Texas Rangers: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Expect Albert Pujols to see off-speed stuff

May, 11, 2012
5/11/12
2:51
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- When Yu Darvish faces Albert Pujols for the first time Friday. ESPN Stats & Info expects Darvish to throw Pujols something other than fastballs. Here's part of that thinking:
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ESPNDallas.com's Richard Durrett helps us understand exactly what we saw in Baltimore from Josh Hamilton and the complications of his contract negotiations.

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Darvish has many pitches, including two different curveballs. Almost 15 percent of Darvish’s pitches this season (98 of 661) have been curveballs, and opponents are hitting just .059 against it. That’s the lowest batting average this season against a pitcher who has thrown at least 75 curveballs.

Darvish has been tough on right-handed hitters this season (.196 BA, 9-46), which does not bode well for the struggling Albert Pujols.

Based on the numbers, Pujols can expect to see a heavy diet of off-speed pitches from Darvish. Pujols is hitting .239 against fastballs and .125 against off-speed pitches (changeups, curves, sliders).

As good as Darvish is against righties, left-handed bats have teed off on his fastball. Left-handed batters are hitting .457 against his heater, another reason why the Angels might see a lot of off-speed pitches from Darvish.


There's lots of good C.J. Wilson-Darvish stuff in the complete post here.

Matchup: Yu Darvish vs. C.J. Wilson

May, 11, 2012
5/11/12
8:45
AM CT


ARLINGTON, Texas -- Friday's first game of a three-game series between the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels features Yu Darvish and C.J. Wilson. The game is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. on TXA21 and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. A look at the matchup:

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Coop and Nate break down Friday's anticipated matchup between Yu Darvish and C.J. Wilson.

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Darvish (4-1, 2.54 ERA): This is the seventh start for Darvish, who is 3-1 with a 1.62 ERA in his last five starts, dropping his ERA from its high of 7.94 to 2.54. ... He has four straight quality starts and has pitched at least 5 2/3 innings in each start of his brief big league career. ... He has three consecutive games with at least nine strikeouts. The only other Rangers to do that were Nolan Ryan (four times) and Jim Bibby (once). ... His last outing was his first big league loss as he gave up four runs (three earned) in six innings with 11 strikeouts and four walks against Cleveland. ... The 11 strikeouts were a career-high and he's just the third Texas rookie to have at least 11 K's and the first since Bobby Witt (1986). ... This is his first start vs. LAA and his third home start. He's 2-0 with a 3.21 ERA in Arlington and has 12 consecutive scoreless innings at home.

Wilson (4-2, 2.61 ERA): The 31-year-old has six straight quality starts to begin the 2012 season. ... He gave up two runs on six hits with three walks and nine strikeouts in eight innings in a win over Toronto on Saturday. It was his longest outing of the season and the longest since Sept. 11, 2011. ... The former Ranger will be pitching against his old team for the first time. ... He has 39 strikeouts and 15 walks this season and opponents are batting .184 off him. ... In his career at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Wilson is 27-14 with 25 saves (he was a reliever before switching to the rotation prior to the 2010 season) in 172 games (38 starts) with a 3.89 ERA. But none of those 379 1/3 innings came as the visitor.

Hitters: Only four current Rangers have ever faced Wilson. Adrian Beltre is 7-for-19 with three doubles, a homer and three RBIs and Mike Napoli is 4-for-18 with a double and a homer. ... Josh Hamilton does have one at-bat off Wilson and he struck out. ... None of the Angels have faced Darvish.

Up Next:

Sat. vs. LAA: LHP Matt Harrison (4-2, 5.11) vs. RHP Jerome Williams (3-1, 3.38), 12:10 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FOX
Sun. vs. LAA: RHP Neftali Feliz (2-1, 3.38 ERA) vs. RHP Jered Weaver (5-0, 1.60), 7:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/ESPN

Yu Darvish looking forward to facing Angels

May, 11, 2012
5/11/12
12:01
AM CT


BALTIMORE -- Yu Darvish joked that the media forced an answer out of him about facing the Los Angeles Angels and going up against C.J. Wilson, the former Texas Rangers pitcher that Darvish essentially replaced this offseason. But the Japanese star did admit he was ready to pitch against the Angels in front of a sellout crowd Friday night.

