The Angels had dropped five straight—their worst skid since last April— before Tuesday’s 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who sit in last place in the AL East.
It was Anaheim’s first win since the All-Star break, prior to which the Angels had won five straight and 12 of 16.
“I haven’t noticed the frustration level getting to the point where I think we’re carrying one tough game to the next,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “We’re good at turning the page.”
Now the defending World Series champions hope Tuesday’s win and this two-game set against the Rangers, mired in the AL West basement, can spark a hot streak to boost their playoff hopes.
Garret Anderson has done his best to help that cause. The Home Run Derby champion and All-Star game MVP has hit safely in a season-high 14 straight games, batting .407 (22-for-54) with 14 RBIs during that span.
Anderson is hitting .362 (17-for-47) with 11 RBIs in 11 games against Texas this season.
Those numbers are typical for many of the AL’s better hitters, considering the Rangers own the worst team ERA in baseball at 6.05.
Texas pitchers were ripped for at least 10 runs for the 20th time this season Tuesday, losing 12-6 to the Baltimore Orioles. It was the Rangers’ seventh loss in nine games.
One bright spot from that defeat was Alex Rodriguez, who went 4-for-5 to record his first multihit game since July 5. Rodriguez, however, has gone homerless in 10 straight games and has just 22 this season, putting him on pace for 36. He had 52 in 2001 and 57 last year.
This contest will see Rafael Palmeiro play in his 1,513th game as a Ranger, breaking Jim Sundberg’s club record.
STANDINGS (through July 21): Angels - 3rd place, 9 1/2 GB, AL West. Rangers - 5th place, 25 1/2 GB, AL West.
ANGELS PROBABLE STARTER: Jarrod Washburn (8-9, 4.37 ERA). The left-hander is 2-0 in four starts this month despite posting a 5.06 ERA. He’s given up at least four runs in six of his last seven outings. Washburn is 1-1 in two starts against Texas this year, but has pitched poorly in both outings, allowing 10 runs in 13 2-3 innings. He is 6-2 with a 3.70 ERA lifetime against the Rangers.
RANGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Ismael Valdes (7-7, 5.85 ERA). When he last faced Anaheim at The Ballpark in Arlington, Valdes had his best start of the year as he struck out a season-high seven in eight innings of a 4-0 win on April 14. In his other two outings against the Angels this year—both at Edison Field— Valdes is 1-1 with an 8.10 ERA. The right-hander has lost five of his last six starts, but pitched well in his latest appearance, giving up a run and six hits over seven innings in Friday’s 2-0 defeat at Tampa Bay.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Angels - Anderson, .321, 23 HRs and 85 RBIs; Anderson, Tim Salmon and Troy Glaus, 53 runs; David Eckstein and Adam Kennedy, 11 SBs. Rangers - Michael Young, .322 avg. and 9 SBs; Juan Gonzalez, 24 HRs and 70 RBIs; Rodriguez, 63 runs.
SEASON SERIES: Rangers, 6-5.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Angels - RHP Brendan Donnelly has thrown 12 1-3 consecutive scoreless innings of relief, walking one and striking out 16. … CF Darin Erstad is a career .121 hitter (4-for-33) against RHP Valdes. … 3B Glaus sat out Tuesday after leaving Monday’s game with a bruised right shoulder. His status for Wednesday is uncertain. Rangers - 1B-DH Palmeiro is 4-for-24 (.167) lifetime against LHP Washburn. … 2B Young, the Rangers’ leadoff hitter, has 19 RBIs in 18 games this month. … CF Doug Glanville is batting .486 (17-for-35) over his last eight games.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Angels - 21-28 on the road; Rangers - 23-27 at home.
INJURIES: Angels - 3B Glaus (shoulder), day-to-day; 1B Brad Fullmer (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Mickey Callaway (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Matt Wise (elbow), 60-day DL. Rangers - OF Kevin Mench (wrist), 15-day DL; RHP Chan Ho Park (oblique), 15-day DL; RHP Ricardo Rodriguez (hip), 15-day DL; RHP Jeff Zimmerman (elbow), 60-day DL; INF Herbert Perry (shoulder), 60-day DL; OF Rusty Greer (neck), 60-day DL.