Texas Rangers: Los Angeles Angels

W2W4: Rangers at Angels

September, 19, 2014
Sep 19
The Rangers begin their final road series of the season, a three-game set against the Los Angeles Angels. The Rangers have struggled badly against the Angels this season, going 3-13.

Here’s a preview:

What’s up with the Angels? There’s little drama going on with the newly crowned AL West champions. However, RF Josh Hamilton has been shut down after dealing with sharp, stabbing pains in his chest and right rib cage. Hamilton’s status for the postseason is uncertain. No matter, the Angels are 2 games ahead of Baltimore for the best record in baseball and are assured of at least home-field advantage in the ALDS. Expect the Angels to sit their regulars in the final days of the regular season.


Should Tim Bogar be the Rangers' manager next season?


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What’s up with the Rangers? They’re playing spoiler and have won a season-high six consecutive games. During this stretch, the Rangers have messed up the playoff hopes of Atlanta and now Oakland, which is barely holding onto the second wild card spot in the AL. During this six-game win streak, opponents are hitting just .217 and the pitchers have a 2.00 ERA. In Thursday’s win over the Athletics, 3B Adrian Beltre became the all-time career hits leader for players from the Dominican Republic with 2,591.

The Battle for No. 1: The Rangers have a nice win streak going that is not only boosting confidence in the clubhouse, but could also help Tim Bogar's case to become the full-time manager next season. Despite their recent success, the Rangers still hold the worst record in baseball at 60-92, 2 games back of Arizona and Colorado (62-91).

The pitching matchups: Friday: RHP Lisalverto Bonilla (1-0, 4.66) vs. LHP Hector Santiago (5-8, 3.55). Saturday: Colby Lewis (10-13, 5.12) vs. RHP Jered Weaver (17-8, 3.50). Sunday: RHP Nick Tepesch (5-10, 4.47) vs. RHP Cory Rasmus (3-1, 2.57).

Rangers don't back down to Trout

September, 12, 2014
Sep 12
ARLINGTON, Texas -- This is what you have to handle if you're a young pitcher like Nick Martinez and a young slugger like Mike Trout: Pitching inside.

[+] EnlargeNick Martinez
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezMike Trout was hit twice Thursday, but Nick Martinez was simply trying to establish his inside fastball.
Martinez, who fell to 3-11 after the Texas Rangers' 7-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night, hit Trout twice with inside fastballs.

Martinez has to establish the inside portion of the plate, if he expects to be around with this team next year, and getting in on hitters is important in his development.

"Just establishing the fastball inside and it got away from me," Martinez said.

Trout also understands the game of baseball and he didn't like it. In the three-game series, he was hit three times, all near the same spot of the left arm and he almost got popped there a fourth time.

Trout said he was fine, yet after getting plunked in the fifth inning he flipped his bat and had an exasperated look on his face.

"You go up there trying to have at-bats not thinking you're going to get hit," said Trout, who has 102 runs scored and 103 RBIs. "They're pitching inside the whole series, I understand it."

It doesn't mean you have to like it.

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Pregame notes: Bronze Star for bench coach

September, 11, 2014
Sep 11
ARLINGTON, Texas – Prior to Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers bench coach Bobby Jones will be presented with the Bronze Star.

Jones finished his tour of service for the U.S. Army in 1971 as a section chief in a 105 millimeter howitzer battery and was given the Bronze Star, but he never had a formal ceremony from a senior military officer.

“I wasn’t presented the medal,” Jones said. “The commanding officer pins it on your chest. Well, I never got any of that. I actually got the medal, but it wasn’t presented to me. Not sure why it wasn’t presented.”

Jones said that his first wife had the Bronze Star but that after a divorce, its whereabouts were a mystery. Jones’ daughter found it years later.

Jones, a corporal, served from 14 months in Vietnam and extended his stay by two months.