PODCAST
Mark Saxon, the Angels beat writer for ESPNLA.com, gives his perspective on the AL West and this weekend's Angels-Rangers series. Also, how is C.J. Wilson fitting in the Angels clubhouse?

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"Obviously, C.J. Wilson is a very good pitcher in this league and I have high respect for him and the team and I am looking forward to pitching against them," Darvish said through interpreter Joe Furukawa.

Darvish is coming off his fourth straight quality start, though his command wasn't quite as sharp as it was in his two previous starts before that one against the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees. Darvish gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits in six innings with 11 strikeouts and four walks in a loss to the Cleveland Indians on Sunday.

Darvish has continued his normal routine between starts as he prepares for Albert Pujols and the Angels.

"I'm still going to prepare for that start like I always do and see the video and during the game I'll make adjustments and go from there," Darvish said.

Darvish called Josh Hamilton's four-homer night "amazing" and said he's glad Hamilton is on his team.

"I've seen some big games and big performances by players, but regarding hitters, this was the top," Darvish said.

Week ahead: Camden Yards, LAA at home

May, 7, 2012
5/07/12
8:00
AM CT
BALTIMORE -- The Texas Rangers have seven straight games the next week (Monday through Sunday), and all but one of them -- Saturday's game in Arlington vs. the Angels -- are at night. They play a four-game series at Camden Yards against the Baltimore Orioles before welcoming C.J. Wilson, Albert Pujols and the Angels for a three-game series in Arlington. A brief look ahead:

* For the past few weeks, Baltimore and Tampa Bay have been battling for the top spot in the AL East. The Toronto Blue Jays are in third, meaning the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are at the bottom of the division, though no one is running away with it at this point.

* The four games in Baltimore ends a 10-game, 11-day road trip for the Rangers. When they return home, they'll play seven games against three different teams (three games vs. LAA, two vs. Kansas City, two vs. Oakland).

* The Rangers will see some former teammates in Baltimore. Former manager Buck Showalter is the skipper for the Orioles, and first baseman Chris Davis is batting .299 and has five homers this season. He had an interesting Sunday, getting his first big league win as a pitcher. Yes, a pitcher. Read about that here. Tommy Hunter is 2-1 with a 5.00 ERA, and relievers Pedro Strop and Darren O'Day are also on the roster. Endy Chavez is also on the team, so it has a Texas flavor.

* The Rangers are expecting big crowds -- likely sellouts -- for all three of the games against the Angels. If you're coming, get to the park early. If the rotations hold, C.J. Wilson would face Yu Darvish on Friday night, which should be a neat atmosphere in Arlington. Darvish got his first big league loss on Sunday in Cleveland.

* The Angels will get the benefit of an off day onThursday before the series vs. Texas this weekend. LAA plays Minnesota for three games at Target Field before the off day in Texas.

* Will Albert Pujols heat up prior to arriving in Texas? He's struggled this season, but finally hit his first home run of the season on Sunday. Will that be the jolt he needs to start heating up?

* Adrian Beltre had a pinch-hit HR on Saturday in Cleveland and appears closer to getting back in the lineup every day. Look for him to make his mark in Baltimore.

History says Angels unlikely to catch Texas

May, 2, 2012
5/02/12
8:00
AM CT


The Texas Rangers finished April with a nine-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. So what does that mean after just the first month of the season?

Well, only two teams have managed to make up that ground and win the division after being that far behind when April ended. A look (thanks to Elias Sports Bureau):

1987 Detroit Tigers: 10 games back
2006 Minnesota Twins: 9 games back
2003 Minnesota Twins: 8 games back

It's certainly not impossible. And with the additional wild card team, the Angels could make the postseason. But history suggests the odds are long on winning the division for LAA.

Notes: Matt Harrison won't start vs. Angels

March, 23, 2012
3/23/12
4:06
PM CT
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Texas Rangers starter Matt Harrison will stay on his normal schedule and pitch Saturday. But it won't be against the Los Angeles Angels in Surprise Stadium.

Harrison is slated to pitch in a minor league game, in which he'll throw 80 pitches in five or six innings. The 26-year-old lefty told the club that he didn't mind facing the Angels.

