Rangers look to sweep Angels (Jul 09, 2017)

BY AP • July 9, 2017

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The lone All-Star for the Texas Rangers will give fans a final glimpse of what he can do before the start of the second half Sunday when the Rangers look to sweep a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels.

Yu Darvish (6-7, 3.56 ERA) will start for Texas in his final appearance before a scheduled July 16 start against Kansas City. Darvish won't pitch in the All-Star Game at the request of the Rangers, who want him ready for the second half.

"It is what it is," Darvish said. "We talked and looked at the schedule and thinking about the second half. I agreed that maybe this is what we need to do."

What Darvish needs to so Sunday is bounce back after one of the poorest starts of his career as he gave up 11 hits and seven runs in 4 1/3 innings against Boston. Darvish has moved past that outing, too.

"There's nothing you can do," Darvish said. "You don't want to think about it too much."

A strong outing from Darvish would give Texas a chance to get back to .500 for the first time since June 28. Its 5-3 win Saturday moved the Rangers into sole possession of second place in the American League West for the first time since June 27.

The Angels seem like a good bounce-back opponent for Darvish. For his career, he's 9-2 with a 3.45 ERA in 15 career starts against the Angels. That includes a 2-0 mark this season and a sparking 1.38 ERA, and he's facing a Los Angeles team that's scored just two runs in the first two games of the series.

Darvish would like to give the Rangers a solid game to go into the break on.

"It's going to make a big difference if we can win that game or lose, so my intention is to win the game as always so we can have a good week," he said.

Right-hander JC Ramirez (7-7, 4.73 ERA) would like to send the Angels into the break on a good note, too. His history against the Rangers isn't as extensive as Darvish's is, but he's had success. Ramirez is 2-1 with a 2.03 ERA against Texas including a win earlier this year in Arlington in which Ramirez set a career high with nine strikeouts.

His command (25 walks in 97 innings) has allowed him to be successful.

"We focus on his slider and curveball, along with his fastball to give him a simple repertoire that he has command of," Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. "And he's around the plate with everything."

Despite solid overall numbers on the season, Ramirez has struggled recently. Over his last four starts he's 1-3 with a 6.86 ERA and pitched just a total of 19 2/3 innings.

Scioscia knows he can pitch better than that.

"I think JC has run into some potholes the last couple starts, but his stuff has held up," Scioscia said. "I think we need him to come out there and do what he did earlier in the year. Be able to throw all of his repertoire over the plate on off counts, and we have a lot of confidence that he'll be successful."



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