Guerrero and the Angels (80-52) may prefer the new rule doesn’t come into play Thursday night when they open a three-game series with the Rangers (66-68).
Texas is technically Los Angeles’ closest pursuer in the West, but is highly unlikely to make up its 15-game deficit to the first-place Angels.
Guerrero has gone 5-for-13 (.385) with three doubles and three RBIs over the last three games, including a 2-for-5 performance in Wednesday’s 6-5 loss to Oakland.
The All-Star left fielder has been excellent against the Rangers throughout his career, batting .403 with 22 homers and 61 RBIs in 80 career games. In the last 21 meetings at Angel Stadium, Guerrero has a .438 average with five homers and 19 RBIs while drawing 12 walks.
For the first time Thursday, he could find one of his home runs up for review. Baseball’s instant replay rule will take effect for three games Thursday - this contest, the Chicago Cubs’ game against Philadelphia, and Minnesota’s game at Oakland. On Friday, the full schedule of games will have replay available for umpires to determine potential homers. Officials can only deem if the ball went over the fence, if it was fair or foul or if there was fan interference.
“There’s human mistake sometimes,” Angels center fielder Torii Hunter told the team’s official Web site. “That’s what makes this game so special.”
Angels manager Mike Scioscia appeared to be somewhat understanding of the rule.
“I think there’s a value on some plays,” Scioscia said. “It has to be a very limited application. I mean, very limited. It can’t certainly get into other plays where an umpire has a view of an out or safe call or a strike zone call or whether a fielder caught a ball.”
Scioscia will give the ball to Jon Garland (11-8, 4.49 ERA), who is 0-1 with a 7.84 ERA in his last two starts.
The right-hander was shaky Saturday, getting reached for five runs and six hits in 4 1-3 innings of a 7-5 win over Minnesota. He had lasted at least six innings in his four previous starts.
Garland is 0-2 with a 7.50 ERA in his last three starts against the Rangers. He was hit hard in his last game against them on April 6, allowing seven runs and eight hits, including two homers, while hitting two batters in a 10-4 defeat.
The Rangers are looking to extend their winning streak to four games after completing a three-game sweep of Kansas City with Wednesday’s 3-2 victory. They last won four in a row during a season-high five-game run May 6-10.
Texas hopes to have Josh Hamilton back in the lineup after he was a late scratch Wednesday because of an abscessed tooth. The center fielder is hitting .298 with a team-high 29 homers and a major league-leading 116 RBIs.
If Hamilton is unable to play, Brandon Boggs could get a second consecutive start. The rookie left fielder went 2-for-4 with a solo homer Wednesday.
The Rangers will give Brandon McCarthy (0-0, 2.25) his second start of the season. The right-hander allowed one run and three hits in four innings of Saturday’s 8-7 loss to Cleveland, just hours after being recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma.
McCarthy is 0-1 with a 5.68 ERA in three career games - two starts - against Los Angeles.