Rangers look to expand division lead

August, 28, 2011
8/28/11
12:00
PM ET
The Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers continue a three-game series in Arlington at 8 ET on Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN.

The Texas Rangers will try to extend their two-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West. Despite the small lead in the standings, the Rangers have clearly been the more dominant team.

Texas has been in first place 136 days (including off days), while the Angels have spent 25 days in first place. In addition, Texas has never been below .500 this season, while the Angels have been as many as five games under .500. The Rangers also own a run differential of +95 while the Angels is +24.

On the mound

Jered Weaver takes the hill for the Angels on three days rest for the first time in his career. He is 2-1 with a 1.86 ERA versus the Rangers this season. Weaver is 2-5 career at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The only ballpark at which he has a worse winning percentage than his .286 there (with more than one decision in that park) is Fenway Park (1-3, .250).

One of the keys for Weaver will be controlling the high-powered Rangers' offense. Their .283 batting average with runners in scoring position is the best in the AL.

Weaver has been very successful against such situations this season. He has stranded 83.7 percent of baserunners, the second-highest rate among all MLB starters, and his opponent batting average of .193 with runners on is third-best in the league.


Colby Lewis will take the mound for the Rangers. Lewis has struggled at home all season, allowing twice as many home runs at home and having a much lower strikeout rate than on the road.

In his last four starts against the Angels, he’s 0-2 with a 3.00 ERA. The Angels are 14-86 against him (.163 BA) with 24 strikeouts, nine walks and three home runs. Despite that, the Rangers are 0-4 in those four games.

The last time Lewis beat the Angels was a 12-3 win on Sept. 27, 2003.

Matchups

Elvis Andrus has had success against Weaver in the past. Andrus is 17 for 42 (.405) versus Weaver, including 10-14 this year; that’s the third-highest batting average by any active player (min. 25 at-bats) versus Weaver.


Mark Trumbo is making a case for AL Rookie of the Year.

Trumbo currently leads the Angels in home runs (23) and RBI (70), something no other Angels rookie has ever done. Additionally, Trumbo is just the sixth Angels rookie with 20 HR.

Stat of the game

The Angels have one of the best rotations in the league, ranking in the top three in key categories including ERA and WHIP. However, their bullpen has not been as strong. The bullpen has been susceptible to blowing late leads - their 21 blown saves are the most in the AL. Additionally, the team has 11 walk-off losses, second-most in the AL.

Katie Sharp and Mark Simon contributed to this story.

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