They’ll try to move closer to their fourth division crown in five years Saturday night when they continue their four-game series against the struggling Rangers.
The Angels (82-52) lead the West by 17 games over Texas (66-70) after taking the first two games of this series. They beat the Rangers 3-1 on Friday after winning 7-5 a night earlier. Those victories give Los Angeles five in seven games, while also cutting its magic number to 11.
The club has never clinched earlier than Sept. 23, which it did last year. The fewest games it ever took the franchise to nail down a division title was 153 in 1986. If the Angels can sweep the Rangers, they will have a magic number of 7 on Sept. 1.
“I’ve been on the other end of that. I’ve been 40 games out before, so I know what that feels like,” said Angels left fielder Garret Anderson, who hit a two-run homer to power a three-run sixth inning Friday.
The Angels turn to Jered Weaver (10-10, 4.38 ERA), who hopes to get some help in order to win for the first time in four starts.
The right-hander is 0-1 with a 3.44 ERA in his last three games, getting seven total runs of support in that span. He took the loss Monday, despite allowing two runs and three hits with eight strikeouts in seven innings of a 2-1 loss to Oakland.
“I threw the ball well,” Weaver told the Angels’ official Web site. “Overall, I felt good throughout the night. Even at the end I felt strong, and it’s all you can ask for.”
Weaver is 2-1 with a 2.26 ERA in eight starts against the Rangers. He’s been even better in two meetings this season, going 1-0 with a 0.69 ERA.
The Rangers hope to find a way to maintain a lead. They squandered a one-run advantage Friday to waste a lead for the 44th time this season, the most in the majors.
Texas now hopes right-hander Scott Feldman (5-5, 5.01) can win a second consecutive start after he allowed three runs—two earned—and eight hits in seven innings of Monday’s 9-4 win at Kansas City. That performance came after he went 0-2 with a 6.33 ERA while serving up seven homers in his five previous outings.
“I tried to work quick and keep a good tempo throughout the game,” Feldman said after Monday’s victory—his first since July 21. “I was really focused on hitting my spots. Nobody wants to start 1-and-0, 2-and-0 to guys. I made a conscious effort tonight to throw a strike and strike two, also. It is good to pitch well and win.”
Feldman didn’t fare well in his only career start against the Angels on July 10, giving up eight runs and six hits while walking five and hitting another batter in 3 2-3 innings of an 11-10, 11-inning loss.