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.