Los Angeles (78-68) at Texas (74-72)

Fair Currently: Arlington, TX
Temp: 40° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Thu Sep 14, 2006
  • TV: FSW, FSSW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

In a season series punctuated by bad blood, beanballs and suspensions, the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers begin a four-game series at Ameriquest Field on Friday.

Trouble between the teams began Aug. 6, when Texas’ Adam Eaton was ejected in the first inning for throwing at the Angels’ Juan Rivera after Garret Anderson hit a three-run homer. Tensions rose quickly when the teams squared off again later in the month in Texas.

On Aug. 15, the Rangers’ Vicente Padilla was tossed for hitting two batters and nearly plunking a third in only 3 2-3 innings.

The next night, things finally boiled over. Angels pitcher Kevin Gregg and Brendan Donnelly received ejections for hitting Michael Young and Freddy Guzman, respectively.

In the ninth inning, Angels second baseman Adam Kennedy charged the mound and touched off a bench-clearing brawl after being drilled by reliever Scott Feldman.

Major League Baseball gave Feldman the most severe penalty, a six-game suspension, while Padilla got five games and Rangers manager Buck Showalter four.

Kennedy, Gregg and Donnelly each were suspended four games, Angels skipper Mike Scioscia was banned for three games and Angels bench coach Ron Roenicke one.

Despite all that, Showalter said he doesn’t expect any more flare-ups in this series in the clubs’ first meeting since the brawl.

“I’m not anticipating anything,” he said. “It’s not something that anybody is proud of and everybody has too much to lose.”

Los Angeles (78-68) is still in the running for a playoff spot, trailing AL West-leading Oakland by 5 1/2 games, but needs to rediscover its offense. The Angels have managed only 11 runs in going 2-3 in their last five games.

On Wednesday, they were held without a baserunner for 7 2-3 innings by Chicago’s Freddy Garcia before Kennedy singled in a 9-0 loss.

“You just start to think about trying to get some momentum for tomorrow,” Kennedy said.

The Angels are 7 1/2 games back in the wild-card race.

Los Angeles’ Kelvim Escobar (10-13, 3.57 ERA) will make his third start of the season against the Rangers on Thursday. He lost the first two outings, posting a 5.91 ERA.

The right-hander is 2-7 with a 4.18 ERA in 27 career appearances—nine starts—against Texas.

Escobar is 2-4 in his previous six starts, but has pitched well in his last three outings. He has a 1.57 ERA over that span despite going 1-2, as the Angels managed only three total runs in those games.

“It’s tough. I’ve got to be patient and wait for my next turn and keep doing what I’m doing,” Escobar said. “I know I’ve pitched well enough to have a better record than I have.”

Texas (74-72) returns home after an 11-3 win over Detroit on Wednesday, earning it a split of a two-game series with the AL Central leader. Gary Matthews Jr. hit for the cycle, joining Mark Teixeira and Oddibe McDowell as the only Rangers to do so.

“It’s special,” said Matthews, who singled, doubled, tripled and homered in that order. “Everything lined up tonight. To go out and have days like this is really just the icing on the cake.”

Edinson Volquez (1-4, 6.75) will try to avoid losing his fourth straight start for Texas.

The rookie right-hander earned his first win by limiting Seattle to four hits over seven scoreless innings in a 5-4 win Aug. 12. Since then, he’s lasted 9 1-3 innings in three outings with an 11.58 ERA over than span.

Volquez allowed eight baserunners in 1 2-3 innings Sept. 2, giving up six runs in a 6-5 loss to Cleveland.

“He’s wild in the strike zone,” Showalter said. “He elevated a lot of balls, and his breaking ball hasn’t been very consistent. That’s the equalizer.”

The Angels lead the season series with the Rangers 7-5.

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Starting Pitchers

K. Escobar NYM vs. E. Vólquez Pit
11-14 Record 1-6
3.61 ERA 7.29
147 K 15
50 BB 17
1.28 WHIP 2.07

Scoreboard

Thursday, Sep 14