The Los Angeles Angels have long brought out the best in Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre, and that trend has continued during this week’s series at Angel Stadium. After giving up three homers to the slugger in the past three days, Los Angeles may tread lightly around Beltre on Thursday in the finale of a four-game series between the two American League wild card contenders.
Beltre blasted two solo homers in Wednesday’s 7-5, 10-inning victory as the Rangers won for the seventh time in their last 10 contests and moved two games behind Minnesota for the AL’s second wild-card spot. Beltre has 45 homers and 158 RBIs in his illustrious career against the Angels, who have dropped two of the first three games of the series and sit one-half game back of the Twins. Los Angeles third baseman Luis Valbuena, who belted his 10th home run since the All-Star break and had four RBIs on Thursday, figures to remain in the lineup even when Yunel Escobar (oblique strain) returns next week. “Escobar is obviously going to play third,” manager Mike Scioscia told reporters. “We’ll move some guys around and get bats in the lineup that we think are going to help us. I don’t think it’s going to be a bad thing when you have some depth materialize.”
TV: 10:07 p.m. ET, FSN Southwest (Texas), FSN West (Los Angeles)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rangers LH Martin Perez (8-10, 5.26 ERA) vs. Angels RH Troy Scribner (2-0, 3.46)
Perez received ample support Saturday against the Chicago White Sox and won his third straight start despite allowing six runs over six innings. The 26-year-old has gone 3-4 with a 6.86 ERA in his last seven starts since July 19. Kole Calhoun is 4-for-19 against Perez, who is 2-4 with a 3.53 ERA in 10 career games (nine starts) against Los Angeles, including 1-3 with a 5.47 ERA in four outings at Angel Stadium.
Scribner will be recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake to start in place of JC Ramirez, who is out indefinitely with a right elbow strain. The 26-year-old rookie made his second career start on Aug. 9 against Baltimore, allowing one run with no walks over five frames in a 5-1 victory. The younger brother of Seattle reliever Evan Scribner, Troy owns an 11-4 record and 4.35 ERA in 20 games (19 starts) for Salt Lake this season.
1. Texas has gone 2-8 in its last 10 games when not hitting a home run.
2. Angels OF Ben Revere, who left Tuesday’s game after fouling a ball off his leg, is expected to miss Thursday’s series finale but could return this weekend.
3. Texas INF Joey Gallo (fractured nose) said he expects to be activated from the seven-day concussion list when eligible Tuesday.
PREDICTION: Rangers 7, Angels 5