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Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Rangers 7, Angels 3: Three Up, Three Down

By Mark Saxon

Tyler Chatwood
Tyler Chatwood had his shortest outing of the season Tuesday in a loss to the Rangers.

ANAHEIM -- So far, the showdown for the AL West has been more like a slapdown.

The Texas Rangers pounded the Angels 7-3 Tuesday and they've now scored 15 runs in the first two games of this series, grinding through the Angels' bullpen. Rookie Tyler Chatwood lasted just two innings Tuesday, a day after Garrett Richards' injury forced him out in the first.

The Rangers' No. 5 starter, Derek Holland, dominated the Angels until he grew weary in in ninth inning. The Angels now trail Texas by six games with two games left in this series.

The Good:

Arrival gate. Trevor Bell and Horacio Ramirez had to get up at the crack of dawn to fly from Salt Lake City to Orange County after they were promoted to give the Angels some fresh arms, but they stayed alert enough to do the job. They combined for what would have been a decent start -- five innings, two runs -- if it weren't mop-up work.

Torii's health. Torii Hunter won't say it, because he's old-school and it's considered bad form to blame injuries for poor performance. But you can tell his legs weren't entirely sound in the first half because of the way he's running now. He extended his hitting streak to 14 games with two hits, one driving in a run, and he made a diving catch to take a double away from Nelson Cruz.

Top option. Mike Scioscia has never had a true leadoff guy this year and his options have been dwindling lately with Erick Aybar in a major rut. Maybe Peter Bourjos is becoming that guy? He was batting .175 in the leadoff spot entering Tuesday, but he singled in his first two at-bats and drove in the Angels' first run.

The Bad:

Chatwood's aim. It's a shaky feeling to have a rookie starting a big game. Chatwood reverted to some bad habits -- falling behind in counts and walking batters -- as he allowed five runs in two innings. It was his shortest start of the season and broke up a roll of fairly solid outings. The Angels took a risk having the back end of their rotation open this series and it has backfired.

Big kid. A lot of people clamored for Mark Trumbo to move up in the lineup. He is, after all, leading the Angels in home runs and RBIs. But so far, his shift northward hasn't worked out well. Trumbo is batting just .200 in the No. 5 spot, including his RBI double in the ninth that glanced off Michael Young's glove.

The alternative. A little patience with Trumbo might be in order, as the guy who was batting in the five-hole, Vernon Wells is hitting .203 for the season and is actually having his worst month (.149) in a season full of bad ones. Wells has gone hitless in six of his last 10 starts.