Col. R.J. Muraski, Deputy Commander of the U.S Army Corps of Engineers Southwestern Division, will officially present Jones the Bronze Star.

9/11 anniversary: Thursday marks the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Rangers interim manager Tim Bogar was playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2001 and was so distraught, the team gave him a few days off to recover in his home state of Illinois.

"But it just it was one of those things where you didn't think it could ever happen to us,” Bogar said. “You felt a little vulnerable, but then you felt how everybody could rally around each other and what a great nation and a great country this really is, and we need to stick together and think about other people and take care of each other and not just ourselves.”

Baseball stuff: Catcher Robinson Chirinos (neck) was expected to be back in the lineup Thursday but wanted to continue individual drills before returning. Bogar said Chirinos is improving and could catch Friday. ... Right-handed reliever Lisalverto Bonilla could make a spot start in the final weeks of the season if someone gets hurt or needs to miss a start. Bonilla made six starts in his final 10 appearances for Triple-A Round Rock before his September call-up. ... Bogar doesn’t expect any of the current starters to be shut down the rest of the season. Miles Mikolas is out with a sore shoulder but is feeling better.

Pregame notes: Red-hot Martin sits

August, 17, 2014
Aug 17
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin is hitting .435 on this seven-game homestand and has 10 hits in the last five games after an 0-for-12 stretch.

So why did Martin sit for Sunday's series finale against the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday?

Hector Santiago.

The Angels left-hander is just 3-7 on the season, yet Martin struggles against left-handers, where he's hitting just .198 on the year. Manager Ron Washington wants to play Martin everyday but still doesn't trust him against lefties.

Washington is confident enough in Martin that he will move him up in the order. After hitting in the lower portions of the batting lineup for most of the season, Martin batted fifth on Saturday night, the 10th time that's occurred.

"I want to play every day, no matter if it's a left-hander or a right-hander," Martin said. "When the situation comes, I do my best for my team."

Daniel Robertson replaced Martin in center on Sunday.

Rehab setback for Beltre: Right fielder Engel Beltre, on the 60-day disabled list recovering from a fractured right tibia, left a rehab start in the third inning of a game on Saturday night in Arizona. Beltre has missed the entire season recovering from the leg injury and there is no timetable regarding when he'll return.

Rotation set for South Beach: The Rangers have Monday off and will then have a brief two-game series at Miami. Miles Mikolas 91-5, 7.71) and Nick Martinez (2-9, 5.27) will pitch in the series. Both pitchers have ties to South Florida. Mikolas is from Jupiter, Fla., and Martinez is from Miami. "It's going to be fun to have family and friends down there to watch," Mikolas said."Nick and I will have a lot of people down there rooting for us."

Colby Lewis continues audition for 2015

August, 5, 2014
Aug 5
Colby LewisPeter Llewellyn/USA TODAY SportsColby Lewis, who will be a free agent when the season ends, hopes to stay with the Rangers.
The pitching rotation for the Texas Rangers in 2015 is Yu Darvish and the return of Derek Holland.

There are too many ifs after that.

What about this young pitcher?

What if this pitcher comes back from injury?

Who’s out there in free agency?

And there’s Colby Lewis.

He turned 35 over the weekend and spent the day in Cleveland most likely celebrating quietly and thinking about his future.

The next two months of the season are auditions for Lewis and he takes the stage Tuesday night against the Chicago White Sox.

His future was in doubt last year as he recovered from right hip resurfacing surgery and the removal of bone spurs in his right elbow.

There were fears he would not return.

“I lay in bed and (my) wife and I talk about the future and see how things go,” said Lewis, who becomes a free agent when the season ends. “I’m a day-to-day guy. We’ll see how the season winds up and we’ll see what the future brings. I’m a Ranger at heart. I want to be here. I really, really feel we can work something out. I want to come back and hopefully we can.”

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Getting starters to pitch deeper a priority

July, 13, 2014
Jul 13
ARLINGTON, Texas -- High on the Texas Rangers’ second-half agenda is getting starting pitchers to go deeper into games.

