Los Angeles (78-81) at Texas (89-70)

Cloudy Currently: Arlington, TX
Temp: 64° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Fri Oct 1, 2010
  • TV: FSW, KTXA
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Two rib fractures limited Josh Hamilton(notes) to being a spectator for almost a month while the Texas Rangers went on to clinch the AL West.

Now, he’ll have little time to try and get back into game shape with the postseason looming.

Hamilton is scheduled to be back in the lineup Friday night when the Rangers continue their four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels, who will send Jered Weaver(notes) to the mound as the right-hander chases this year’s major league strikeout title.

Hamilton has been sidelined since Sept. 4 after breaking two ribs while crashing into the wall to make a catch in Minnesota. However, he took full batting practice Thursday, and is expected to start the three remaining games of this series, including in right field Friday and Sunday.

“I’m fired up,” Hamilton told the Rangers’ official website. “You would like to stretch it out a little more. But the circumstances are a little different.”

Despite being sidelined, Hamilton continues to lead the majors with a .361 batting average. He’s also hit 31 homers—one shy of tying his career high— and driven in 97.

Texas (89-70) went 14-10 without Hamilton, and clinched its first playoff berth since 1999 last week.

The Rangers opened this series with a 3-2 win Thursday. Cliff Lee(notes) gave up one unearned run in seven innings, and former Angel Vladimir Guerrero(notes) drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth.

Guerrero, who is batting .302 with 29 homers and 114 RBIs this season, will play in his 2,000th game. He’s hit .313 against Los Angeles with 16 RBIs in as many games.

“You can see it in his eyes,” Angels right fielder and former teammate Torii Hunter(notes) said. “He’s trying to go deep on every pitch against us.”

He’ll look to help the Rangers clinch the season series against the Angels with a win Friday. Texas is 9-7 against Los Angeles, including 6-1 at home this year.

The Rangers have won two games at home in which they were opposed by Weaver (13-12, 3.02 ERA), who will try to take over the strikeout lead from Seattle’s Felix Hernandez(notes). Weaver has 229 strikeouts, leaving him three behind the Mariners’ ace, who has been shut down for the year.

Weaver is 3-1 with a 3.73 ERA in five starts against Texas this season, but 0-1 with an 8.44 ERA in two starts at Rangers Ballpark.

Weaver gave up four runs and struck out nine in 6 2-3 innings of a 4-3 loss to the White Sox on Sunday.

The Rangers will hand the ball to Tommy Hunter(notes) (13-4, 3.80), who originally was expected to work out of the bullpen during the playoffs, but now will pitch Game 4 against Tampa Bay or the New York Yankees, if necessary.

Hunter retired both Seattle batters he faced in relief on Tuesday.

“It was different, I will tell you that,” Hunter said. “I had some adrenaline going. I was ready to go after a couple of warmup pitches.”

The right-hander has split two starts against the Angels in July. He allowed eight runs and eight hits in three innings of a 9-7 loss July 30.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Weaver LAA vs. T. Hunter Bal
13-12 Record 13-4
3.01 ERA 3.73
233 K 68
54 BB 33
1.07 WHIP 1.24

Scoreboard

Friday, Oct 1