"It's not like they haven't seen me," Harrison said. "But the coaches told me it wasn't about that. They'd prefer, since we're stretching out to five innings, that we do it in a minor league game where we can throw exactly the amount they want and not worry about having to change pitchers in the middle of an inning or anything like that. I'll just get my work in."

Yu Darvish, whose normal day is Sunday, won't pitch against the Angels in Tempe that day, either. He will throw to Rangers minor leaguers in Surprise Stadium. The Rangers don't see any reason to allow some of the Angel regulars to see Darvish before the regular season. Plus, they can monitor the Japanese pitcher's progress in a more controlled environment.

It appears unlikely that C.J. Wilson will pitch against his former team Sunday, either. The Rangers and Angels continue to play a little hide-and-seek, setting up for another competitive series of games in 2012. The first time the two teams meet in the regular season is May 11-13 in Arlington.

Other notes:

* Neftali Feliz threw a long-toss session Friday and said he felt good. Feliz said his shoulder felt a little tight Thursday when he had a long-toss session, and that was probably why the club decided to hold off on a bullpen session and let him long-toss again Friday. He is scheduled to throw a bullpen Saturday.

Assistant GM Thad Levine admitted that Feliz's Monday start "is in question" and it seems likely the club will back off him for a few days. He can continue to throw bullpens to keep his arm strength up and give him a chance to make sure everything is OK before he proceeds. But as of now, the club hasn't made any announcements about his schedule.

Check out the perks in Albert Pujols' deal

January, 6, 2012
1/06/12
7:21
PM CT
The details of Albert Pujols' contract with the Angels were revealed this week and they include some interesting perks:

* Four season tickets for the life of his contract (that's the 10-year, $240 million contract, of course)
* A hotel suite on road trips
* A luxury suite at the ballpark for the Pujols Foundation, his charitable group, for 10 home games a year
* The right to buy a luxury suite between first base and third base for all home games

More from the ESPN.com story:



Los Angeles' offer to Pujols surpassed St. Louis' offer by more than $40 million. Pujols played his first 11 seasons with the Cardinals.

The Angels' deal was so complicated that it includes three separate agreements: His playing contract, a marketing deal and an agreement to enter a 10-year, personal-services agreement following the playing contract's expiration or Pujols' retirement, whichever is later. That will pay $1 million annually, but because it is contingent on Pujols actually working for the team, it is not considered guaranteed money for the purposes of baseball's luxury tax.


Did Pujols help Angels land Wilson?

December, 30, 2011
12/30/11
9:23
AM CT
ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick writes that Albert Pujols agreed to backload his lucrative contract to help the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim land free agent pitcher C.J. Wilson.

Part of Crasnick's story:
Pujols agreed to a backloaded deal -- taking significantly less money in the first two years -- to aid the Angels in their pursuit of free agent pitcher C.J. Wilson, baseball sources told ESPN.com.

Pujols will make a base salary of $12 million in 2012 and $16 million in 2013, said a source. His salary will gradually increase until it surpasses $30 million annually near the end of the deal.

By agreeing to take less money up front, Pujols helped the Angels sign Wilson, who reached agreement on a five-year, $77.5 million deal three weeks ago. Wilson, who went 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA and finished sixth in the American League Cy Young Award balloting, will combine with Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana to give Los Angeles one of baseball's most formidable starting rotations.

Sources said Pujols' deal could peak at about $265 million if he attains some reachable award bonuses and milestone incentives. A source confirmed a recent Yahoo! Sports report that Pujols will receive $3 million from the Angels for his 3,000th hit and $7 million if he breaks Barry Bonds' career record of 762 home runs.
Click here to read the whole story.

Do you fear the Angels lineup now?

December, 17, 2011
12/17/11
1:58
PM CT
We've talked on this blog about how the Rangers might approach Albert Pujols and manager Ron Washington has made it clear that he'll do what he can (like walk him) to prevent Pujols from beating the Rangers by himself.

But the key to the Angels' success is the rest of the lineup and if someone steps up to offer protection for Pujols so that managers and pitchers pay for bypassing Pujols and pitching to others. Mark Saxon wrote about it recently on the ESPNLosAngeles.com blog and listed the candidates that could protect Pujols. Here's part of Saxon's blog:
First up in the search for a hitter behind Pujols: Kendrys Morales, who mashed 34 home runs and 43 doubles in his breakout 2009 season before a fractured left ankle cost him nearly two seasons. The Angels aren’t banking on his return, but they’re sure hoping for it.

