Angels-Rangers Preview

The last time Jered Weaver won five straight starts, he was a

rookie breaking in with the Los Angeles Angels.

Five years later, the right-hander looks to accomplish that feat

again while trying to become the majors’ first five-game winner

Wednesday night against the Texas Rangers.

Weaver (4-0, 1.30 ERA) has allowed four earned runs and 13 hits

while striking out an AL-leading 31 in 27 2-3 innings this season.

He joins Cliff Lee in 2008, Esteban Loaiza in 2003 and Bret

Saberhagen in 1998 as the only pitchers over the past 20 seasons to

win their first four starts and not allow more than four hits in

any of those outings.

He last won five straight starts in 2006, when he won the first

seven of his career.

“It’s obviously great to get off to a good start,” Weaver told

the Angels’ official website. “Deception, changing speeds, hitting

the (catcher’s) – that’s what it’s all about.”

He allowed two earned runs in seven innings of a 4-3 win at

Chicago on Friday.

“He’s really good,” White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham

said. “Even from last year … I feel like he’s even better. His

ball cuts. And the way he lets it go out of his hand, it cuts even

more.”

Though Weaver went 3-1 with a 3.52 ERA in six starts overall

against the Rangers last season, he was 0-1 with a 6.11 ERA in

three at Arlington. However, he allowed five runs in 13 innings of

his last two there.

While Weaver hopes to help the Angels (11-6) build on Tuesday’s

15-4 win, they could be in for a challenge against scheduled

starter Matt Harrison (3-0, 1.23 ERA) in the series finale between

the AL West co-leaders.

Relegated to the bullpen after going 1-1 with a 5.29 ERA in six

starts to open last season, Harrison has allowed three earned runs

and 14 hits in 22 innings in 2011. He yielded two runs and induced

six double plays over eight innings of a 5-3 win at New York on

Friday.

“He (keeps) the ball down,” New York’s Curtis Granderson told

the Rangers’ official website. “That’s what you teach pitchers.

When you go ahead and want to make ground-ball outs, you make

pitches down in the zone.”

Harrison went 1-1 with a 2.16 ERA in five relief appearances

against the Angels last season, but will make his first start

against them since 2008. He is 1-0 with an 8.10 ERA in two starts

versus Los Angeles.

Maicer Izturis is only 1 for 4 against Harrison, but batting

.388 this season. The versatile Angels infielder, who homered

Tuesday, is 12 for 21 the last five games.

Izturis could move to either second base, third or serve as the

designated hitter with shortstop Erick Aybar expected to come off

the disabled list Wednesday. Aybar was 5 for 12 in three games when

he suffered a strained left oblique.

Rookie first baseman Mark Trumbo homered and drove in four runs

Tuesday as the Angels bounced back from Monday’s 7-1 loss to Texas

(11-6) to win for the 10th time in 13 games. Trumbo is batting .350

with two homers and six RBIs the last five games.

Texas’ Ian Kinsler had two hits for the second straight night to

raise his average to .213.

Coming off their first loss in eight home games, the Rangers

have dropped five of seven overall since starting 9-1.