Texas Rangers: Mike Trout

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Derek Jeter will make his final appearance in Texas as a professional baseball player Wednesday night.

Jeter has morphed into a beloved figure during his 19-year career with the New York Yankees, and there is one man who will take special notice of the pregame ceremony at Globe Life Park and how he handles himself: Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus.

[+] EnlargeDerek Jeter and Elvis Andrus
AP Photo/Ralph LauerRangers shortstop Elvis Andrus looks up to Derek Jeter for his professionalism on and off the field.
Andrus doesn't wear No. 2 like Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki does. He's not a kid from Jersey who gets wide-eyed just talking to Jeter like is the case for the Angels' Mike Trout.

Andrus is a 25-year old shortstop from Maracay, Venezuela, who idolized Jeter for his professionalism on and off the field. He tries Jeter's signature jump throw from short when the moment fits during games.

If Jeter is the symbol for what a baseball shortstop is supposed to look like, then Andrus wants to be that.

"I think he's a perfect role model for any player, the way he handles himself on the field, especially the way he handles himself away from the field," Andrus said. "He's never been in trouble, he knows how to handle media, especially playing in New York. I can only image how much pressure he has every single day. He's a guy as soon as he steps on the field you can see how professional he is and the thing is everybody on the field respects him, and that's something really hard to earn."

From an intimate space, Andrus learned more about the game playing beside the now-retired Michael Young and Omar Vizquel. Each told him about leadership in a clubhouse and becoming a positive influence on the field.

You see Andrus' attempts at this every night. Any pop fly that hangs over the shallow portions of left field turn into a sprint between Andrus and the left fielder.

Andrus believes he's responsible for handling that.

While he might defer to veteran third baseman Adrian Beltre on pop flies hovering near third, it is Andrus who has emerged as the future of this infield.

Yes, there are younger players waiting for their chance in this organization. Yu Darvish and Beltre are the leading men for this franchise.

But Andrus is trying to make this his team, and particularly turn into the captain of the infield and one day perhaps be the leader of his team like Jeter in New York.

"That's what you strive to be," manager Ron Washington said. "It's not numbers you're striving to be, it's the way you carry yourself. It's character. [Jeter's] personality, his attitude, his commitment to the [game]. Having him around, that makes people realize their goals. That's intangibles. Those are things you can't teach. You can't buy that anywhere. I don't care how much money you got."

Andrus remembers meeting Jeter for the first time at the 2010 All-Star Game. Andrus didn't want to sweat Jeter, so he tried to be smooth.

"I was OK, 'That's my idol, I don't want to push him, bother him,' but he was super cool," Andrus said. "He's a guy you could ask him whatever, and he's willing to help you. No matter who you are, whether you're a rookie or a veteran, he's going to treat you the same way. And that's what you learn from guys, and no matter how big of a baseball player he is, the way he handles himself is he stays humble all the time."

Jeter said he's fortunate and humbled by the pregame ceremonies and the chats he conducts with teammates and players of opposing teams. He knows there are young players trying to be like him.

"I got a chance to play against him," Jeter said of Andrus. "He's fun to watch and play against, and to watch him play, see him develop, see him improve and get to know him a little bit. Talk to him, and it's one of the things I enjoy doing, especially at All-Star Games. You get an opportunity to meet all sorts of personalities, and I've always enjoyed watching him play here in Texas."

Top stats to know: Rangers beat Yankees

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29
1:07
AM CT

Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsYu Darvish was able to hold the Yankees offense to 2 solo homers by Brett Gardner in a win Monday.
The Texas Rangers were able to overcome a two-run deficit by scoring four runs in the fifth inning to beat the New York Yankees. Here are the top stats you need to know about Monday’s game.

Gardner owns Darvish
Rangers’ starter Yu Darvish was able to withstand a big game from Brett Gardner, who launched two home runs off of him. After picking up three hits in four plate appearances Monday, Gardner is now 5-11 in his career against Darvish in 12 plate appearances. Four of those five hits are home runs.

Gardner’s four home runs are tied for the most that Darvish has given up to any player in his career. The others to take the Rangers ace deep that many times are Mike Trout and Brandon Moss.

