With the majors’ top hitter still sidelined, the Rangers continue their 10-game trip Wednesday when they try to avoid getting swept by the Los Angeles Angels.
Seven games ahead of Oakland with 12 to play, Texas (83-67) is nearly certain to make its first postseason appearance since 1999. The Rangers, though, have stumbled since a seven-game winning streak gave them a 10-game cushion last Wednesday, dropping four of the first five on their current trip while averaging 2.4 runs.
“We’ve just got to put a couple of runs across the plate when we get a chance, and everything else will take care of itself,” manager Ron Washington said after his team managed five singles in Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat.
The Rangers, whose magic number remained six, could use Hamilton’s bat in the lineup. It is uncertain how the slugger will respond to anti-inflammatory and epidural nerve-block injections that he received after an evaluation on Tuesday revealed he had two broken ribs.
“I have a lot of optimism, but I’m just going to stay focused on the treatment and let the shots work,” said Hamilton, who is batting a major league-best .361 but has been sidelined since crashing into the wall at Minnesota on Sept. 4. “We’re going to do a slow, but quick, buildup to the playoffs, if that makes sense.”
The Rangers would like to build some momentum heading into a four-game series at Oakland that begins Thursday, but they have lost 10 of 14 on the road.
The Angels (75-76), meanwhile, have won six straight home games including the first two of this series. They haven’t won seven in a row in Anaheim since Aug. 5-22, 2006.
The right-hander is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA in his last five starts. He limited the Rays to three runs, three hits and three walks while striking out 10 in seven innings of a 4-3 victory at Tampa Bay on Friday.
“The ball looked like a shuttlecock coming in there,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “We were just missing everything.”
Rangers designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero(notes) hasn’t had that problem. The former Angel, who is batting .375 with four homers and 13 RBIs in eight games in Anaheim this season, is 12 for 29 with three homers off Haren.
Wilson tossed his third complete game of the season in Friday’s 2-1 loss at Seattle, giving up two runs and six hits. The Rangers backed him with a season-low three hits.
Wilson is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in three starts against the Angels this season.
If the Angels complete the sweep, they will raise their record to .500 for the first time since they were 62-62 on Aug. 21.