Series Preview: Texas Rangers @ Anaheim Angels - Bestir

Wither Sosh? - Ed Zurga

The Rangers try to rediscover their winning ways against Anaheim as the two teams meet in California for the final time in 2013

Series Schedule:

Friday, September 6 9:05: LHP C.J. Wilson vs. RHP Matt Garza

Saturday, September 7 8:05: RHP Garrett Richards vs. LHP Derek Holland

Sunday, September 8 2:35: LHP Jason Vargas vs. RHP Nick Tepesch (or LHP Travis Blackley)

The last time the Rangers forgot how to win baseball games, the Angels came to Arlington and the Rangers hit walk-off home runs on three consecutive nights to propel the team to a 20-7 August. Before that series with the Angels began, the Rangers trailed the A's in the West by six games. Before August concluded, the Rangers held a lead over the A's by as much as 3.5 games.

Now that lead is back down to a half game and the Rangers are coming off consecutive series losses to the Twins and A's. That is to say, the Rangers could really use another Angel pick-me-up.

A part of why the Rangers were so successful against the Angels last month is they were able to run wild on the bases. In the six games the Rangers played the Angels in late July/early August, the Rangers stole 17 bases. That's an average of nearly three stolen bags per game. Leonys Martin had back-to-back three stole base games on August 6 and August 7. Elvis Andrus stole five bases in those final two games the last time these two teams played.

The Rangers won't face Tommy Hanson in this series, whom they robbed five bases off of, but they will face Garrett Richards on Saturday and they stole three bases off of him the last time they met. However, eight of the Rangers 17 stolen bases against the Angels, over that six game stretch, came against Angel relief pitchers.

It will be interesting to see what has changed over the last month, especially since the Rangers have another threat to steal in Alex Rios, and interesting to see if the Rangers will continue their unabated larceny against the Angels as they try to pad their lead once again.

Here's a breakdown of the pitching match-ups against baseball's biggest disappointment to everyone but Ranger fans:

  • Matt Garza: 9-3, 8.17 K/9, 2.34 BB/9, .271 BABIP, 76.9% LOB, 3.87 FIP, 3.65 xFIP, 1.7 WAR - Last three starts: 10 runs allowed in 20.2 innings
  • C.J. Wilson: 14-6, 8.07 K/9, 3.55 BB/9, .308 BABIP, 73.5% LOB, 3.39 FIP, 3.85 xFIP, 3.1 WAR - Last three starts: 6 runs allowed in 18.1 innings

Advantage: I'd like to believe, since C.J. Wilson is having a very good year along with the likes of Chris Sale, Bartolo Colon, and Felix Hernandez, that the Rangers will pummel him and we'll laugh like Liam Hendriks never happened. I mean, after all, the only other time the Rangers have faced Wilson this season, he allowed six earned runs in only four innings for the only time he's allowed more than three runs since July began. I'd like to believe that the Rangers have Ceej's number.

I'd like to believe that the Matt Garza of seven innings, one run, nine strikeouts against the Twins is more the Matt Garza that we'll see tonight rather than the Matt Garza of four or more runs allowed in every other start in August. I'd like to believe.

  • Derek Holland: 9-7, 8.19 K/9, 2.97 BB/9, .301 BABIP, 77.6% LOB, 3.35 FIP, 3.68 xFIP, 4.4 WAR - Last three starts: 8 runs allowed in 16.2 innings
  • Garrett Richards: 5-6, 6.48 K/9, 2.89 BB/9, .295 BABIP, 70.5% LOB, 3.60 FIP, 3.57 xFIP, 1.3 WAR - Last three starts: 5 runs allowed in 15.2 innings

Advantage: Derek Holland has suddenly run into base on balls issues. In every start over the last month, he's allowed three or more walks which culminated in allowing five walks to the A's on Monday. This drew the ire of Ron Washington who once again went out to undress Holland on the mound. Hopefully Holland takes the mound on Saturday a little pissed off but a little more in control.

Stop trying to make me think you're Jered Weaver because you look like Jered Weaver, Garrett Richards.

  • (Starter is currently TBD) Nick Tepesch: 4-6, 7.21 K/9, 2.33 BB/9, .301 BABIP, 68.5% LOB, 4.03 FIP, 3.69 xFIP, 1.3 WAR - Last three appearances (Would be Tepesch's first start since July 5): 7 runs allowed in 12.1 innings
  • Jason Vargas: 8-6, 6.31 K/9, 3.04 BB/9, .309 BABIP, 79.2% LOB, 4.13 FIP, 4.39 xFIP, 1.2 WAR - Last three starts: 6 runs allowed in 17.1 innings

Advantage: Jason Vargas probably has the advantage over Nick Tepesch simply because Nick Tepesch hasn't started a game since early July and/or Travis Blackley because Travis Blackley shouldn't have started a game since ever. When you think average American League pitcher, think Jason Vargas. If you looked up average American League pitcher in the dictionary, there'd be a picture of Jason Vargas. But don't look at the picture of Jason Vargas because he looks like a ghoul that died during a sewer cave in while getting a text message that his wife was cheating on him.

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Anaheim Angels (65-74, 3rd Place in AL West)

Rangers' Record vs. Anaheim: 10-2 (5-1 at Angel Stadium)

Anaheim's Recent Results: 2-2 home series tie against the Tampa Bay Rays

Anaheim's 2013 Home Record: 33-39

Angel Stadium Park Factors (LHB/RHB): HR: 87/84 - Runs: 97/87

SB Nation Angels Blog: Halos Heaven (Only for the lulz)

Match-up: (as of 09/06) Rangers Angels Advantage
Batting (RAR) -14.0 (12th) 45.0 (4th) Mike Trout guy is basically the 4th best offense in baseball by himself
Base Running (RAR) -5.3 (20th) 2.5 (12th) Top 20!
Starters (RAR) 68.2 51.7 It's hurtful that C.J. is the ace of the Angels
Bullpen (RAR) 57.8 (1st) 9.0 (24th) When Dane de la Rosa is your best reliever, you have problems
Defense (UZR) 29.7 (5th) -12.6 (21st) Mark Trumbo: Top defender
Overall (UZR + RAR) 136.4 95.6

Remember when the Angels were favorites?

Questions to Answer:

  • True or False: By your estimation, deep down, our old pal Josh Hamilton misses our li'l football town?
  • Who is your Return of the McLemore Approved Player to Watch in this series? (Big Bear Elvis Andrus comes back hungry for thangs to do.)
  • Over/Under: 5.5 stolen bases by Ranger players in this series?
  • What's your guess for line (IP/H/K/BB/ER) by Derek Holland on Saturday night as he looks to bounce back from a bad outing in Oakland?
  • Yea or Nay: The Rangers win their final series in Anaheim for the year 2013?
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