Rapid Reaction: Angels 6, Rangers 1
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Texas Rangers squandered early opportunities and Derek Holland was shaky in Friday's 6-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels. Some quick thoughts:
What it means: The Angels took the first game of the three-game set, pulling within five games of the Rangers in the American League West standings. ... The Rangers are 16-16 in their own division, and 3-4 against Los Angeles.
The bad with the good: Holland looked nothing like the pitcher who last week blanked the Seattle Mariners. The left-hander had been sharp on the road (4-1, 2.58 ERA) heading into Friday, but the Angels tagged him for six runs on nine hits in 6 2/3 innings. Los Angeles had five extra-base hits; Texas had two.
Unlucky No. 11: Mark Trumbo fouled off six pitches during his at-bat in the sixth inning, so he had plenty of looks at Holland before launching the 11th pitch for his team-leading 27th home run. Holland had Trumbo 0-2 in the count but couldn't put him away.
Too much of the zone: Trumbo's screaming blast hurt, but it was a slow, hanging curveball in the fourth that proved to be the backbreaker for Holland. The pitch seemed to freeze as it reached home plate and Erick Aybar lunged at it, but still managed to hook it into the left field corner to give the Angels a comfortable 4-1 lead. That it came immediately after a mound visit by pitching coach Mike Maddux didn't help matters.
Ol' four-six-three rally killer: Teams don't get too many golden opportunities against Angels ace Jered Weaver but the Rangers had one in the third inning and wasted it. Mike Napoli led off with a bloop single to right field and Craig Gentry followed with a liner that skipped past left fielder Mike Trout for a double, setting up a favorable situation with the top of the order due up. But Ian Kinsler fouled out on the first pitch he saw and, after a walk to Elvis Andrus, Josh Hamilton bounced into an inning-ending double play. Weaver fed off the escape act, and Angel fans roared.
Accurate Andrus: Holland's numbers would have been worse if not for a perfect throw home from Andrus in the first. The Angels got greedy on Howie Kendrick's game-tying double, waving the 230-pound Albert Pujols around from first. Andrus received the throw from Gentry, and fired a strike to the plate to limit the damage.
Rare power: An unlikely source brought the thunder early. Andrus hammered a 3-and-2 offering from Weaver to deep left-center field, putting the Rangers on the board in the first. It was only his second home run of the season and first since April 11 -- a drought that spanned 83 games. It's all the Rangers would muster.
Up next: Yu Darvish vs. Ervin Santana at 3:05 p.m. Saturday on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and Fox.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.