Week ahead: Angels, Mariners
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers have 16 games remaining in the 2012 season and are in the middle of a pennant race. They'll face the AL West in all of those remaining games. They travel to Anaheim later today to start a three-game series Tuesday with the Angels and have three games with Seattle over the weekend. Here's a look at a few things to watch:
* Scoreboard watching. Everyone will be paying attention to the A's, who lost Sunday. The Rangers are three games up with 16 to play.
* The Angels come in after taking two of three in Kansas City over the weekend. The lone loss was a tough one, blowing a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the ninth Saturday. Los Angeles still has plenty to play for as it is in range of the AL wild card. The Rangers and Angels will see each other six more times this season, including three in Arlington on Sept. 28-30, the final homestand of the season for Texas.
* Ryan Dempster will attempt to keep his winning ways going when he takes the mound Tuesday. He has won five consecutive starts (starts, not just decisions) and has quality starts in all of those outings. The club record for wins in consecutive starts is eight by Kenny Rogers in 2005.
* The bullpen hasn't been at 100 percent, but should be good to go this week. Look for Mike Adams to return in Anaheim and with Robbie Ross now active, the club gets a reliable arm back in the fold. Joe Nathan, after a heavy workload las week, got a few days off and should be rested and ready.
* Martin Perez. He was named the club's fifth starter after Sunday's game, replacing Scott Feldman. He'll pitch against the Mariners again Friday.
* Mike Napoli caught the last two games and returned Saturday after missing 33 games with the strained left quad. He had a three-run homer Saturday and said he feels comfortable. You may not see him running at full speed, but he doesn't feel the quad when he's catching or moving laterally behind the plate. That's important.
* Josh Hamilton has five extra-base hits in his last four games (two homers and three doubles) and leads the league in homers (42) and RBIs (123). His career-high for RBIs is 130 set in 2008. Can he get close to that mark during this road trip?
* Texas will likely see Hisashi Iwakuma and Jason Vargas again in Seattle.
* Can the Rangers continue to win series? They've won eight of their last nine series and continue to preach that if they win series, they'll be fine.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett for his weekly visit to discuss a hypothetical Jurickson Profar for Cliff Lee trade, how he would handle Profar's playing time with the Rangers and more.
Play Podcast Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus joins Galloway & Company to discuss having Scott Boras as his agent, his new contract and having Jurickson Profar in the lineup.
Play Podcast Rangers manager Ron Washington joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett for his weekly visit to discuss Yu Darvish's pitch count and how he spends time in the clubhouse during weather delays.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway & Company for his weekly visit to discuss the latest Rangers news.
Play Podcast Reid Ryan joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss his new position with the Houston Astros and whether he could see his dad, Nolan, joining him there in the future.
Play Podcast ESPN MLB Insider Jayson Stark joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss if the Rangers are the best team in baseball, what makes them so good and if he thinks the team will trade Jurickson Profar.
Play Podcast Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Ron Washington's decision to send Yu Darvish to the mound for the eighth inning Thursday night and how he would handle a situation like that if he were still a GM.
Play Podcast Randy Galloway, Matt Mosley and Glenn "Stretch" Smith discuss the latest Rangers news, including the Yu Darvish-Justin Verlander matchup.
- There are no games scheduled for today.