Darvish limits the damage
Darvish improved to 3-1 in his career against the Bronx Bombers. In 31 1/3 innings against Darvish, the Yankees have lived up to that nickname by hitting six home runs. Unfortunately for New York, all six of those home runs have been solo shots.

Monday, Darvish threw a strike on 74 percent of his pitches, the highest strike rate of his career. He also locked in when there were men on. With the bases empty, the Yankees were 7-17 (.412 BA) against him. With men on, Darvish held the Yankees to two singles in 12 plate appearances.

Jeter passes Yaz
Derek Jeter also had a big game, going 3-4 to give himself 3,420 career hits. That allowed him to pass Boston Red Sox Hall-of-Famer Carl Yastrzemski for seventh-most all-time in MLB history. Next up, and likely the only other player Jeter will pass on the list, is Honus Wagner who currently has 10 more hits than Jeter.

Did you know?
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Dennis Martinez and Mike Morgan are the only two pitchers to allow a hit to both Derek Jeter and Carl Yastrzemski in their careers.

Martinez is the only one to allow a homer to both.

One mistake enough to doom Tepesch

July, 11, 2014
Jul 11
11:44
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- From the 90 pitches Nick Tepesch delivered, he classified only one as a mistake.

That miss turned into a 418-foot home run by Mike Trout in the fourth inning. And a run was all Los Angeles Angels pitcher Garrett Richards and the Angels' bullpen needed.

[+] EnlargeNick Tepesch
Rick Yeatts/Getty ImagesNick Tepesch gave the Rangers a well-pitched game, but one mistake cost him in a loss.
Tepesch's effort went for naught in a 3-0 loss by the Texas Rangers. In six innings, he was charged with six hits and three earned runs. He didn't issue a walk.

"I felt like I did a pretty good job," the 25-year-old right-hander said. "I made that one mistake to Trout."

The Angels added insurance with two runs in the seventh. Tepesch (3-5) gave up singles to Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Erick Aybar to produce the second Los Angeles run. Another run charged to Tepesch scored on a base hit off reliever Neftali Feliz.

"In that last inning, I thought they made good swings on pretty good pitches," Tepesch said.

Manager Ron Washington was pleased with Tepesch's effort.

"Tepesch pitched extremely well and did what we need him to do," Washington said. "It was a good thing to see. He threw one pitch he'd like to get back."

It was misfortune for Tepesch that he came up against Richards, who improved to 11-2.

"He had a heck of a game and is having a great year," Tepesch said.

Texas went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

"Our guys are working as hard as I am," Tepesch said. "There will be days when I give up runs and they'll have to pick me up again."

Said Washington: "Richards was better than we were tonight. It's tough when you have to face a guy like him. He has tremendous stuff. We just couldn't do it tonight."

Notes: The manager said the team looked "more engaged" in the wake of Thursday's clubhouse meeting. "And we finally got a well-pitched game." ... Rangers designated hitter Shin-Soo Choo went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. He also struck out three times Thursday. Washington said Choo probably is pressing because of his competitive nature. "But he's been around the game long enough to handle it," the manager said.

W2W4: Angels at Rangers

July, 10, 2014
Jul 10
12:00
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers host the Los Angeles Angels for a four-game series beginning at 7:05 p.m. CT Thursday at Globe Life Park.

While the Rangers are in a tailspin with 18 losses in their past 21 games, the Angels have won eight of 10 and are 16 games over .500.

This is the Angels' first of three visits to Arlington this season. The two previous series between the clubs were played in Anaheim. The Rangers won two of three in early May and were swept in three games this past month.

Keep an eye on:

* Mike Trout is putting together an MVP-type of season, with .303 batting, 20 home runs and 64 RBIs. Rangers pitchers actually handled Trout well in the first six meetings this season and limited him to three hits in 22 at-bats.

* Since being promoted to the Rangers on Monday, Jake Smolinski has rapped out five hits for a .500 batting average in two starts. The Rangers are in position to look at young players, and so far Smolinski is taking advantage.

* Former Ranger Josh Hamilton comes to Arlington in a hitting slump -- batting .120 over the last week. Hamilton's power numbers (five homers, 22 RBIs) have been reduced in part because of a thumb injury that has limited his season to 42 games so far.

* Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre has a 13-game hitting streak after two more hits Wednesday, which raised his average to .336. At Globe Life Park, Beltre is batting .371.

* Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick is 14-for-30 in his past eight games, which raised his batting average 17 points to .289. Against the Rangers this season, Kendrick is batting .318.

Lineups: Garza set for return of Trout

September, 26, 2013
9/26/13
6:13
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout had the day off Wednesday against Oakland, but he was back in the lineup against the Rangers and Matt Garza on Thursday night at Rangers Ballpark as the teams square off for the final four games of the regular season.

Trout, a leading candidate for American League MVP, struggled on the Angels' recent homestand, going 2-for-17, thus the day off.

"He can find it with one swing," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Trout before Thursday's game. "Hopefully he will.

Trout has a career .351 batting average against the Rangers, so Garza and their pitchers know what to expect. Here are the lineups for Thursday's game:

RANGERS
2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
RF Alex Rios
3B Adrian Beltre
C A.J. Pierzynski
1B Mitch Moreland
LF Craig Gentry
DH David Murphy
CF Leonys Martin
P Matt Garza

ANGELS
LF J.B. Shuck
SS Erick Aybar
CF Mike Trout
DH Josh Hamilton
2B Howie Kendrick
RF Kole Calhoun
1B Mark Trumbo
C Chris Iannetta
3B Andrew Romine
P Jerome Williams
The Rangers try to even their series with the Los Angeles Angels when left-hander Derek Holland faces Halos right-hander Garrett Richards at 8:05 p.m. Saturday night on FSSW and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and Deportes 1540 AM.

Holland (9-7, 3.07): Holland is winless in a season-high five consecutive starts. ... He is trying to join Kenny Rogers as the only Rangers lefties with three consecutive 10-win seasons. ... Holland allowed three earned runs in 4 2/3 innings in his second-shortest start of the season Monday at Oakland and is 1-1 with a 2.63 ERA in his last six starts. ... Holland is 7-2 with a 2.99 ERA in 15 road starts. ... He has a 5.79 ERA this season against the Angels and hasn't recorded a decision in three starts.

Richards (5-6, 4.06): The 25-year-old right-hander allowed one run in five innings in an 11-2 victory over Tampa Bay on Monday. He had a career-high seven walks in the start but got out of two bases-loaded jams. ... Richards has been in and out of the rotation, making 12 starts out of his 42 appearances. ... He is 3-2 with a 3.88 ERA at home. ... Richards is 3-2 with a 3.02 ERA since the All-Star break and has a 4.70 ERA in 7 2/3 innings against the Rangers this season.

Hitters: Mike Trout is 9-for-22 with two home runs and six RBIs against Holland. Elvis Andrus is 3-for-10 with two RBIs against Richards.

W2W4: Rangers-Angels

August, 5, 2013
8/05/13
12:10
PM CT
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.

PODCAST
Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss Nelson Cruz accepting his 50-game suspension for using PEDs.

Listen Listen
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.

Perez shuts down Trout, Angels

July, 31, 2013
7/31/13
10:42
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Want to know how well rookie Martin Perez pitched Wednesday night?

Mike Trout was 0-for-3 against him. It was a hidden key in the Rangers' 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels that ultimately was won in the bottom of the ninth on Adrian Beltre's walk-off home run.

[+] EnlargeMartin Perez
Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesMartin Perez was the hidden key in the Rangers' win Wednesday.
Trout reached base in all 10 of his plate appearances in the first two games of the series, going 6-for-6 with four walks. The Angels' All-Star center fielder grounded out to first and flew out twice to right field against Perez.

What was Perez's secret?

"Throw strikes," Perez said. "Throw fastballs. When he doesn't have a runner in scoring position, he doesn't swing at first pitch, so I attacked him early."

Perez concentrated on slowing down the game against the Angels' hitters. He had rushed and let the game get away from him in his previous start, allowing seven runs in 3 1/3 innings Saturday in Cleveland.

Perez allowed a run in 7 1/3 innings Wednesday night, and that came on a home run by Josh Hamilton that tied the game in the top of the seventh. And Perez didn't make a mistake there -- Hamilton was able to hit a fastball that was down in the strike zone.

