Alexi Ogando (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Los Angeles Angels (21-17) at Texas Rangers (19-18) Game 1 Preview

Last time the Rangers were on the field, the game, which was going quite well for them, was rained out. Matt Harrison had finally gotten his groove back and was back to the starting pitcher that he was at the beginning of the season before falling into a slump in which he lost his mental focus. Harrison also had plenty of back-up from his team as the offense was slamming those balls and bringing in runs like crazy – including the first ever grand slam by Mitch Moreland. What sucks, though, is that none of this officially counts.

However, they’ll need to look past that and go on based on that good outing despite the fact that it isn’t recorded. The Rangers are currently second in the AL West standings just behind the Angels, who they face starting Friday for a three-game series. These series is going to be crucial for both teams as the more of these games the Angels can win, the further ahead they can get from the Rangers while the Rangers have the chance to take back possession of first place in the American League West.

The Rangers haven’t been their best over their past games especially when you consider the fact that they started the season off 7-0. They have lost six of their previous nine games and have only won five of their last 13 in Arlington. However, the hope that they have is in history as their record against the Angels at home is 8-5 in their previous 13 meetings.

Pitching Matchups

The Angels will hand the ball over to RHP Jered Weaver. Weaver is 6-2 with a 1.87 ERA for the season with 55 strikeouts. He has pitched impressively this season – up until his last two starts in which he is 0-2 with an ERA of 5.25. On May 7, the 28-year-old allowed four runs on seven hits and was unable to strike out any hitters, which was the first time this had happened in almost four years. His last time out against the Rangers was a 4-1 victory for the Angels.

The Rangers will counter with none other than RHP Alexi Ogando. Ogando is 3-0 with a 3.17 ERA with 27 strikeouts. The 27-year-old has had three consecutive quality outings and this will be his first start in his career against Los Angeles. He has been up against the Angels as a relief pitching, throwing 7.2 scoreless innings while allowing four hits. In his three starts at home this year, he is 2-0 with an earned run average of 1.50 allowing three runs on 11 hits over 18 innings. He didn’t make his last scheduled starting appearance due to a blister that had come up on his right index finger.

Pitchers vs. Hitters

RHP Jered Weaver: Mitch Moreland has the highest batting average of the Rangers with a .364 (4-for-11 with two homers and two RBIs) and Mike Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba trail close behind with .333 (1-for-3) batting averages. Michael Young, who has been very consistent this year and is now in the cleanup spot in the lineup, is 16-for-64 with two homers and five RBIs against Weaver. Adrian Beltre is 8-for-46 with two RBIs, Ian Kinsler is 10-for-48 with two homers and six RBIs and Elvis Andrus is 9-for-32 with one RBI.

RHP Alexi Ogando: Torri Hunter and Peter Bourjos are both 0-for-3, Jeff Mathis is 0-for-2, Howard Kendrick is 1-for-4, Reggie Willits is 1-for-1 as is Alberto Callaspo who has an RBI.

My Prediction

There shouldn’t be any rain in the area and Alexi Ogando has been solid all year long. Weaver is solid as well and the Angels are 4-0 against the Rangers in his last four starts. However, I think the Rangers will pull this one through with Ogando on the mound so long as the offense can back him up with some runs on the scoreboard. Final score: Texas 5, Angels 4.

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Tags: Adrian Beltre Alexi Ogando Angels Elvis Andrus Ian Kinsler Jered Weaver Los Angeles Angels Michael Young Mike Napoli Mitch Moreland Rangers Rangers Vs Angels Texas Rangers Yorvit Torrealba

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