W2W4: Rangers vs. Angels
Thursday: RHP Matt Garza (4-5, 4.56) vs. RHP Jerome Williams (9-10, 4.55), 7:05 p.m.
Friday: RHP Alexi Ogando (7-4, 2.93) vs. LHP C.J. Wilson (17-7, 3.36), 7:05 p.m.
Saturday: LHP Derek Holland (10-9, 3.33) vs. RHP Garrett Richards (7-7, 4.09), 7:05 p.m.
Sunday: RHP Yu Darvish (13-9, 2.82) vs. LHP Jason Vargas (9-7, 4.01), 2:05 p.m.
Here's what to watch for in this final series of the regular season:
Upper hand: The Rangers have dominated the Angels this season, winning 11 of 15 games, but don't expect this to be an easy series. The Halos won two of out three from the Rangers earlier this month in Anaheim. The Angels are 23-9 in their last 32 games for the second best record in the majors. They are 9-0-1 in their last 10 series. The Rangers swept their last home series against the Angels in July, winning all three games on walk-off home runs.
Wilson goes for 18: Former Ranger C.J. Wilson is having a sensational second second with the Angels. He is 17-7 with a 3.36 ERA. Wilson lost for the first time in 14 starts in his last outing. He is 13-2 with a 2.94 ERA in his last 19 starts. Alexi Ogando will face Wilson on Friday night. Ogando had seven shutout innings Sunday in Kansas City.
What about Josh?: Former Ranger Josh Hamilton comes back to Baseball Town on a nice run. He has a 10-game hitting streak and had two hits and two RBIs in the Angels' 3-2 victory over first-place Oakland on Wednesday. Hamilton is batting .325 for September with four doubles, two triples, two home runs and 16 RBIs. That's significantly better than last September when Hamilton faded, batting .245 as the Rangers blew a big lead in the American League West.
Trout the MVP: You can't talk about the Angels and not mention All-Star outfielder Mike Trout, who is having another MVP-type season. Trout is closing in on becoming baseball's first 10-20-30-40 player, 10 triples, 20 homers, 30 steals and 40 doubles. He needs a double and triple in the four games against Texas. He currently has nine triples, 26 home runs, 33 steals and 39 doubles.
No Weaver: The Rangers avoid Angels ace Jered Weaver, who made his final start of the season Wednesday and beat the A's 3-1, allowing a run in seven innings. Texas still has to deal with Wilson and another lefty, Jason Vargas, on Sunday. Wilson and Garrett Williams beat the Rangers in the last series the teams played in Anaheim Sept. 6-8. Matt Garza and Derek Holland, who will start Thursday and Saturday, took losses in that series.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.