Hamilton got Perez once. Trout didn't, and the Angels' offense was in neutral.

"He's really hot right now," Rangers catcher Geovany Soto said of Trout. "We just tried to get the ball down, and hopefully he gets himself out and keep him off the bases. That's a big part of their offense."

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 2, Angels 1

July, 31, 2013
7/31/13
9:42
PM CT


 
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers walked off again. Adrian Beltre slammed a 2-2 pitch off Los Angeles Angels reliever Michael Kohn over the left-field fence for a 2-1 victory, the Rangers' third walk-off win in three nights.

The Rangers moved within four games of the Oakland Athletics in the American League West.

Beltre does it: Beltre cranked his 23rd home run of the season, hammering a fastball and creating another home plate celebration at Rangers Ballpark.

Perez rebounds: Left-hander Martin Perez pitched a tremendous game, allowing a run in 7 1/3 innings. The lone run scored in the top of the seventh when he tried to get a first-pitch fastball by former Ranger Josh Hamilton. Hamilton crushed it over the center-field fence to tie the score at 1-all. Perez allowed four hits and walked two. He had four strikeouts and needed only 95 pitches to work into the eighth inning.

Cruz homers again: Nelson Cruz crushed his 25th home run of the season with two outs in the bottom of the second to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. The home run to left field traveled 389 feet. Cruz has feasted on Angels starter Jerome Williams during his career. Cruz has four home runs and 10 RBIs against him.

On Hamilton: Hamilton's home run was his longest of the season at 442 feet, according to ESPN Stats & Information. In his career with the Rangers, Hamilton hit 20 home runs at or past that distance at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, seven more than anyone else over that span (Nelson Cruz, 13).

Outs on the bases: The Rangers could have had more than a 1-0 lead after three innings if not for three outs on the bases. Leonys Martin probably shouldn't have taken a risk on Elvis Andrus' bloop single to right field and was called out at third base (Martin did appear to slide under the tag of Angels third baseman Chris Nelson). Right after that, Andrus was picked off first base by Williams. In the third inning, catcher Geovany Soto was picked off second base with runners at first and second and no outs.

Andrus extends streak: Andrus extended his hitting streak to a major league-best 13 games with his single in the first inning. Andrus also walked in the bottom of the eighth. He has reached base in 26 of his 28 games.

Murphy/Moreland update: Manager Ron Washington singled out David Murphy and Mitch Moreland as two hitters the Rangers need to get going for the final two months of the season. Murphy, who had a pinch hit Tuesday, was 0-for-3 with a strikeout Wednesday. Moreland was 1-for-3 with a single in the third inning.

Scheppers bounces back: Tanner Scheppers had a tough outing Tuesday night, but he came back Wednesday night and picked up two crucial outs with the go-ahead run at second base. Scheppers got Collin Cowgill to ground out to first, then after an intentional walk of Mike Trout, he struck out the slumping Mark Trumbo.

Better against Trout: Trout had reached base in all 10 plate appearances in the series entering Wednesday, but Perez shut him down. Trout was 0-for-3 with a tapper in front of home plate and two fly balls to right field.

Up next: The Rangers were scheduled for five consecutive Thursdays off in August, but they will play a makeup game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday night with an early start of 6:05 CT. Right-hander Yu Darvish (9-5, 2.80 ERA) gets the start for the Rangers while the Diamondbacks have changed starters and will go with right-hander Zeke Spruill (0-0, 2.08). Thursday's game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540-AM. The Rangers will then head out for a 10-game road trip, starting with three games against AL West-leading Oakland.

Matchup: Martin Perez vs. Jerome Williams

July, 31, 2013
7/31/13
1:30
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers go for a three-game sweep against the Los Angeles Angels when left-hander Martin Perez faces Halos right-hander Jerome Williams at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday night on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and Deportes 1540 AM.