Spot starter Scott Baker gave the Rangers only four innings in Sunday’s 10-7 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

If one of the team’s five starters has a short outing, a solid bullpen could possibly make up the extra innings. But when all the starters fail to go less than seven innings -- as has been the case in an eight-game Texas losing streak -- the bullpen becomes overly taxed.

“We have to figure out a way to get our starting pitches to go deeper in ballgames,’’ Rangers manager Ron Washington said afterward. “Get ahead and make pitches. That’s what they have to do.’’

Because, as Washington points out, in the American League there are many quality hitters that “every time you make a mistake, they make you pay.’’

Over the four-day All-Star break, Washington’s message is for the players to enjoy themselves, get away and then get ready to go in the second half.

Shortstop Elvis Andrus, encouraged by the Rangers' more aggressive play in the Angels series, expects a much better second half from the team.

“The whole team needs a break to clear our mind and enjoy family time,’’ Andrus said. “Then come back for the second half. After three or four days, we’ll realize we can come back and play the right way. I know we can play a lot better. I believe in myself and in my teammates.’’

Extra Bases: Gimenez ignores Weaver's taunts

July, 11, 2014
Jul 11
ARLINGTON, Texas -- When catcher Chris Gimenez took the mound as an emergency pitcher in the ninth inning of Thursday's 15-6 Rangers loss, he could hear razzing from Jered Weaver in the Angels' dugout.

The last time Gimenez, a catcher-first baseman for the Rangers, pitched, it was in an Alaskan college summer league. Weaver, now the ace of the Angels' pitching staff, was a teammate.

“He was reminding me that my earned run average back then was 36,’’ Gimenez said. “I was hoping not to have a 36 after this one.’’

Instead, Gimenez set the Angels down in order on a groundout, strikeout and fly ball.

“Really it is not something you want to do, but at the same time you kind of do,’’ Gimenez said. “You might as well have fun with it.’’

In the fourth inning, Gimenez suggested to a coach that if needed, he was ready. In the eighth, he got word to warm up.

“I was trying to calm myself down. I'm a catcher. My plan was to throw it down the middle and see what happens.’’

Gimenez became the seventh position player to pitch in Rangers' history, and the second this season. Mitch Moreland worked an inning in a 12-1 loss in Colorado on May 6. The most notable example is Jose Canseco's appearance against Boston in 1993, when he injured his arm and missed the rest of the season.

The Rangers will hope to avoid another emergency hurler when they host the Angels in Game 2 of the series, set for 7:05 tonight at Globe Life Park.

Washington calls clubhouse meeting

July, 11, 2014
Jul 11
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Following the Texas Rangers' 15-6 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday, manager Ron Washington held a rare clubhouse meeting.

“I needed to remind them of some things,’’ Washington said at his postgame news conference that was delayed by a half-hour. “I think they received my message well.’’

[+] EnlargeChris Gimenez
Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY SportsAccording to Rangers catcher Chris Gimenez -- called on to pitch the ninth inning against the Angels -- manager Ron Washington said things that needed to be said in the clubhouse meeting following Texas' fifth straight loss.
Texas has lost five in a row and 19 of 22.

With so many newcomers, the makeup of the clubhouse has changed.

“There’s a big group that doesn't know what winning is all about,’’ Washington said. “But I wanted them to know I believe in them.’’

His message is to keep fighting.

“Baseball is full of adversity, but don’t give in to it,’’ Washington said.

Catcher Chris Gimenez, an emergency pitcher on this night, said he thought the manager said things that needed to be said.

“This is not a losing team,’’ Gimenez said. “This organization has done well. He told us we shouldn’t make excuses for ourselves and that he still feels like we have guys that can play.

“I think everybody on the team would agree he said things that should be said. And if we can’t pick it up, we don’t deserve to be here.’’

