The Rangers are very much in the playoff race, even if it's without outfielder Nelson Cruz.
They'll begin the final 50 games without their leading home run hitter and RBI man with a three-game series at the Los Angeles Angels starting Monday night.
The Rangers swept three games from the Angels last week in Arlington, winning all three games on walk-off home runs -- and none of them by Cruz.
What kind of drama is on tap for the three games at the Big A in Anaheim? Here's what to watch for:
Rangers dominating so far: The Rangers are 7-2 against the Angels this season, including last week's three-game sweep in Arlington. All three wins came via walk-off home runs -- Geovany Soto, Leonys Martin and Adrian Beltre did the honors -- the first time that has happened in Rangers team history and only the second time in major league history. The Rangers are 48-35 against the Angels since the start of the 2009 season.
Angels bullpen still slumping: The Rangers took advantage of a struggling Angels bullpen to sweep the series in Arlington last week, trailing entering the ninth inning in two games and tied in the other and winning them all. The Halos' bullpen blew a 5-2 lead entering the eighth inning Sunday against Toronto. It was the Angels' fifth blown save in the past nine games. Manager Mike Scioscia pulled closer Ernesto Frieri in a 5-4 game in the top of the ninth after he put two runners on base, and Dane De La Rosa allowed consecutive hits to give up the lead.
Rangers miss Weaver, Wilson: The Rangers will miss the Angels' two best pitchers, Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson. That comes at a good time with Cruz out of the lineup starting Monday night due to his suspension. The Angels will start right-handers Jerome Williams (5-7, 4.60 ERA), Garrett Richards (3-4, 4.18) and Tommy Hanson (4-2, 5.29) against Texas. The Rangers are 41-37 against right-handers. Williams pitched very well against the Rangers on Wednesday, allowing a run in 7 1/3 innings.
Trout remains hot: The Rangers finally slowed down Angels center fielder Mike Trout in Wednesday's 2-1 victory as Martin Perez got him out all three times he faced him. He did draw a walk against reliever Tanner Scheppers. Trout was 6-for-6 with four walks in his 10 plate appearances in the first two games of last week's series. Trout led all of the major leagues during July with a .476 on-base percentage and a 1.108 OPS. He was the only player to reach base in every game during the month. Trout has reached base in 34 consecutive games.
Hamilton driving in runs: Former Ranger Josh Hamilton has picked things up from the standpoint of driving in runs. Hamilton, who appeared in Sunday's 6-5 loss as a pinch hitter, has 22 RBIs in his past 23 games. He is batting .280 with a home run and eight RBIs in his past seven games. Hamilton has been at his best this season against his old team, batting .389 with a home run and seven RBIs.