Rangers-Angels Preview

The Texas Rangers jumped right back into the thick of the AL
West race over the last week. Nelson Cruz won’t be able to help
them moving forward.

Hours after Cruz accepted a 50-game suspension for his
involvement in the Biogenesis case, Texas opens a three-game series
against the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night.

Six games back of West-leading Oakland last week, the Rangers
(62-50) reeled off six wins in seven games, capped by two of three
at the A’s over the weekend, to move within 2 1/2 of the top
spot.

Cruz hit his team-leading 27th homer in Sunday’s 4-0 victory –
which also moved manager Ron Washington into first place in
franchise history with 582 wins – but the All-Star right fielder
won’t be around for the rest of the regular season.

Cruz, who also leads the Rangers with 76 RBIs, said he “made an
error in judgment” that he deeply regrets.

Texas continues its 10-game trip with a second visit to Anaheim
this season. The Rangers, who took two of three there in April,
improved to 7-2 in this divisional matchup by capping off a
three-game sweep with Wednesday’s 2-1 victory.

Monday’s scheduled starter Martin Perez (3-3, 3.93 ERA) logged a
career-best 7 1-3 innings in that contest, allowing one run – a
homer by former Ranger Josh Hamilton – after surrendering at least
four in each of his previous three starts.

“Each time he takes the ball, it’s an experience for him,”
Washington told the Rangers’ official website of Perez, who was
called up June 22. “You don’t become a success overnight. It’s
going to take some time. He’s going to have his issues, but he has
quality stuff, and he has the demeanor.”

Angels scheduled starter Jerome Williams (5-7, 4.60) had some of
his best stuff of the season Wednesday, giving up one run – a homer
to Cruz – in 7 2-3 innings.

The veteran right-hander, though, has a 1.29 run-support average
in his last four outings.

“We didn’t do enough to support Jerome, who really pitched well.
Unfortunately, Perez outpitched him,” manager Mike Scioscia said
after that loss.

Williams gets the ball after Los Angeles (51-59) allowed four
unanswered runs in the final two innings of Sunday’s 6-5 loss to
Toronto that prevented a four-game sweep of the Blue Jays.

“It’s always frustrating whenever you go out there and they give
you the chance to compete, to help the team to win and you don’t do
your job,” said closer Ernesto Frieri, who took the loss Sunday
and blew two save opportunities against Texas last week.

Mark Trumbo has been doing his job, hitting a three-run shot
Sunday to become the eighth player in Angels history with at least
25 homers in three consecutive seasons. He was 1 for 13 with a
homer last week versus Texas.

Hamilton is 14 for 28 during a seven-game hitting streak off
Ranger pitching.

Shortstop Elvis Andrus, who had his career-best 16-game hitting
streak snapped Sunday, finished with a team-best six hits in the
Rangers’ sweep in Anaheim in April.