Lewis bombed: The Angels attacked so quickly, Colby Lewis said he never really had a chance to establish his game plan.

“I wanted to get ahead early and get outs, but I really didn’t have an opportunity to get ahead," he said. "I felt like it happened so quick. Like the first or second pitch and done. They hit it and found the gaps and I got beat, plain and simple."

In 2⅓ innings, Lewis was charged with a club-record 13 runs, 11 of them earned, on 13 hits.

“I didn’t get outs. I didn’t do my job.’’

Said Washington: “For three innings, they pounded us. They didn’t miss. There were a couple of outs we didn’t get. I really thought after they scored two in the first inning, Colby would shut them down. It didn’t happen.’’

Rapid Reaction: Angels 15, Rangers 6

July, 10, 2014
Jul 10

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Los Angeles Angels delivered an early knockout blow with 13 runs in the opening three innings and cruised to a 15-6 victory over the slumping Texas Rangers before 30,686 Thursday night at Globe Life Park.

Texas, now 16 games under .500, lost its fifth in a row and has won only three of its past 22.

Mike Trout led the Angels with four hits, including his 21st home run, and drove in four.

Some observations:

Dubious record: A Rangers pitcher had never allowed more than 12 runs in a game -- until the Angels rocked Colby Lewis for 13 in 2⅓ innings. John Burkett and Charlie Hough, the two Rangers who allowed 12 in 1999 and 1986, respectively, can now rest easy as they slip from atop the list.

By the scoreboard clock, it took nine minutes for the Angels to open a 4-0 lead in the top of the first.

Lewis allowed 13 hits (one shy of the club record), but the defensive play behind him didn’t inspire much confidence. Second baseman Adam Rosales hopped a throw into the stands, turning Kole Calhoun’s leadoff triple into a run. First baseman Carlos Pena fumbled a ground ball when he appeared to have a play at the plate. In the Angels’ six-run second inning, Rangers right fielder Alex Rios gloved and then dropped Albert Pujols' fly to right that carried to the wall. Rios was charged with an error, making two of the runs in the inning unearned.

Speed and power: Trout had hits in his first two at-bats without getting the ball out of the infield. A big swing in the first generated a 40-foot dribbler. An inning later, Trout’s speed allowed him to leg out a ground ball to short. But on his third look at Lewis, Trout launched a 407-foot three-run home run over the center-field wall, the knockout blow for the Rangers' pitcher.

Hard feelings: Former Ranger Josh Hamilton was greeted with boos when introduced in the first inning and promptly doubled high off the right-field wall, the first of three doubles for the Angels' cleanup hitter. Hamilton turned boos to cheers in the third when he went down swinging. Feelings are still pretty raw about his "not really a baseball town" remark in reference to Arlington.

Rolling along: Adrian Beltre extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a first-inning single. It is the longest Rangers streak since Elvis Andrus hit in 16 straight last season. Beltre added to his club lead with his 13th home run in the sixth, squeezing one over the wall in the right-field corner. He finished his evening with his third hit, a single in the ninth.

Riding the wave: The incredible start for Rangers rookie outfielder Jake Smolinski continues. His two-run double in the first inning, followed by a single in the fourth and another RBI double in the ninth, made him the first Ranger to have eight hits in his first four games. He finished with three RBIs and scored twice. Smolinski came into the game as the first Ranger since Brandon Boggs in 2008 to have as many as five hits in his first three games.

Mopping up: Long reliever Roman Mendez put the brakes on the Angels' assault, checking them on one hit in 2⅔ innings. That’s two scoreless outings for Mendez in two major league appearances.

Matt West, promoted from Triple-A Round Rock earlier in the day, retired six straight in his major league debut.

Finishing it off was catcher Chris Gimenez, the second Rangers position player to pitch this season and the seventh in club history. He retired all three he faced and got a strikeout.

