Series Preview: Angels at Texas Rangers
By Christoph Ludwig
Coming off a sweep of the Kansas City Royals, the defending World Series champions, the Angels are in Texas tonight to take on the Rangers. Texas is coming off a home series win against the New York Yankees. The two teams split a four-game series earlier this season in Anaheim. The Angels are just one game behind the Rangers for first place in the AL West, and depending on what happens with the Seattle Mariners in their series against the Royals, the Angels can take sole possession of first place with a sweep.
Game 1: Friday, 5:05 p.m. Hector Santiago (2-0, 2.70 ERA) vs. Colby Lewis (1-0, 3.38 ERA)
Game 2: Saturday, 5:05 p.m. Matt Shoemaker (1-3, 6.87 ERA) vs. Derek Holland (2-1, 3.13 ERA)
Game 3: Sunday, 12:05 p.m. Garrett Richards (1-3, 2.35 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (3-0, 2.52 ERA)
Best pitching matchup:
It’s an ace-off Sunday afternoon, with the tough-luck Richards taking on veteran All-Star lefty Hamels. Richards hasn’t given up more than three earned runs in a start yet this season, but has suffered from terrible run support. The Angels have scored an average of 2.4 runs in his five starts, leading to his 1-3 record. He got his first win Monday against the Royals, as he allowed just one unearned run and the Angels gave him six runs of support.
Hamels, meanwhile, is off to a hot start, allowing only 20 hits and striking out 23 batters in 25 innings pitched and has won three of his first four starts. His last time out, against the Houston Astros, Hamels went 6.2 innings and allowed just one run on five hits and struck out seven.
Three Rangers to watch:
- Adrian Beltre: The future Hall of Fame third baseman is still getting it done at age 37, playing stellar defense and contributing in the middle of the lineup. He’s hitting .298/.341/.488 with three home runs and 13 RBI this season.
- Elvis Andrus: The veteran shortstop is having a career year at the plate, hitting .343/.368/.486, and he leads the league with three triples.
- Nomar Mazara: A highly regarded prospect coming into the season, the rookie rightfielder was called up after an injury to Shin-Soo Choo and made his debut in Anaheim on April 10. He announced himself by going 3 for 4 with a home run. He’s hitting an excellent .345/.415/.491.
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Three Angels to watch:
- Mike Trout: After a slow start to the season, Trout seems to have hit his stride at the plate. He’s riding an eight-game hitting streak and hit two home runs in the series against Kansas City. Over the past week he’s hit .333/.429/.889 and has upped his season line to .295/.398/.538.
- Albert Pujols: Pujols also started the season off slowly but has had more success lately. He hit two home runs in the first game of the series against the Royals and is hitting .278/.350/.778 over the past week. His season line is still bad, however, at .169/.242/.361. We’ll see if hitting in Texas will give him a boost: He’s hit .299/.376/.585 in his career at Globe Life Park.
- Yunel Escobar: The Angels’ new third baseman has been a revelation in the leadoff spot for the Halos. He’s been one of the few, perhaps the only, Angel to perform well on a consistent basis this season and has proved many of the naysayers, myself included, wrong. He’s hitting .281/.347/.449 and hit a clutch home run on Wednesday to help the Angels finish the sweep.