Game No. 28: Los Angeles Angels (14-13) vs. Texas Rangers (15-13)

By Jose Serrano

Apr 20, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia (14) takes the ball to relieve starting pitcher Hector Santiago (53) in the sixth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The first of 19 meetings between the Angels and Rangers begins with two teams heading in opposite directions. Texas held a four game lead less than a week ago, but four straight losses coupled with the Halos’ three-game sweep of Cleveland leaves the rivals just half a game apart.

Led by Albert Pujols’ resurgence, the Angels lead the junior circuit in home runs (38). Meanwhile, the Rangers are homerless in six straight and narrowly place above Kansas City in the American League cellar. Their sputtering offense managed only 15 hits and four runs in losing all three games against Oakland earlier this week. Once tied atop the AL West, the sit three back of the A’s.

For a fly-ball pitcher like Hector Santiago, it’s a perfect opportunity to break out his season-long slump.

Pitching Matchup– Hector Santiago (0-4, 4.44 ERA) vs. Colby Lewis (1-1, 4.60 ERA)

Santiago’s loss last Saturday was the epitome of everything that’s gone wrong this year. He yielded four runs- one coming on a bases-loaded balk- and six hits in just over four innings. He’s lasted past the seventh inning just once this year and allowed fewer than four runs only twice. Santiago holds the highest WHIP (1.44) and ERA in the starting rotation.

Still, there is optimistic ahead of the left-hander’s sixth start. Santiago is 1-0 with a 1.98 ERA four games against Texas. As a White Sox last year, Santiago earned two quality starts against the Rangers, allowing three runs in 11 2/3 innings.

Colby Lewis hasn’t thrown over 90 pitches since coming off the disabled list. Left handers are batting .341 and account for two of three homers he’s given up in his three starts. Lewis hasn’t lasted past the fifth inning in each of his starts, including last Saturday’s 6-3 win over Seattle.

In some ways, the hip injury that sidelined Lewis through 2013 and the better part of 2012 hurt the Angels. He’s 4-4 with a 4.32 ERA in 14 games and has only one win since 2010.

Walk offs:

  1. Texas won a club-record 15 of 19 games against the Angels last year.
  2. David Freese is hitting .350 over the last five games.
  3. Pujols is 1-for-8 with a single lifetime against Lewis.

TV: 7:05 p.m. PT, Fox Sports West, Fox Sports Southwest

Radio: KLAA 830, KLIF 570