Rangers-Angels Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated July 19, 2012
Jered Weaver's only loss this season came on the road to the Texas Rangers back in May. It figures to be a different story in Anaheim, where he's never lost to Texas. The Los Angeles Angels ace looks to improve to 8-0 at home against the Rangers on Friday night to start a three-game set between the AL West's best teams. Weaver (11-1, 2.26 ERA) is 6-0 with a 1.63 ERA in eight starts since giving up a season-high eight runs over 3 1-3 innings in a 13-6 defeat to Texas (55-36) on May 13. That contest was in Arlington, however. Weaver is 6-0 with a major league-best 0.58 ERA in seven 2012 home starts, and he's 7-0 with a 2.23 ERA in 12 at home against the Rangers. Los Angeles (50-43) has won his last nine home outings in this series. The right-hander wasn't at his best Sunday, although he won his fifth straight start, 10-8 over the Yankees. Weaver gave up five runs with a season-high three homers over seven innings after entering with 20 2-3 scoreless innings. The Texas hitter who has given Weaver the most trouble is shortstop Elvis Andrus, who owns a .429 average against him. That's the fifth-best mark for hitters with at least 20 at-bats. Both teams are in playoff position. The Rangers lead the West by six games over the Angels, who are on top of the wild-card race. "Yes, it's a significant series, significant in that they can either catch up or we can move ahead," Texas manager Ron Washington said. The teams have split six meetings with 13 remaining. Former Angels catcher Mike Napoli is 8 for 18 with six runs in the season series and Nelson Cruz is 10 for 24 with two homers, one off Weaver. Rookie of the Year candidate Mike Trout is 10 for 24 with seven RBIs for Los Angeles. Albert Pujols (3 for 19), Erick Aybar (2 for 16), Alberto Callaspo (3 for 20) and Torii Hunter (1 for 17) have all struggled. The Angels return home after capping a 2-5 road trip with Thursday's 5-1 loss to Detroit. "We just need to kind of catch our breath a little," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We haven't played well out of the (All-Star) break and we've got to get our groove back." The Rangers have played twice in the previous four days, splitting a series in Oakland on Tuesday and Wednesday. Josh Hamilton is mired in a 4-for-31 slump with 10 strikeouts and two home runs for his only extra-base hits in that span. He still leads the majors with 78 RBIs to go with his 28 homers. Derek Holland (6-4, 4.57) will make his first 2012 start against the Angels. He's 4-3 with a 4.76 ERA in nine starts versus them. Callaspo is the Angels' best hitter against the left-hander with a .389 average. Holland earned last Friday's 3-2 win at Seattle with 7 2-3 scoreless innings, improving to 4-1 with a 2.58 ERA in six road starts. Pujols' only previous at-bats against Holland came when he went 0 for 4 in last year's World Series.
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