The teams enter a critical stretch in which they’ll face each other seven times over the next two weeks, beginning with the opener of a four-game series Monday night in Anaheim.
The Angels (65-56) fell four games behind the Rangers after Sunday’s 5-4, 10-inning loss in Toronto, a sour end to a dismal 2-4 road trip. Los Angeles led 4-3 entering the ninth, but Jordan Walden(notes) allowed the tying run for his major league-leading eighth blown save.
Los Angeles will travel to Texas for a three-game series Aug. 26-28.
“Not a good road trip,” said Hunter, who is 4 for 34 versus Texas this season. “We’ll just have to try and bounce back, starting (Monday).”
That may prove to be a tough task, as Texas (69-52) enters the divisional showdown on a roll.
The Rangers have won six of seven after a 7-6 victory over Oakland on Sunday, completing a three-game sweep to move a season-best 17 games over .500.
Ogando, though, is coming off one of his roughest outings this season, just after being reinstated from the paternity leave list for the birth of his daughter in the Dominican Republic. He tied season highs by allowing six runs and eight hits in 2 2-3 innings Tuesday at Seattle and failed to record a strikeout for the first time in 22 career starts.
The right-hander is 1-2 with a 5.91 ERA over his last four outings after going 3-0 with a 2.08 ERA in his previous three.
“Mentally he was not as consistent as he was in the past,” pitching coach Mike Maddux told the team’s official website. “It was a busy week and baseball was on the back burner. When he arrived back in town, he didn’t have his killer switch on.”
Ogando hasn’t had trouble focusing when facing the Angels this season, winning both starts and improving his lifetime ERA to 0.41 in 10 appearances against them. He allowed one run in 6 1-3 innings May 13, then pitched eight scoreless innings July 19.
Los Angeles has beaten Texas in seven of the last 10 meetings at Angels Stadium, though Hamilton said the Rangers are riding high given how well they’ve been playing of late.
“We’re excited about it,” Hamilton said of the crucial series. “I don’t want to say (the recent success) relaxes us, but it makes us want to get after it more and send a message. A month and a half to go, all the rest of the series with them are very important.”
Texas blew a six-run lead Sunday but survived on David Murphy’s(notes) RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning. The Rangers likely hope things will be a bit easier Monday with rookie Garrett Richards(notes) (0-1, 10.80) on the mound for the Angels.
The right-hander will be making his second start after allowing six runs in five innings of his major league debut Wednesday - a 9-3 loss at Yankee Stadium.