They’re not feeling quite so secure now.
The streaking Angels have an opportunity to overtake the reeling Rangers during a critical three-game series that begins Friday night in Texas.
Los Angeles (71-59) began its six-game winning streak with a 2-1 win over Texas on Aug. 18, when Mark Trumbo(notes) helped salvage the final game of the series with a walkoff two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth.
“That was a great moment for us, a real lift when we needed it,” outfielder Torii Hunter(notes) said. “Now, we’re just riding. We’re doing what we have to do each day. But that was a good push, a good start.”
That began a stretch of six losses in eight games for the Rangers (74-58), whose division lead slipped to two games - one in the loss column - after they fell 6-0 to Boston on Thursday.
“We’re still in first place, that’s the main thing,” Texas catcher Yorvit Torrealba(notes) said. “In Anaheim it was almost like a playoff series, you could call it a do-or-die series. Now it’s about the same.”
A sweep of this weekend’s series would put the Angels back in first place - a position they last held July 5. Hunter, hitting .392 with five homers in August, said Los Angeles is simply looking to keep the momentum going.
“We don’t have to sweep them,” he said. “We want to win the series, but we don’t have to win the series. It won’t hurt us. We just have to keep playing this way. … I know there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Do what you’ve got to do, and as long as you’ve got a breath in you, you’re still alive.”
He allowed a season-worst seven runs in 4 1-3 innings July 20 before the Angels rallied for a 9-8 victory. In the six starts since, however, Haren has gone 3-0 with a 2.58 ERA, beating Baltimore last Friday after giving up three runs in seven innings.
The right-hander looks for a similar outing to his first against Texas this season, when he allowed two runs - one earned - in 7 2-3 innings of Los Angeles’ 3-2 win May 14.
Haren will face a Texas lineup that has been shut out twice in its last five games. The Rangers, whose three hits Thursday were their fewest since mustering only two June 12 versus Minnesota, were outscored 30-7 in three losses after taking the series opener against the Red Sox.
Holland came within one out of completing a 7-3 win over the Angels on Aug. 16, but followed that superb outing by giving up five runs in 3 1-3 innings of a 10-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. He’s posted a 6.41 ERA in four August starts.
The left-hander is 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA versus Los Angeles this season. Holland has an identical ERA and a 4-3 record in 11 appearances - eight starts - lifetime against the Angels.
These teams have split the last 10 meetings in Texas.