“One thing that sets us up really well is if Kendrys Morales can come back, just his presence from the left side,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “Right now, with a player like Albert, there are really only two ways to protect him: One is getting guys on base in front of him. Another is having some depth behind him, because he gets on base a lot.”

At first, it seemed that Morales’ return was less important when the Angels signed Pujols. Now, it could be paramount. If Morales is healthy and the Angels can squeeze him and Mark Trumbo into their lineup (Morales as designated hitter and Trumbo at third base or left field), they would have five players in their lineup capable of hitting 30 home runs.

It could be the difference between having a lineup as deep as the powerhouses of the league -- Texas, Detroit, Boston and New York -- and having a massive drop-off following the No. 3 hitter. Even after signing perhaps the best hitter alive, the offense could be the biggest question mark heading into 2012.

Angels cleanup hitters last season had a .739 OPS (on-base plus slugging), good for 10th in the AL. Their leadoff men had a .325 on-base percentage, seventh-best in the league.

Pujols walked 115 times in 2009. After the Holliday deal, he averaged 82 walks in each of the next two seasons. His lifetime OBP (.420) is .054 points higher than the Angels’ OBP leader last season, Alberto Callaspo.
David Schoenfield at ESPN.com's Sweet Spot took a look at the entire Angels lineup.

Finding suitable protection for Pujols and some production in the rest of the lineup will be critical for the Angels as they try to track down the Rangers. Pujols gives them a big boost. No doubt. But he'll still need help.

Angels introduce Pujols, Wilson

December, 11, 2011
12/11/11
8:00
AM CT
It was called a press conference, but seemed more like a rally in Anaheim as a crowd estimated at more than 4,000 showed up when the Angels introduced Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson in front of Angel Stadium. Our colleague, ESPNLosAngeles.com's Mark Saxon, was there. Here's part of his column:
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- At 11:50 a.m. Pacific time Saturday morning, Albert Pujols pulled on a red Los Angeles Angels cap and launched the most ambitious chapter in franchise history.

More than 4,000 fans showed up at Angel Stadium Saturday for the official introduction of the superstar first baseman along with pitcher C.J. Wilson, the free agent pickups -- together with reliever LaTroy Hawkins -- from a one-week spending spree of more than $330 million by Angels owner Arte Moreno.

Fans chanted, "Thank you, Arte!"

Yet even Moreno acknowledged, "In a perfect world, he's a Cardinal," in deference to Pujols' 11 seasons in St. Louis, where he won three MVP awards, two World Series titles and became a civic icon. The Angels swooped in on Wednesday at baseball's winter meetings, offering Pujols a 10-year, $254 million contract that surpassed the Cardinals' offer by more than $40 million. They shocked many baseball observers by then also acquiring Wilson from the division-rival Texas Rangers.

"We just wanted to keep our hands in the cookie jar, but I didn't want it to be a situation where I was disrespectful to the Cardinals in trying to run up the price," Moreno said.

Pujols, who attended the press conference with his wife, Deidre, and son, Albert Jr., said it was a difficult, emotional decision, one he didn't reach until about 7:30 a.m. Thursday morning.
You can read the rest here.

Jon Daniels talks offseason with Ben & Skin

December, 9, 2011
12/09/11
11:37
AM CT
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels talked with "The Ben and Skin Show" on ESPN 103.3 FM on Friday. A few things:

* Daniels knows the Angels improved their club on Thursday: "The Angels got better yesterday certainly in the short-term and a decent chance long-term, though the nature of the longer-term commitments is they have ups and downs."

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Rangers GM Jon Daniels dishes on the deal the Rangers offered C.J. Wilson, potential offseason acquisitions and more.

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* Did he expect the Angels to make a move like Albert Pujols?: "No. Not really. I was not really expecting that. Anything can happen at any point. What I was expecting is that the Angels would be aggressive in getting better. I didn't see them spending that kind of money. They were, and in some ways still are, the class of the division with us for a number of years. They are a very competitive group, new leadership there and an owner who's in a big market with serious revenue streams and decided to step out and do what they did.

