The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will try to gain ground on the AL West-leading Texas Rangers today as the division rivals take the field in the second of a three-game series in Arlington.
The Angels will hope C.J. Wilson (4-3) will perform better in his second try today after giving up four runs and a earning a losing decision in just one- third of an inning on Friday in his first bout with his former club. Saturday's original projected starter, Jerome Williams, took over after a two-hour rain delay and did not do any better against the Rangers' lineup.
Wilson will get another shot at it as he makes a rare back-to-back start.
"Two hours is too long for C.J. to go back out," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, "and he felt really strong that he could come back and start (Saturday), and we felt that was the best option."
Prior to yesterday's poor outing, Wilson had been very efficient in a Los Angeles uniform this season. The lefty ace entered Friday with a 2.61 ERA but it took his former teammates just 22 pitches to worsen it to 3.46. Wilson came in on a personal two-game winning streak after nice outings versus Minnesota and Toronto.
The last time a pitcher started back-to-back games was former Texas right- hander Aaron Myette, who was ejected after four pitches back on Sept. 3, 2002, then got the nod again the following day.
Los Angeles had no answer for the Rangers' offense or pitching in the delayed opener on Friday. Texas newcomer Yu Darvish (5-1) was in control during 5 1/3 innings on the mound and struck out seven Angels during that time.
Albert Pujols has not had the same overall success as Wilson since joining the Angels this season. The three-time former National League MVP went 0-for-4 on Friday which lowered his season batting average to .192. The usually dangerous first baseman still has just one home run in the first season of his 10-year, $254 million contract with the Angels.
"Come on, man, there's still a lot of games left," said Pujols, whose career batting average is .326. "It's just one game. We just need to come back tomorrow and put ourselves in a situation to try and win the series on Sunday."
Angels outfielder Mike Trout had his fifth straight game with a hit on Friday as he went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI. The only other run in the 10-3 loss came when Torii Hunter hit a solo shot off Darvish.
The Rangers will be looking for their fifth win in six games to improve their MLB leading 22-11 record, which equals their best 33-game start in franchise history.
Josh Hamilton continued to amaze on Friday in the series opener. He extended his hitting streak to 11 games by belting two home runs and adding a single for good measure. The Texas outfielder is leading the MLB with a .407 batting average, 17 home runs, and 40 RBI.
"He's unbelievable right now. He's as locked in as I've ever seen anybody," teammate Mitch Moreland said about Hamilton. Moreland also contributed on Friday with a homer of his own.
The Rangers' offense has been unstoppable so far. Elvis Andrus is riding an 11-game hitting streak as well. Adrian Beltre and Craig Gentry are both carrying batting averages above .300 for the season.
Texas will hope Matt Harrison (4-2) can replicate Darvish's success today. Harrison had struggled in his two previous starts before rebounding to throw seven strong innings in a 14-3 win over Baltimore on Monday. The tall lefty has shown the ability to get into a groove as he surrendered only one earned run in his first 14 innings this season.
Harrison has not had the type of success he would like against the Angels in the past. In five games, three of which were starts, he is 1-2 with a 5.95 ERA against the Angels.
Vernon Wells and Torii Hunter are both 1-for-10 against Harrison in their careers.
The Rangers won 12 of 19 over the Angels last season, though was just 5-4 against them in Texas.