(Updated: UPDATING: Adding Angels’ acquisition of Phillips in PARA 2 and Rangers’ acquisition of Gonzalez in WALK-OFFS)
Texas will host its first baseball game since Hurricane Harvey caused unprecedented and catastrophic flooding in the southeastern portion of the state. The Texas Rangers return from splitting a 10-game road trip to provide the honors on Friday, when they open a three-game series against the American League West-rival Los Angeles Angels.
Shin-Soo Choo extended his hitting and run-scoring streaks to five contests on Thursday afternoon in a 5-1 setback against Houston at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. The 35-year-old South Korean is 8-for-24 with two homers, five RBIs and eight runs scored during that stretch and went 7-for-17 as Texas won three of four from Los Angeles on Aug. 21-24. While the Rangers trail Minnesota by four games for the second wild-card spot in the AL, the Angels find themselves 1 1/2 behind the Twins after erupting for 21 runs in a sweep of Oakland earlier this week to split their 10-game homestand. Los Angeles did its best to improve its club without taking the field on Thursday as it provided some offensive support for Mike Trout by acquiring All-Star outfielder Justin Upton from Detroit and second baseman Brandon Phillips from Atlanta.
TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, FSN West (Los Angeles), FSN Southwest Plus (Texas)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Angels LH Tyler Skaggs (1-4, 4.25 ERA) vs. Rangers LH Cole Hamels (9-2, 3.78)
Skaggs saw his winless streak reach six outings on Saturday as he allowed five runs for the second straight trip to the mound in a no-decision versus Houston. The 26-year-old owns an 0-3 record and 4.56 ERA in his last five starts (25 2/3 innings) and fell to 2-2 with a 5.66 ERA in seven career appearances against Texas after permitting five runs in 5 1/3 innings of a 5-3 setback on Aug. 21. Choo is 5-for-7 and Elvis Andrus is 6-for-14 versus Skaggs, who has kept Rougned Odor (0-for-10) and Carlos Gomez (0-for-6, five strikeouts) under wraps.
Hamels enjoyed a 5-0 stretch over his previous six starts before getting shredded on Saturday for six runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings of an 8-3 setback at Oakland. The 33-year-old looks to return to his winning ways versus Los Angeles, against which he posted dominant outings on July 7 and Aug. 21 to improve to 4-1 with a 2.47 ERA in eight career turns. Hamels has handcuffed Trout (2-for-15, six strikeouts), Andrelton Simmons (4-for-30) and Kole Calhoun (3-for-21, 10 strikeouts) in his career.
1. Los Angeles DH Albert Pujols recorded a hit in all four games of his team’s recent series against Texas, registering a homer and four RBIs.
2. Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre is expected to have an MRI on Friday after straining his left hamstring while fielding a ground ball in the seventh inning of the series finale versus Houston.
3. Angels LF Ben Revere is riding a five-game hitting streak into the series but is just 4-for-20 this season against Texas, which acquired RHP Miguel Gonzalez from the Chicago White Sox on Thursday night.
PREDICTION: Rangers 4, Angels 3