"Just like all of our fans, we're hoping it backfires on them, buti n the short term it probably won't," Daniels said, with a slight chuckle.

* On C.J. Wilson: "We were very interested in bring C.J. back, but ultimately we weren't going to go past four years. We weren't real, real comfortable with pitching contracts, period, beyond that term." Daniels said the club has talked about doing it before and may again, but at this point aren't comfortable with that.

"We hoped like the the fans that if he wasn't going to be back here, he'd be in Miami or the National League or anywhere but the Angels," Daniels said. "That's not our call."

* Daniels said he believes that had the club matched the Angels' five-year offer that Wilson would have returned. But they weren't in that range.

* He reiterated that the club won't let others dictate how it does its business. "We don't believe in making reactive moves or investments we're not comfortable with to keep someone from landing with the opposition. We don't think that's wise.

"Games are played on the field over the course of the summer. They are not played out in board rooms in December. We like our club as we sit today."

* Daniels didn't get into any details on other free agents available, but was asked about Prince Fielder. "He's a fit for everybody on the field, it's a matter how he fits with all the other things -- payroll and things of that nature. We're looking at every possibility to get better. There's not a player off the board or who isn't still out there that we haven't conversations about how they fit on and off the field."

* Daniels stressed the club still believes in Mitch Moreland and that his injured wrist made evaluating him last season difficult.

* On re-signing Josh Hamilton: "We'd welcome a chance to have Josh under contract past this year. He's been a huge part of what we're doing. He's one of the most unique guys in the game in a number of ways -- background, his story, the way he impacts a team. He's a presence in the lineup that is very difficult to find and match, plus he's a premium defensive player and our community rally around him."

Live in-game chat: Rangers at Angels

September, 28, 2011
9/28/11
6:00
PM CT
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- It's the final regular season game of the year and there is still plenty to play for tonight. So let's talk about it while we watch. The room is now open for you to ask some early questions and participate in polls. We'll start talking around 7 p.m. or so.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 4, Angels 3

September, 27, 2011
9/27/11
12:10
AM CT


ANAHIEM, Calif. -- The Texas Rangers beat the Los Angeles Angels, 4-3, ending Los Angeles' hopes at a longshot wild-card berth and allowing Texas to keep in front of the Detroit Tigers in the race for home-field advantage in the ALDS. The Rangers are one game up with two to play but must finish ahead of Detroit as the Tigers have the tiebreaker. Some quick thoughts on tonight's game (more to come from the clubhouse soon):

* Michael Young was 1-for-3 and his now hitting .338 on the season. He delivered as he seems to do with runners in scoring position (hitting .376 with RISP), getting an RBI single in the eighth to give the Rangers an insurance run. He's now five points behind Miguel Cabrera, who was 3-for-5 to push his average to .343. Adrian Gonzalez stayed at .338.

* C.J. Wilson pitched just two innings Monday and threw 38 pitches. He didn't give up any runs and left four runners stranded in scoring position. Wilson finishes the season with a 2.94 ERA. He had two walks and no strikeouts Monday, but ends up with 206 Ks in 223 1/3 innings, a career-high and by far the most on the team this season. He didn't have best stuff Monday, but was a horse all season.

* Wilson's ERA (2.94) is the 7th-lowest in team history and the best since Nolan Ryan's 2.91 ERA in 1991.

* Mistakes by Angels catcher Jeff Mathis led to a Ranger run in the first. Ian Kinsler singled and then a passed ball got him to second. When Elvis Andrus bunted, Mathis threw wildly to first, allowing Kinsler to score and Andrus to get to second. Starter Dan Haren did a nice job of getting out of the inning after that.

* Andrus, after getting two straight days off, looked refreshed and ready Monday. He was 4-for-5 with a double and three singles. The four hits tie a career-high for Andrus (he's done it seven times).

* Adrian Beltre continued his power surge. His 2-run homer in the fourth made it 3-0 Rangers. It was his 11th homer in his last 14 games and his 6th in the last 8 games. He has 31 homers on the year, tying Kinsler for the team lead.

* Darren Oliver struggled. The lefty couldn't get an out when he came in with one on and two outs in the sixth. He gave up an infield single to Alberto Callaspo, a single to left by Mike Trout and then walked Erick Aybar and Bobby Abreu. The Angels scored on the Abreu walk. LAA made the decision to pinch-hit with a left-handed hitter despite a lefty in Oliver on the mound and it worked as Abreu drew the walk.