Perez (3-3, 4.37): Perez tries to turn around a rough stretch where he has allowed four earned runs or more in three consecutive starts. He is 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA during the stretch as his season ERA has gone from 2.08 to 4.37. ... Perez took a no-decision in an 11-inning loss at Cleveland on Friday. He allowed a career-high seven runs (six earned) on eight hits in three innings. ... Perez is 3-2 with 4.28 ERA in his seven starts since being recalled from Triple-A Round Rock on June 22. ... He is 1-1 with a 1.96 ERA in three home starts. ... Perez has faced the Angels once, pitching in relief and allowing two singles in a scoreless inning.

Williams (5-7, 4.85): Williams, who has also pitched out of the bullpen for the Angels, makes his 15th start and third appearance against the Rangers this season. Williams has five shutout innings against Texas in his first two appearances. ... For his career, he is 1-0 with a 6.68 ERA against the Rangers, but he did win his only career start against Texas. ... Williams has allowed at least four earned runs in each of his last five start and is 0-4 with a 12.50 ERA July starts. ... Williams allowed four earned runs in five innings against Oakland on Friday.

Hitters: Nelson Cruz (9-for-15, 3 HRs, 9 RBIs) and Adrian Beltre (8-for-18, 1 HR, 4 RBIs) have worn out Williams. The current Angels are 1-for-3 against Perez. Mike Trout has a single.

Leonys Martin dreamed about a walk-off hit

July, 31, 2013
7/31/13
12:59
AM CT


ARLINGTON, Texas -- Believe it or not, Leonys Martin saw this one coming.

Him up in a crucial moment. Game on the line. And on Tuesday night, he delivered.

Needing just a fly ball to win the game, Martin instead went the dramatic route, lining a three-run home run over the left-field fence for the Texas Rangers' second walk-off win in two nights over the Los Angeles Angels, this time an improbable 14-11 victory.

[+] EnlargeLeonys Martin
AP Photo/Jim CowsertThe Rangers celebrated at home plate again.
"It's the biggest moment that I have had in my whole career," Martin said. "Last night I had a dream like that because of the game last night. I dreamed about it."

The Rangers trailed by a run entering the bottom of the ninth inning and got down to their last out. Geovany Soto, who had a walk-off home run for Monday's 4-3 victory, had hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth to put his team within 11-10 and in position to rally against Angels closer Ernesto Frieri.

Frieri, who blew Monday's game, did it again. He allowed a two-out walk to Ian Kinsler. With the count at 0-1, Kinsler stole second base. It put Adrian Beltre in an 0-2 hole, but it didn't bother him. Beltre lined a single past Angels third baseman Tommy Field to tie the game.

That set the stage for Martin, after closer Joe Nathan worked around a walk to Mike Trout in the top of the 10th.

Mitch Moreland, who snapped out of an 0-for-23 slump in the eighth inning with a single, drew a walk to open the bottom of the 10th inning. So did Soto. David Murphy hit a slow roller to third base, but the Angels were able to get only a force play at second base for the first out.

With the winning run at third, Martin was looking to put the ball in play.

"I didn’t want to hit a ground ball," he said.

Well, he didn't. He smoked a 1-2 fastball just over the left-field wall, creating another Rangers celebration at home plate. It's the first time they've had walk-off wins in consecutive games since 1981.

The Rangers gained ground on the Oakland Athletics for the first time since June 27, moving within five games of the first-place A's in the American League West. The Rangers won back-to-back games for the first time since July 8 and 9 in Baltimore.

"We never quit," manager Ron Washington said.

He hopes that's a theme for the rest of the season.

W2W4: Rangers-Angels

July, 29, 2013
7/29/13
9:52
AM CT


ARLINGTON, Texas -- Josh Hamilton is hardly the focus this time around as the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels renew acquaintances in Arlington.

No, this time it's about an anemic Rangers offense. The trade deadline. Albert Pujols.

And then maybe Hamilton's second return to Arlington.

Here's what to watch for as two rivals who were supposed to be closer to first place in the American League West at this point in the season meet up:

PODCAST
Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzimmons and Durrett to discuss the Matt Garza trade and if the Rangers are done shopping before the deadline.

