Series Preview: Rangers/Angels

The Los Angeles Angels will spend their 4th of July in Arlington to take on the cellar-dwelling Rangers. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at this three-game matchup between two teams on opposite ends of the spectrum.

Angels (51-31) at Rangers (34-48)

Tuesday, 7:35 PM: Ervin Santana (5-8, 5.27) vs. Kevin Millwood (4-7, 7.06)
Kevin Millwood played with the corners of the strike zone a little too much last Thursday in Detroit and the result wasn't pretty: Six walks. He was also vastly outperformed by Kenny Rogers, who continued to make that blood clot which plagued his left shoulder look like nothing that a masseuse and a trip to a spa couldn't clear right up. Still, the veteran right-hander claims it was the best that he's thrown since coming off his latest stint on the disabled list. He's showing some improvement overall, but with a .365 opponents batting average and a record of 2-3, 8.49 at home in Arlington, he definitely still has a long way to go towards respectability.

Up until last week, Ervin Santana of the Angels had put together five pretty solid outings in a row. Then the 24-year old had to face a fresh, young Royals team, and whatever momentum he had going quickly dissipated thanks to a poor performance in which he allowed nine hits and seven runs over five innings of ball in a 12-4 loss. His outing even had manager Mike Scioscia wondering if the righty was hurt. Although Santana has pitched well in his last two road games against the Cardinals and Dodgers, away from his home ballpark he still is just 1-6 with a 7.53 ERA on the season.

Wednesday, 7:35 PM: Jered Weaver (6-4, 3.55) vs. Jamey Wright (1-2, 6.38)
Jamey Wright had a wobbly performance last time out against the Red Sox that resulted in 103 pitches thrown in just five innings of work, and an early exit. He allowed only two runs to score, but the Rangers were unable to scrape their way into the game against master knuckleball Tim Wakefield. Wright dropped his career record to 68-100 with the loss, which gives him a .404 winning percentage - the lowest of any active pitcher with at least 100 decisions under his belt. He's 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA in his past two starts but has walked nine in 10 2/3 innings.

Thanks to a comfortable lead in the West, the Angels have let Jered Weaver spend the last 11 days resting up an ailing right shoulder and recovering from a bout with strep throat. When he returned against the Royals last week, the righty still didn't have his best stuff and his velocity was down, but he was still able to use his pinpoint command to strike out six and hold the Royals to a run on four hits over seven innings. Unfortunately for him, the Angels offense went stagnant that game and provided him no offense, sending Weaver to his fourth loss of the year.

Thursday, 7:35 PM: Kelvim Escobar (9-3, 3.32) vs. Robinson Tejeda (5-7, 6.69)
The latest in a long line of subpar outings by Robinson Tejeda last week has left him tied for the highest earned run average in the American League. Even sadder, the guy he's sharing that downtrodden honor with is his teammate: Vicente Padilla. Tejeda also is second with am opponents .389 and leading in slugging percentage allowed at .512. In fact, just about the only good numbers you can find associated with the righthander these days are his career numbers against the Angels: 1-1, 3.18 in three starts.

Before facing the Orioles last week, Kelvim Escobar had allowed a total of eight runs his previous four outings. But Baltimore pounded Escobar for seven runs on 10 hits and chased him from the game after just 4 1/3, his second shortest outing of the year. His career numbers against the Rangers don't look so hot (1-3 with a 3.40 ERA in Arlington, 3-8 with a 4.45 ERA overall), but he picked up the win over Texas in his first start of the year when he gave up three runs and walked five but limited the Rangers to three hits while fanning four.

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