The Rangers are coming off of a three game sweep of the Seattle Mariners which included games started by Nick Tepesch and Justin Grimm. As we all know, Tepesch was hit by a pitch in the second inning of his start, and had to be removed from the game and replaced by Derek Lowe. All of Rangers nation held they’re breath waiting for the epic fail, but Derek came through in a very big way and helped the Rangers get that win. Then Justin Grimm showed all of us why he is a highly touted prospect when he struck out nine in his win against the M’s on Sunday. Now I know the Mariners are not exactly the cream of the crop when it comes to American League teams, but a sweep is a sweep.
Of course our next opponents, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are also coming off of a three game sweep of the Detroit Tigers, a team many expect to win the World Series this year. The Angels offense is finally looking like all of the experts expected it too, that is, crushing the ball on a regular basis. The Angels now lead the league in batting average at .280, but are fifth from last in team ERA at 4.58 (source).
The Rangers go to Anaheim as the first place team in the West, the Angels sitting in third but moving up quickly. This series in not the end all to the division, since it is still only April, but I see the Rangers having an advantage, and that advantage is pitching. It has been a long time since we could say that the Rangers have the best pitching in the American League West, but right now that is the case. Texas not only has the best record in all of the American League, but they also have the lowest ERA. This in not a coincidence. The Rangers team ERA is an astoundingly low 2.68, and that is without Colby Lewis and now without Matt Harrison. The Angels may have the better offense, but pitching wins games, and pitching wins championships. Without Jered Weaver, their pitching staff becomes much worse, and tonight’s matchup has Derek Holland (1-1, 1.64 ERA) matched up against Joe Blanton (0-3, 8.59 ERA). The Rangers should be able to take advantage of the Angels pitching, and the Angels are going to need some luck or a really bad night by Holland AND the Ranger bull pen to have success tonight. If you have seen any Angels baseball this season, you know that he crowd is not really behind them at all because of how poorly they have started for the second year in a row, so home field advantage is basicly out. Tonight should be a fun game to watch for Rangers fans everywhere.
Now I am not saying the Rangers are going to sweep the series, and we all know that the Rangers have not played as well on the road as they have at home, but the Angels are struggling mightily in the pitching department and the Rangers are not, and that usually means a win for the team with the good pitching (see the Rangers and Angels series from 2001-2008 and see how it went for the team with the better pitching). If any fan base know that you can’t slug your way to a World Series, it is the Rangers fans.The Angels are going to slug their way to a bunch of wins in 2013, don’t misunderstand me there. I just don’t believe that they can do it against this great Texas Rangers pitching. I hope that the Rangers prove me right over the next three late nights.