Listen Listen
1. No Pujols: Don't look for Pujols. He won't be around, maybe not for the rest of the season for the Angels. Pujols suffered a partial tear of the plantar fascia in his left foot Friday night in Oakland and was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday. He is expected to be out at a minimum of six weeks. Considering the Angels' huge investment in Pujols and that they are all but out of the AL West race, it might best serve them to focus on getting their slugger healthy for 2014 and beyond. The Angels are still on the hook for eight years and $212 million with Pujols after this season. The 33-year old Pujols has been hobbled all season with the painful foot injury -- you might have noticed the way he was running the bases in the first series between the clubs back in April. Pujols is batting .258 with 17 home runs and 64 RBIs, so his production will be missed in the Halos' lineup.

2. Trade deadline: Will the Rangers acquire a bat or two? Are the Angels sellers? The backdrop to this series will be Wednesday's trade deadline. Media reports over the weekend had the Angels being "open for business," with shortstop Erick Aybar, second baseman Howie Kendrick and others available to be discussed. Left-handed reliever Scott Downs, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, is an attractive trade piece. Obviously, young superstar Mike Trout will not be dealt. But how about Hamilton's mega contract? Surely the Angels would discuss getting out from under that bad contract. Kendrick, a reliable hitter, is an interesting trade piece making $9 million in 2014 and 2105. The Rangers are rumored to be looking for one or two hitters to add to their slumping offense, but now six games back of Oakland after a rotten week, general manager Jon Daniels and company may decide to hold on to prospects and try to win with the players currently on the roster. Engel Beltre anyone?

3. Rangers offense: The numbers during the Rangers' ugly 2-13 stretch are depressing. They've scored 2.4 runs, the lowest average in the majors. There's a .232 batting average, 26th in baseball, and a .621 OPS (which combines on-base and slugging percentages), which is third-worst in the majors. Don't let the starting rotation off the hook -- they have a 5.18 ERA in the last 15 games, also third-worst. The bullpen has a 2.31 ERA during the span -- seventh-best in baseball -- but Joe Nathan's blown save last Tuesday against the Yankees gets worse with each passing day.

4. Now to Hamilton: Hamilton the fourth storyline? Actually, yes. Mostly because he's having a season to forget, one that got off to a brutal start and has now included minor injuries that have forced him to miss seven games. Hamilton enters Monday batting .223 with 15 home runs and 43 RBIs. He appeared to be getting out of a slump, but July has suddenly turned into a bad month. He's hitting .205 with a .234 on-base percentage. His strikeout percentage of 29.9 is his worst of any month this season. He's also chasing more pitches than ever -- 44.7 percent for July.

5. C.J. on a roll: C.J. Wilson will start Tuesday night for the Angels. The former Ranger has been very good for the struggling Halos. He is 7-1 in his last eight starts with a 1.96 ERA. Wilson has gotten control of his pitches -- he hasn't walked more than three batters in any of the eight starts after struggling with his command early in the season.

Matchup: Derek Holland vs. Joe Blanton

April, 22, 2013
4/22/13
1:30
PM CT
The Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels meet up again Monday night to start a three-game series in Anaheim. Rangers left-hander Derek Holland faces right-hander Joe Blanton in the opener at 9:05 p.m. on FSSW and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM.

Derek Holland (1-1, 1.64): Holland is one of the hottest starting pitchers going in the American League. He is third in the AL with a 1.64 ERA, trailing Boston's Clay Buchholz (0.90) and Tampa Bay's Matt Moore (1.00). ... Holland earned his first victory in his last start Tuesday night at Chicago, throwing seven shutout innings with the temperature in the 30s at Wrigley Field. It was the second time in 93 career starts that Holland went seven innings or more and allowed no more than two hits, the other coming against Boston in 2011. ... He has gone at least seven innings in each start, allowing two earned runs or less, joining Buchholz and the New York Mets' Matt Harvey as the only starters to do that. ... Holland is 7-5 with a 5.36 ERA in 17 games (14 starts) vs. the Angels. ... He has steadily improved against the Angels, going 2-0 with a 4.79 ERA in his last three starts against the Halos. ... He is 4-3 with 4.81 in his career in Anaheim.

