The Los Angeles Angels continue their push toward a playoff berth Sunday as they attempt to complete a three-game sweep when they host the Texas Rangers for the finale of their set. The Angels came away with a 7-6 win in the series opener before posting a 2-0 triumph on Saturday that put them one game behind Minnesota for the second wild-card spot in the American League.
Rookie Parker Bridwell and three relievers combined on a three-hitter while Justin Upton supplied all the offense with a pair of solo home runs for the Angels, who are 3-2 on their nine-game homestand. Texas’ postseason hopes are dwindling as the club has lost five consecutive contests and seven of its last eight. The Rangers have been outscored 37-14 during their slide and have given up 10 or more runs three times in their last seven games. Texas has dropped three straight away from home, including the first two of its nine-game road trip, as it sits five games behind the Twins in the wild-card race.
TV: 3:37 p.m. ET, FSN Southwest (Texas), FSN West (Los Angeles)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rangers RH Miguel Gonzalez (7-11, 4.86 ERA) vs. Angels RH Garrett Richards (0-1, 1.38)
Gonzalez remains in search of his first win since being acquired from the Chicago White Sox after going 0-1 with an 18.56 ERA in two outings. The 33-year-old Mexican has worked a total of 5 1/3 innings in the setbacks, allowing 11 runs and 11 hits - four homers - as his overall winless streak has reached four turns. Gonzalez is 3-3 with a 3.80 ERA in seven career starts against the Angels after a loss at Los Angeles on May 17 in which he yielded five runs on six hits and five walks over 5 2/3 frames.
Richards has given up one run and four hits in each of his two starts since returning from a five-month absence due to a strained right biceps while pitching a total of 8 1/3 innings. The 29-year-old Californian, who has recorded seven strikeouts and issued just one walk, was saddled with the loss on Tuesday after working five frames. Richards owns an impressive 9-3 record and 3.13 ERA in 20 career appearances (16 starts) against the Rangers.
1. Rangers C Robinson Chirinos has reached base safely in 29 consecutive games, the longest such streak in team history since SS Elvis Andrus posted a 32-game streak in 2012.
2. Texas OF Nomar Mazara was held out of the starting lineup Saturday due to tightness in his left quadriceps but appeared as a pinch-hitter and grounded out.
3. Los Angeles hopes to have 2B Brandon Phillips back in the lineup after he missed Saturday’s contest with lower back tightness.
PREDICTION: Angels 4, Rangers 2