It’s so damn hot.
Hot in Arlington where game time temperatures are expected to be in the high 90′s or hotter throughout this series.
Hot in the AL West standings where the Angels have a chance to overtake the A’s in the near future.
Hot in the Wild Card standing where the Seattle Mariners are getting too close for comfort.
Hot under the collar of Angels fans who are getting pretty frustrated by this inexplicably flagging offense.
It’s just hot.
Milk was a bad choice.
LAST TIME ON ANGELS VS. RANGERS…
The Rangers took two of three from the Halos in early May, but the Angels have won the seven contests between these two rivals since. That makes sense though because Texas is bad now. Like, really, really bad. They actually are the worst team in baseball. Well, they are tied with the Rockies for that honor and one could argue that being that bad in the NL is worse than being that bad in the AL. The point is that Texas is really bad.
GHOST OF ANGELS PAST
The Rangers have no former Angels on their active roster, but they do still have Adrian Beltre. This story has been told time and time again, but the Rangers outbidding the Angels for Adrian Beltre might have been the single biggest contributor to the recent struggles of the Angels and recent success of the Rangers. Beltre became a perennial MVP candidate for Texas while the Angels overreacted to losing out on Beltre by making the ill-fated Vernon Wells trade. A strong case could also be made that the Angels never would’ve handed out one or both of the albatross contracts that they gave to Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton had they successfully landed Beltre. They would likely not have had the money for one or both of those players and they definitely wouldn’t have had the motivation to “prove” they could land a big name free agent either.
FRIDAY, 8/16: Garrett Richards vs. Nick Martinez
Richards has faced Texas three times this season and beaten them three times this season. He’s gotten better against them in each start, too. His last outing was seven dominant shutout innings. What Richards has done best against the Rangers is suppress their power. As a whole current Texas players have 128 plate appearances against Garrett and just two doubles, no triples and one homer. That’s it.
Matinez has faced the Angels twice. Once in long relief, the other a very solid start that he came out on the short end of. In fact, he has no-hit the Angels entire roster with the exception of Hank Conger, who has two hits against him. That only encompasses a collective 27 plate appearances, but that still doesn’t bode well for this struggling lineup. At least they’ve all seen Martinez now.
SATURDAY, 8/16: Matt Shoemaker vs. Colby Lewis
Shoemaker has really faced the Rangers just once, but it was a terrific start for him back in June when he held the Rangers to one run in 7.2 innings of work, defeating Yu Darvish.
Lewis has been almost comically inept against the Angels in his career. Even Brennan Boesch has dominated him in the past. Of more recent interest is that Lewis surrendered 13(!) runs against the Angels back in July. That bodes quite well for this struggling lineup.
SUNDAY, 8/17: Hector Santiago vs. Nick Tepesch
Santiago has just about the opposite experience against Texas compared to Richards. Hector has given up five bombs to the current Rangers roster. He lost to Texas early in the year, made a short relief appearance after that before finally earning his first win of the year in his last outing against Texas. Getting 15 runs of support was kind of a big factor there though.
Tepesch made one start against the Angels earlier in the year and just barely made the quality start cutoff.
Texas is terrible and all, but something has to go wrong at least once in this series, so I’ll only predict the Angels to win two of three.
UNOFFICIAL PREDICTION (so don’t hold me to it)
An Angels player will rub Adrian Beltre‘s head, nearly inciting a bench-clearing brawl. Cooler heads will ultimately prevail thanks to the power of dance.