Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Angels
- The Rangers went 15-4 against the Angels in 2013 and have an active five-game win streak in this series.
- Texas has grounded into a league-high 29 double plays so far this season. The Rangers finished tied for 14th in the majors in that category in 2013 (124).
- Angel batters have been quite successful jumping on the first pitch of any at bat this season. They are hitting .426 (49/115) with seven home runs on 0-0 counts; the batting average leads the majors, while the home runs are tied with the Brewers for second (Giants -- 8).
- Colby Lewis is 0-3 in his last seven starts against AL West clubs even though he has pitched pretty well in those appearances, posting a 2.95 (12/36.2) ERA and .228 (31/136) opponent average while striking out 27 and walking just six batters. One reason for his lack of success is that he received just nine runs of support over those starts (2.21 RSA).
- Mike Trout leads the majors with 14 multi-hit games so far this season, including three 2+ hit games in his last five contests. Trout batted .349 (22/63) against the Rangers in 2013, with seven multi-hit games.
- Hector Santiago is 0-4 in five starts so far in 2014. The Angels had two pitchers go winless in their first 5+ starts last season -- Joe Blanton had no wins in his first nine starts of the season while Jason Vargas went winless in his first five (streaks exclude any relief appearances).
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By JORDAN GARRETSON
(AP) -- For the slumping Texas Rangers, a matchup with the Los Angeles Angels may be exactly what they need. After dominating last season's series, they'll again look to make the Angels their punching bag Friday night in Anaheim.
Texas (15-13) has dropped four in a row after being swept in three games at home by Oakland. The Rangers were outscored 25-4 by the Athletics and totaled only 15 hits in the series.
They're homerless in six straight and Prince Fielder, batting .206 with just two home runs, is without an extra-base hit in eight consecutive contests.
"I have no choice but to stay patient until it comes," Fielder told the team's website. "I feel good so I'll keep playing hard and see what happens. I'm just up there trying to drive the ball. I haven't done it that much, that's obvious."
Adrian Beltre has hit .217 in six games since returning from a strained left quad and has no RBIs in the last five. Elvis Andrus is hitless in 14 at-bats during the four-game skid.
Aggravating their offensive issues were a season high-tying four errors in Wednesday's 12-1 defeat. Oakland took a 7-0 lead after the third, tacking on four runs after Andrus committed an error on what could have been an inning-ending double play.
"When you don't play well enough to win, you've just got to keep going," manager Ron Washington said. "We'll get back to where we were."
The Rangers may find some solace in their first matchup with Los Angeles, against which they won a club-record 15 games in 19 meetings in 2013. They had never previously beaten the Angels more than 12 times in a single year.
Texas averaged 6.1 runs in last season's series while batting .302 with 26 home runs, including Andrus hitting .475 in nine games at Anaheim. Andrus has batted .409 with 15 runs in his last 16 matchups with the Angels, while Beltre owns a 1.034 OPS with seven homers and 18 RBIs over his past 23.
Fielder is hitting .352 in 15 games against Los Angeles since joining the AL, but he'll be facing an Angels starting staff which has a 2.45 ERA in its last 10 games.
That's a major reason Los Angeles (14-13) is over .500 for the first time since starting 1-0 last season. Plus, the Angels scored at least six runs in each leg of a three-game sweep of Cleveland this week.
They're now looking for Hector Santiago (0-4, 4.44 ERA) to bounce back from a rough outing. He gave up four runs, six hits and a bases-loaded balk in 4 1-3 innings of a 4-3 road loss to the Yankees on Saturday.
Santiago is 1-0 with a 1.98 ERA in four games - two starts - against the Rangers, though they have been significantly better against lefties this season. Texas has a .777 OPS against southpaws compared to .676 against right-handers. Beltre is 7 for 19 against left-handers, while Fielder is 5 for 12 lifetime off Santiago.
Rangers starter Colby Lewis (1-1, 4.60) didn't record a decision Saturday in his third start since returning from elbow and hip surgeries, yielding three runs over five innings of a 6-3 win at Seattle. He's 4-4 with a 4.32 ERA in 14 career games against the Angels.
Los Angeles' David Freese is 7 for 20 over his last five games after totaling nine hits in his first 18. He was 8 for 23 with five extra-base hits and seven RBIs versus Texas en route to World Series MVP honors in 2011 for St. Louis.
Updated May 1, 2014