Matt Garza tries to continue his winning ways for the fading Texas Rangers, who will host the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Monday night in the opener of a three-game set at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
The newly-acquired Garza made his Rangers debut on Wednesday against the New York Yankees and picked up the win after allowing only an unearned run on five hits to go along with five strikeouts and no walks over 7 1/3 innings.
Garza has been victorious in each of his last six starts and has pitched at least seven innings in all but one of them. However, he owns a 5.83 ERA in five career starts against the Angels.
The Angels will counter with Jered Weaver, who has tossed 14 2/3 shutout frames since the All-Star break and owns a 1.32 ERA over his last six outings. Weaver pitched eight shutout innings against Minnesota on Wednesday, as he fanned nine and allowed only two hits in a 1-0 victory.
Josh Hamilton returns to his former stomping grounds mired in a 3-for-26 slump that has dropped his batting average to .220. However, the short-handed Angels need the slugger to step up now more than ever, as Albert Pujols was recently placed on the 15-day disabled list with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, which has hampered him throughout much of the season.
"We're going to miss him," Hamilton said of Pujols. "It's a big hole to fill and we can't fill it. All you can do is keep battling, send guys out there and have guys pick up the slack as best as they can because you can't replace Albert. It's definitely frustrating."
The Angels lost the final three games of their four-game series in Oakland this weekend. On Sunday, they jumped out to a 5-0 lead only to lose, 10-6. Shaky defensive play in the outfield opened the door for the A's to put five runs on the board in the sixth inning after Halos starter Tommy Hanson had exited.
Meanwhile, Texas has dropped four straight and 12 of its last 15 games overall. The Rangers lost to Cleveland 1-0 on Saturday and 6-0 on Sunday, as they tied a season-low with two hits in the latter defeat.
The team's 21-inning scoreless streak is its longest since 2009.
"I don't get frustrated, but I am a little upset," manager Ron Washington said. "I need to get my guys going back down the yellow brick road."
Texas has won four of six head-to-head meetings with the Halos this season.