* Koji Uehara continued his solid September. He got out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth by getting Maicer Izturis to pop up to first. And he came back out for the seventh and got a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts. He has allowed just one run in his last 9 outings (1 ER in 6.1 IP) with 11 Ks. He's got lots of confidence.

* Mark Hamburger pitched well Monday in relief. He came in for the third inning and allowed one run on two hits with three strikeouts and one walk in 3 2/3 innings.

* Mike Adams needed just 12 pitches to get a strikeout and all three outs in the eighth.

* Washington wanted to get Neftali Feliz some work and got a chance in a tight game. He came in and gave up a single to Aybar, who went to second on a passed ball. After getting the next two batters, Peter Bourjos singled to score Aybar and make it 4-3. But Feliz struck out Howie Kendrick to end the inning.

Live in-game chat: Rangers at Angels

September, 26, 2011
9/26/11
8:13
PM CT
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Join us for a live in-game chat as the Rangers take on the Angels. We'll certainly keep an eye on the Cowboys, but there's still plenty to play for in this baseball season for Texas. The room is now open for you to post some early questions and participate in polls. Join us!

Scouting the opponent: Angels

September, 26, 2011
9/26/11
2:00
PM CT


ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Mark Saxon, our good friend from ESPNLosAngeles.com, sizes up this three-game series by updating us on the Angels. Here goes:

Q: What's the attitude right now in the clubhouse? Are the Angels surprised that while the division is over, they still have a lot to play for in these final three games?

MS: No, they're kind of just rolling with it. They weren't playing very well for a while, losing games to mediocre teams, but they got the wheels back on, it appears. We all knew these games would be big, right? We just didn't know why.

PODCAST
Rangers president Nolan Ryan joins GAC to chat about clinching the AL West and much more.

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Q: Since Mike Scioscia decided to go with Jered Weaver and Ervin Santana on short rest, how have they done? Do you see a difference because of it and looking back now, do you think it was the right decision?

MS: He did it a second time with Weaver when the Angels were in Baltimore. That looks like a sound decision now because it will get Weaver another start, on Wednesday. It's hard to say how it will play out in the long run. Weaver has already thrown more innings than ever in his career and his fastball velocity is down, but he's still been effective. The Angels will be thrilled if that Wednesday start means something.

Q: Did you notice anything about Mark Trumbo since the big walkoff homer that helped get the Angels going? Has that been a springboard for him?

MS: Trumbo was voted by the players as the team MVP, for good reason. He leads the club in home runs and RBIs. But he has been struggling lately, in part because he is playing on an injured right ankle. I wouldn't be surprised if he misses Monday night's game.

Q: How has the Angels bullpen performed?

MS: Generally, it has performed poorly. It leads the league in blown saves. Some of that falls on the offense, which rarely gives the relievers more than a one-run lead to protect. The closer, Arlington native
Jordan Walden, has been quite good lately. The setup guy, Scott Downs, has been virtually flawless. Beyond that, it's a quagmire. Fernando Rodney started the season as the closer, moved to the eighth inning,
then mop-up man and, now, he never pitches. Lately, he has been grumbling about his role to anyone who will listen, which apparently doesn't include Mike Scioscia.

Q: Give us a quick scouting report on how the big-3 arms are doing. The Rangers are scheduled to see all of them this series.

MS: Gee, Richard, I would think that by now you'd know who Santana, Haren and Weaver are. The interesting thing about the latter two is that they're pitching well with radically reduced fastball velocity. Weaver's average fastball has been about 88 mph in September. He used to throw 94. Haren has had a similar drop. Both guys have excellent command and secondary pitches. Santana has been a little more up-and-down, but generally stout. He throws harder and has a nasty slider.

Q: Anything else we should know about the Angels?

MS: Have you seen the tiebreaker for a three-way tie in the wild card? This is a long way from happening, but if it did, the Angels could have to play in Anaheim Wednesday night, at Boston Thursday, back in Anaheim Friday and in New York on Saturday. Sounds fun, huh? Compared to the alternative, I guess it is.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Colby Lewis
WINS ERA SO IP
10 5.18 133 170
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .324
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182