Rangers-Angels Preview

Continued dominance of the Los Angeles Angels has helped the
second-place Texas Rangers move closer to the AL West lead.

With a chance to potentially move into a first-place tie in the
division, the visiting Rangers can complete a three-game sweep with
a seventh straight victory over the reeling Angels on Wednesday
night.

Elvis Andrus had three hits, Adrian Beltre drove in two runs and
Yu Darvish completed seven innings as Texas (64-50) scored four
times in the ninth en route to an 8-3 win at Los Angeles on Tuesday
for its third consecutive victory. The Rangers, who pounded out 12
hits and stole six bases, have averaged 6.0 runs while winning
eight of nine to move within a game of first-place Oakland, which
has dropped five of six.

“It was quite exciting to be able to go out there and play the
game we love to play,” manager Ron Washington said. “It was a
night when it all came together, but it’s always been an emphasis.
I call that winning baseball.”

A winner in nine of 11 against the Angels (51-61) this season,
Texas has batted .310 while averaging 7.3 runs during its six-game
series winning streak. The Rangers have won three straight and six
of seven at Anaheim dating to last season.

With Nelson Cruz suspended 50 games for his role in the
Biogenesis scandal, Beltre appears capable of carrying the load for
the Rangers at the plate. He’s batted .417 (15 for 36) with nine
RBIs in nine games, and .424 (14 for 33) with six RBIs in his last
eight against the Angels.

Andrus is batting .412 with four RBIs while hitting safely in
eight straight versus Los Angeles.

Scheduled Texas starter Alexi Ogando (4-3, 3.26 ERA) is 3-0 with
a 2.28 ERA in four starts against the Angels. He allowed four runs
– two earned – in seven innings of a 5-4, 11-inning loss at Anaheim
on April 23.

The right-hander, however, is 0-1 with a 4.61 ERA in three
starts since he came off the disabled list with shoulder
inflammation. He gave up three runs and walked five in four innings
of an 8-3 win at Oakland on Friday.

“I just didn’t feel good,” Ogando told the Rangers’ official
website. “I didn’t have my control like I normally do. It was just
one of those nights.”

Los Angeles’ Mark Trumbo is 6 for 13 with three doubles versus
Ogando, but 2 for 20 with nine strikeouts in the last five games
overall.

Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout opened the first with back-to-back
homers Tuesday for Los Angeles, which has lost three in a row and
nine of 12.

”It seems like we’re sliding back in some things that we need
to get better at, and they’re biting us,” manager Mike Scioscia
said. ”And we’re going to keep addressing it. We’re going to get
here early tomorrow, working on stuff. We talk about making
adjustments every day, and they’re coming too slowly for what we
need.”

With his home run, Trout set a club record for Angels
outfielders by reaching base safely in 37 straight games.

However, ex-Ranger Josh Hamilton is 2 for 22 in the last six
contests.

The Angels hand the ball to Tommy Hanson (4-2, 5.29), who has an
8.83 ERA without a record over his last four starts, the last three
since spending almost a month on the DL with a forearm strain. He’s
yielded five runs in each of the last two, most recently in 5 1-3
innings of a 7-5 win over Toronto on Friday.

In his only previous start versus Texas, the right-hander
allowed three runs – including solo homers to Ian Kinsler and Mitch
Moreland – over six innings of an 8-4 win April 6.