Previewing the Texas Rangers' 11 series of the season: Los Angeles Angels
By West Jones
The Texas Rangers (18 - 12) split their two-game midweek series with the Arizona Diamondbacks (17 - 14) this week before heading to Los Angeles to take on the Angels (18-14) starting Friday night. The three-game weekend series will pit the top two teams in the AL West standings. The Rangers currently have a one-game lead on the Halos who have a four game winning streak going. The Angels are fresh off a road sweep of the struggling St. Louis Cardinals (10 - 22).
Date and Time
Rangers Probable Pitcher
Angels Probable Pitcher
Fri 5th - 8:38 CT
Tyler Anderson - LHP 1-0, 5.74 ERA, 18 SO
Sat 6th - 8:07 CT
Reid Detmers - LHP 0-2, 4.85 ERA, 31 SO
Sun 7th - 3:07 CT
Jose Suarez - LHP 1-1, 7.89 ERA, 18 SO
As of Friday morning, the Rangers haven't posted their probable pitchers for the series. ESPN.com has Dane Dunning taking the mound on Friday evening. With the club having both Monday and Thursday off this week, they may elect to skip Jacob deGrom's spot in the rotation this time through and go straight to Nathan Eovaldi on Friday.
With the off days, Eovaldi and all of the four healthy starters would have five days rest going into their next start. This would make the most sense as it would also have whoever the Rangers decide to go with as the temporary fifth starter in deGrom's absence throwing on Tuesday in Seattle, and then the following Sunday in Oakland. If Dunning or someone else pitches on Friday in Los Angeles, they would have to face both the Angels and Mariners on the road and also open the home series against the Atlanta Braves.
One thing for sure, is the Rangers will not have to face Shohei Ohtani from the mound in this series. Ohtani pitched on Wednesday and thus will not be pitching this weekend. However, Rangers' pitchers will have to contend with former MVP Ohtani at the plate, as well as the always fierce and three-time MVP Mike Trout.
The fact that these two guys are on the same team is mind-boggling. Arguably the best two players in the game on the same team, and yet they haven't had any postseason success to show for it. They are working hard to change that this year, as Ohtani will be a free agent at the end of the season, and it is unclear if he will be returning to the Angels next year or not.
With the Rangers' bullpen issues as of late, it sure would be nice to have the 33-year-old lefty Matt Moore out there for Bruce Bochy to call upon. In 2022, Moore was a bright spot for Texas. He had 74 innings pitched, 83 strikeouts, a 1.95 ERA, and a 1.176 WHIP for the Rangers. After GM Chris Young focused so much on the rotation in the offseason, there was little money left on the table to sign a free-agent reliever. Moore pitched for the Rangers on a one-year, $2.5 million contract in 2022 and then signed in the offseason with the Angels for another one-year contract, but his current one is for $7.55 million. He isn't disappointing this year as his production has been even better than last season. In 15.1 innings pitched, Moore has 17 strikeouts, a 1.17 ERA, and a 0.783 WHIP.
As mentioned earlier, the Angels are in win now mode. They are working to get Trout and Ohtani to the playoffs, as well as help their effort to retain the services of Ohtani after this season. One of the more aggressive moves that the Angels have gone with, is the promotion of 22-year-old shortstop Zach Neto. It is an aggressive move not because he is a bad player, but this time last year, Neto was playing college baseball for the Cambell Camels of the Big South Conference.
The Angels drafted Neto with the 13th pick in the first round last summer in the MLB draft. He is the first player from that draft class to see big league action as he made his MLB debut on April 15th. Neto is a slick fielding, solid-hitting kid that has a bright future. His high leg kick when batting is unique, and it will be interesting to see if he tweaks that approach as his career progresses.
The Rangers will try to extend their lead in the AL West over the weekend. The next 10 games are all on the road against division foes with zero off days. If Texas can come home with a winning road trip, that will further help them toward their goal of a playoff berth.