Up next: The Rangers and Angels meet in the second matchup of a four-game series at 7:05 Friday with Nick Tepesch (3-4, 4.29 ERA) facing off against right-hander Garrett Richards (10-2, 2.71 ERA) at Globe Life Park on ESPN 103.3 FM and Fox Sports Southwest.

Promising signs for Rangers as May starts?

May, 5, 2014
May 5
The Texas Rangers stumbled out of April. They looked battered and beaten after getting swept at home by the Oakland A's to finish off the month with a four-game losing streak and a three-game deficit in the AL West.

Players always talk about "turning the calendar to the next month," but it has become so cliche that you simply ignore it. But I wonder if an off day May 1 actually helped the Rangers do that. The club's veteran leadership didn't see any reason for an early-season panic meeting after that sweep. Neither did the manager, choosing instead to stress to his team to forget about it and move on.

It seems they've done that. The Rangers took two out of three games from the Los Angeles Angels this past weekend -- another threat in the AL West -- and in doing so showed some better signs, especially on the offensive side of the game. A few thoughts:

Is Prince Fielder starting to heat up? We've said this before only to see him have another four or five games of struggles, but I think this weekend was different. He's got a five-game hitting streak and on Sunday was 3-for-4 with two RBI doubles. That's exactly what they need Fielder to do -- and he did it early in Sunday's game to give starter Yu Darvish some run support. Fielder went from first to third in the series, too, and played well at first base. It was just a solid, complete series for him. That has to give him some confidence as the month begins with his first three-hit day as a Ranger.

Darvish hangs in. When you're the ace of the staff and your offense goes out and scores three runs for you, you can't turn around and give two of them back. To Darvish's credit -- and the Rangers' offense -- it didn't change the outcome. Texas' bats got the two runs right back for Darvish in the top of the second, and he didn't allow the Angels to get any closer. Darvish threw 51 pitches in the first two innings, yet he settled down (thanks in large part to a big replay overturn to get an out at third base) and got a little more efficient and pitched 6⅓ innings. It was not his best effort, clearly, but it was a good recovery to rest portions of the bullpen, which was important.

Comeback kids. We've seen this club make some nice comebacks this season but not in the past week. That changed Friday. After the way the club hit during the A's series, the 2-0 deficit into the sixth inning had to feel like 5-0. But three runs changed all of that, and you could see the dugout get a lift. Texas added two more in the seventh to beat the Angels 5-2 and end the streak. Those are the kinds of wins that can help you get off to a solid week.

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AL West: Angels keep Mike Scioscia, GM

October, 9, 2013
There was some AL West news this week as the Los Angeles Angels decided to retain manager Mike Scioscia and general manager Jerry Dipoto despite another season of failing to live up to high expectations.

But there were some changes. Add the Angels to the list of teams looking for a bench coach after Rob Picciolo was let go. Hitting coach Jim Eppard is also departing, so not unlike the Texas Rangers, there's a shakeup on the Angels' coaching staff.

One big reason Scioscia is still in the dugout could certainly be money. He's got five years left on his contract worth about $27 million. He's been the skipper for 14 seasons now.

The Angels have a ton of money tied up in a handful of players, including Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson. They're going to have to pay handsomely for Mike Trout at some point soon if they want to keep him. Despite all the firepower, the Angels couldn't get anything going in 2013 until after they were essentially eliminated from contention. They have not made the postseason since 2009.

It will be interesting to see the direction that Seattle goes in picking a new manager and where the Angels and Rangers turn to find bench coaches. And that's before we even get to the free-agent market, trades and everything else this offseason. Stay tuned.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 6, Angels 2

September, 29, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers will play another day.

Texas railled from an early 1-0 deficit to beat the Los Angeles Angels, 6-2, on Sunday afternoon at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, clinching a spot in the American League wild-card play-in game against the Tampa Bay Rays at 7:07 p.m. Monday in Arlington.

The Rangers won seven straight games, all at home, to keep their postseason dream alive.

