The Los Angeles Angels struck first in their key three-game series and look to win the set when they host the Texas Rangers on Saturday. Los Angeles posted a 7-6 victory in the opener on Friday, staging a five-run rally in the sixth inning to remain two games behind Minnesota for the second wild card in the American League.
C.J. Cron homered during the pivotal inning and Andrelton Simmons drove in a pair of runs for the Angels, who lead the majors with 44 comeback victories and are 2-2 on their nine-game homestand. Texas saw its losing streak reach four games as it recorded only two extra-base hits while striking out 10 times. Shin-Soo Choo belted a two-run homer and Brett Nicholas plated two runs for the Rangers, who remained five games behind the Twins in the wild-card race. Texas hopes to keep Los Angeles in check as it has allowed a total of 35 runs during its slide.
TV: 9:07 p.m. ET, MLB Network, FSN Southwest (Texas), FSN West (Los Angeles)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rangers LH Cole Hamels (10-3, 4.05 ERA) vs. Angels RH Parker Bridwell (7-2, 3.94)
Hamels ended his three-start winless streak Monday as he recorded a victory over Seattle after allowing three runs and six hits in six innings. The 33-year-old Californian registered seven strikeouts, matching the season high he set on July 31 - also against the Mariners. Hamels has made four of his 20 starts on the season against Los Angeles and posted a 2-0 record and 2.36 ERA to improve to 4-1 with a 2.87 ERA in nine career turns versus the club.
Bridwell enters with a five-game winless streak but has suffered just one loss during the drought and allowed only two earned runs on three occasions. One of those instances took place at Seattle on Sunday, when the 26-year-old rookie from Texas gave up two runs over six frames in a no-decision. Bridwell, who hasn’t won since Aug. 13 at Seattle, will be facing the Rangers for the first time.
1. Angels RHP Keynan Middleton is day-to-day after leaving Thursday’s contest with nerve irriration in his right elbow.
2. Texas OF Nomar Mazara exited Friday’s game with tightness in his left quadriceps and is day-to-day.
3. Los Angeles sent Brooks Pounders outright to Triple-A Salt Lake and traded fellow RHP Elvin Rodriguez to Detroit to complete last month’s deal for OF Justin Upton.
PREDICTION: Rangers 7, Angels 3