losing road record, and the under is 5-1 in Utah's last six road games.
In the Eastern Conference, Boston is listed as a 14-point home favorite over Atlanta for today's Game 7. The Hawks are 0-4 against the spread in their last four road games. The Celtics are 7-0 against the spread in their last seven games against a team with a losing road record.
The Pittsburgh Penguins lead the New York Rangers, 3-1, in their best-of-seven series and will host Game 5 today at Mellon Arena. Pittsburgh is 7-1 in its last eight games against a team with a winning record, while New York is 1-5 in its last six conference semifinal games.