Soto's clutch hit: The Rangers responded after giving up the lead in the top of the sixth. With the score tied at 2-2, Adrian Beltre started a two-out uprising with a single to right field. A.J. Pierzynski followed with a bloop single to right field. That brought up Geovany Soto, who has been on a late-season tear. Soto ripped an RBI double into center field to score Beltre for a 3-2 lead. Soto also had a home run in the top of the ninth. Soto is 13-for-31 with three home runs and seven RBIs in his last 10 games.

Big insurance run: The Rangers took a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh when Craig Gentry had a leadoff single and a stolen base. The Angels brought in Juan Gutierrez in relief and Ian Kinsler grounded the first pitch he saw into left field for a huge insurance run.


Which team will win Monday's AL wild-card play-in game?


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Scheppers again: Tanner Scheppers needed just nine pitches to get the top of the Angels' lineup in the top of the eighth. He gave up a leadoff single to J.B. Shuck on a 0-2 pitch, but bounced back by getting Erick Aybar to ground into a double play. Scheppers then got Mike Trout to fly out to right field. Trout is 0-for-4 lifetime against Scheppers.

Beltre goes deep: Beltre is having a tough September and appeared to tweak his left hamstring running the bases in the sixth inning. But he still had the flair dramatic as shown by his home run to center field in the bottom of the eighth to give the Rangers a 5-2 lead. Beltre has two homers on this homestand.

Rangers take lead: The Rangers had trailed 1-0 since the first inning on Mike Trout's two-out home run when they finally took a lead in the fifth. Pierzynski started the bottom of the fifth with a double to center field. Soto then walked and both advanced on Jason Vargas' errant pickoff throw while Mitch Moreland was batting. After Moreland struck out, Gentry lined a two-run single into center field for a 2-1 lead.

Darvish out early: Manager Ron Washington made the very difficult decision of pulling Yu Darvish at 84 pitches in the sixth inning and bringing in Neal Cotts to face Josh Hamilton with two runners on. At issue is Darvish's inability to get a shutdown inning late in the season. With the Rangers leading 2-1 after Gentry's two-run single, Darvish allowed a single to No. 9 hitter Andrew Romine, then got a nifty double play started by Kinsler. Darvish then allowed a single to Aybar and four-pitch walk to Trout. That brought Washington out of the dugout. Darvish has given back the lead in the inning after the Rangers give him the lead in four of his last seven starts. Washington was trying to avoid that.

Hambone hurts Rangers: But Cotts couldn't get out Hamilton. He got ahead of him with a 1-2 count, but tried to go with a high fastball away to the former Ranger, who was able to go upstairs to line a single into left field to tie the game at 2-2.

Gentry gone wild: Gentry was on base three times Sunday with two singles and a walk. He is 15-for-31 in his last nine games.

Up next: The Rangers will play the Tampa Bay Rays in a wild-card play-in game at 7:07 p.m. Monday night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Texas will go with left-hander Martin Perez (10-5, 3.55 ERA) while the Rays will counter with left-hander David Price (9-8, 3.39 ERA).

Buzz: Rangers mum on anything past Sunday

September, 29, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers aren't revealing anything about what could happen after Sunday in a wild-card play-in game or wild-card game.

Nothing about Nelson Cruz, who wasn't in the Rangers' clubhouse Sunday morning. Nothing about Monday's potential starting pitcher, which on rotation would be Martin Perez.

Not a thing.

"We don't know about anything past today," Washington said.

The Rangers probably have a good idea, they're just not going to say it until after they beat the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday. That would mean the season would go on, either Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday depending on how Tampa Bay and Cleveland do.

Washington said that everyone is available for Sunday's game, including Perez and potential Wednesday wild-card game starter Matt Garza.

Pierzynski is DH: Washington wanted A.J. Pierzynski in the lineup Sunday against a left-handed starter, so he's the designated hitter with Geovany Soto catching Yu Darvish for the fifth straight game.