Joe Blanton (0-3, 8.59): Blanton, making his fourth start, is off to a rocky beginning with his new team. ... He lost in his last outing, allowing four earned runs and nine hits in a loss at Minnesota on Monday. ... Blanton has given up 26 hits in 14 2/3 innings, including six home runs -- the second most in the American League. ... He hasn't lasted more than five innings in his three starts, giving up at least four earned runs in each outing. ... Opposing batters are hitting .377 against Blanton. ... Blanton is 6-4 with a 4.89 ERA in 13 games (12 starts) against the Rangers, most of them coming when he was with the A's from 2005-08. ... He spent the last six seasons in the National League with the Phillies and the Dodgers.

Hitters: Several Angels hitters have good numbers against Holland, including Alberto Callaspo (12-for-34, 5 2Bs, 1 HR, 5 RBIs), Mike Trout (6-for-17, 2 HRs, 5 RBIs) and Howard Kendrick (14-for-41, 2 HRs, 10 RBIs). Adrian Beltre (13-for-48, 4 2Bs, 7 RBIs) has been the Rangers' best hitter against Blanton.

Week ahead: Angels, Twins

April, 22, 2013
4/22/13
8:04
AM CT
The Rangers opened a three-game series Monday at their American League West rivals, the Los Angeles Angels. The focus this time around should be the second of six series between the teams, not Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton. The Rangers finish the week with a four-game series in frigid Minnesota.

Here are some things to watch for:

  • Rangers atop the West: The Rangers moved back into sole possession of first place Sunday by a half-game after their sweep of the Seattle Mariners, which coincided with the A's losing three straight to the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rangers are 9-4 against AL West rivals Seattle and Los Angeles.

  • Angels on the move: The Angels, off to another brutal start at 7-10, have won three consecutive games after Mark Trumbo's walk-off home run Sunday completed a sweep of Detroit. The Angels are 14-25 in April over the last two seasons, but they may have turned a corner with Sunday's emotional win over one of the American League's preseason favorites.

  • Trumbo, Trout heating up: Third-year player Trumbo and reigning AL Rookie of the Year Mike Trout have the Angels' offense at the top of the American League in batting average. Trumbo has reached base in all 17 games and has hits in 15 of them. His walk-off homer against Tigers reliever Phil Coke was his second of the season. Trout has 13 hits in his last seven games, raising his batting average to .307. He also had two stolen bases Sunday, giving him three for the season.

  • Improved Twins: The Twins have won four straight after Josh Willingham's three-run double in the seventh inning gave Minnesota a 5-3 victory and a two-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox. The Twins moved above the .500 mark at 8-7 and are a game behind first-place Kansas City in the AL Central.

    Mauer starts strong: Twins catcher Joe Mauer is in his familiar spot among the AL leaders with a .375 batting average, sixth best in the AL. Rangers DH Lance Berkman is right in front of him at .378. Mauer has two home runs, seven RBIs and has a .437 on-base average -- Berkman leads the AL with a .509 on-base average.
  • Lineups: No adjustments for Rangers

    April, 6, 2013
    4/06/13
    12:13
    PM CT
    ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers go for their second straight win over the Los Angeles Angels and their fourth win in a row overall when left-hander Matt Harrison takes the mound against the Angels' Tommy Hanson. The Rangers rallied for a 3-2 victory in the series opener Friday in Josh Hamilton's return to Texas. You can listen to the game on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. First pitch is at 3:05 p.m. Here are the lineups:

    RANGERS
    Ian Kinsler 2B
    Elvis Andrus SS
    Lance Berkman DH
    Adrian Beltre 3B
    David Murphy LF
    Nelson Cruz RF
    A.J. Pierzynski C
    Mitch Moreland 1B
    Leonys Martin CF

    ANGELS
    Mike Trout LF
    Erick Aybar SS
    Albert Pujols DH
    Josh Hamilton RF
    Mark Trumbo 1B
    Howard Kendrick 2B
    Alberto Callaspo 3B
    Chris Iannetta C
    Peter Bourjos CF

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    TEAM LEADERS

    WINS LEADER
    Yu Darvish
    WINS ERA SO IP
    10 3.06 182 144
    OTHER LEADERS
    BAA. Beltre .323
    HRA. Beltre 17
    RBIA. Beltre 65
    RA. Beltre 64
    OPSA. Beltre .879
    ERAY. Darvish 3.06
    SOY. Darvish 182