Angels finding Rangers tough to take down
ARLINGTON, Texas — Deficits and close ballgames just don't seem to bother the Texas Rangers.
Texas won in walk-off fashion again Monday night, coming back to beat the Los Angeles Angels 3-2. The American League West rivals continue the three-game series with the middle installment Tuesday night at Globe Life Park.
The Rangers own eight walk-off wins this season, including two on the current homestand. Texas has 20 last at-bat victories. The club's 46 come-from-behind wins are second most in club history (50 in 2013) and lead Major League Baseball.
And when it comes to one-run games, no team is better. Texas has won 12 of last 14 decided by a single run, improving to 35-10 overall.
“That's how we play,” said Elvis Andrus, who scored the deciding run in the series' opener. “That's been our DNA this year. We don't give up to the last out, the last pitch. It's contagious. I think everybody is feeling the same way. Everybody keeps pushing. We don't count ourselves out until the last out.
“I'm really happy with the way we're playing baseball right now. We're going to come back tomorrow and try to win the series.”
The Rangers are sending A.J. Griffin (7-4, 4.78 ERA) to the hill to try to clinch the series. The right-hander hasn't been particularly sharp lately, but the club has won three of his last four starts and seven of 10.
Griffin owns a 5.96 ERA over his last eight starts. He hasn't pitched since Sept. 13 as Texas manager Jeff Banister lines up his staff for the playoffs.
Banister announced that lefty Derek Holland would start Wednesday in the series finale, pushing back Cole Hamels from his normal turn to the series opener Friday at Oakland. Yu Darvish would follow Saturday, mirroring the playoff rotation.
Hamels and Darvish would also start the following Friday and Saturday to set them up for the first two games of the ALDS, which starts Oct. 6.
“It's the appropriate time for both of them to get extra rest,” Banister told reporters.
Hamels and Darvish have struggled recently. Getting the two aces rest isn't as important as getting them on track.
“It would be nice for them to go out, throw the ball well and have some success,” Banister added. “There would be a lot of 'feel good.' What's necessary is for all our guys to get on that roll.”
The Angels are countering with Daniel Wright (0-3, 7.04) in the second game of the series. The rookie is making his third appearance for Angels and fifth start of the season.
Claimed off waivers from Cincinnati earlier this month, Wright made his Angels' debut on Sept. 10 against Texas. He didn't factor in the decision after tossing five innings and allowing four earned runs on six hits.
The Angels have gotten solid starting pitching lately.
“It's encouraging, because we've seen guys that were looking forward to seeing where they're going to be next year because they have a chance to help us,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “The heartbeat of the club is your rotation. We need to get a little more consistent, a little deeper there, and hopefully we start to see it.”