"I want A.J.'s bat in there. Period," Washington said. "He's a threat."

Pierzynski is 6-for-24 with four RBIs during the Rangers' six-game winning streak. Soto has hit safely in eight of his last nine games, batting .393 with two home runs and five RBIs.

Darvish forecast: If Washington could have one wish for Darvish's start, he was asked by a reporter if he would want it to be fastball command. He offered another answer.

"I wish that the headlines be, 'Darvish dominates,' in big letters written by you," Washington said.

Washington on Game 162: For the third straight season, the major league season comes down to Game 162 with three teams -- the Rangers, Rays and Indians -- battling for two playoff spots.

It's amazing when you considered the regular season lasts six months and comes down to one day on the schedule.

"When you have the balance that the league has, it happens," Washington said. "This new format makes it exciting. If we had four division winners, it probably wouldn't be. But this gets other teams involved and sometimes you don't have to have that super year to have a chance. That's what I think the commissioner has done with this game and the format we're in. You never know what's going to happen in a one-game playoff. We proved that last year. I'd rather be in that one game than not be in it at all."

Short hops: Craig Gentry's right ankle is doing OK after it was stepped on by Angels' first baseman Mark Trumbo in Saturday's game. Gentry said he will have the ankle taped as usual as he starts for the ninth straight game in left field. ... Rangers TV broadcaster Steve Busby turns 64 today.

Lineups: Pierzynski DH; Soto catching

September, 29, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Geovany Soto is catching Yu Darvish for the fifth straight game, which means A.J. Pierzynski is the designated hitter.

Josh Hamilton returns to the Los Angeles Angels' lineup after a pinch-hit double Saturday. Here are today's starting lineups for Game 162:

2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
RF Alex Rios
3B Adrian Beltre
DH A.J. Pierzynski
C Geovany Soto
1B Mitch Moreland
LF Craig Gentry
CF Leonys Martin
P Yu Darvish

DH J.B. Shuck
SS Erick Aybar
CF Mike Trout
LF Josh Hamilton
2B Howie Kendrick
RF Kole Calhoun
1B Mark Trumbo
C Hank Conger
3B Andrew Romine
P Jason Vargas
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers finish up the regular season and hope to get a win to ensure they'll play another game when right-hander Yu Darvish faces Jason Vargas at 2:05 p.m. Sunday afternoon on Fox Sports Southwest, ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540-AM.

Darvish (13-9, 2.82): Darvish has a major league leading 269 strikeouts this season, equaling the most since Randy Johnson had 290 punchouts in 2004. ... Darvish took a no-decision in his starter Tuesday against Houston, allowing two runs in 5 2/3 innings. ... He has pitched past the sixth inning in his last two starts. ... He is 1-4 with a 3.38 ERA for his last eight starts. ... He has lost three consecutive home starts. ... He makes his fourth start against the Angels this season. ... He is 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA.

Vargas (9-7, 4.01 ERA): Vargas had a complete game shutout Tuesday night against Oakland. ... It was his second shutout this season and fifth of his career. ... Vargas gave up four its and walked one. ... Otherwise, it's been a brutal September for Vargas, who is 1-2 with a 5.83 ERA, allowing 36 hits in 29 1/3 innings. ... Vargas has a 2.89 ERA against the Rangers this season and has not recorded a decision in three starts. .... He is 4-6 with a 4.25 ERA versus Texas for his career.

Hitters: Geovany Soto is 3-for-8 with a home run and two RBIs against Vargas and should draw the start with Yu Darvish pitching. Mike Trout is 8-for-26 with three home runs and five RBIs against Darvish.



Adrian Beltre
.324 18 73 77
HRA. Beltre 18
RBIA. Beltre 73
RA. Beltre 77
OPSA. Beltre .876
WC. Lewis 10
ERAC. Lewis 5.12
SOY. Darvish 182