Texas Rangers (72-76 SU, 81-67 RL, 69-73-6 O/U) vs. Los Angeles Angels (76-72 SU, 74-74 RL, 62-76-10 O/U)
MLB: Sunday, September 17, 2017 at 3:37 p.m. EST
The Line: Los Angeles Angels -200/Texas Rangers +160. Total: 9.
The Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers will wrap up a three-game series when they meet again at Angel Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Los Angeles took the first two contests and has now won four of its last six. The Rangers’ skid has hit five games.
Too generous in the field
Texas’ postseason hopes are dwindling with five consecutive losses and a 1-7 record in its last eight. The Rangers have been outscored 37-14 during their slide and have given up 10 or more runs three times in their last seven outings. They have dropped three straight away from home, including the first two of a nine-game road trip.
Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez is taking the mound for Texas on Sunday. Gonzalez is 7-11 with 4.86 ERA this season. He remains in search of his first win since being acquired from the White Sox (0-1 with an 18.56 ERA through two outings with the Rangers). The 33-year-old has worked a total of 5.1 innings in those two, allowing 11 runs and 11 hits(four homers) as his overall winless streak has reached four starts.
The Angels are hoping to make a push toward a playoff berth and complete a three-game sweep of the Rangers. Los Angeles came away with a 7-6 win in the series opener before posting a 2-0 victory on Saturday that put the club one game behind Minnesota for the second wild-card spot in the American League. Rookie Parker Bridwell and three relievers combined on a three-hitter while Justin Upton supplied all the offense with a pair of solo home runs for the Angels.
Garrett Richards will oppose Gonzalez on Sunday. The right-hander is 0-1 with a 1.38 ERA through three starts this season (one in April and two this month). Richards has given up one run and four hits in each of his two appearances since returning from a five-month absence due to a strained right biceps while pitching a total of 8.1 innings. The 29-year-old, who has recorded seven strikeouts and issued just one walk, was saddled with the loss on Tuesday after working five innings.
The Texas Rangers are:
- 0-5 in their last five overall
- 0-5 in their last five games against the American League West
- 0-4 in their last four games against teams with winning records
The Los Angeles Angels are:
- 6-2 in their last eight home games
- 9-3 in their last 12 games against right-handed starters
- 4-1 in Richards’ last five starts
Texas sits five games behind the Twins in the race for the AL’s second wild card. That is just a big enough margin to cause despair rather than hope. Rangers’ outfielder Nomar Mazara was held out of the starting lineup Saturday due to tightness in his left quadriceps but appeared as a pinch-hitter and grounded out. The Angels are a decent 3-2 on their nine-game home-stand. Richards owns an impressive 9-3 record and 3.13 ERA in 20 career appearances (16 starts) against the Rangers.
3. Los Angeles hopes to have second baseman Brandon Phillips back in the lineup after he missed Saturday’s contest with lower back tightness. Texas is 0-5 in its last five overall, 0-5 in its last five against the American League West, and 0-4 in its last four against winning opponents. The Angels are 6-2 in their last 12 at home, 9-3 in their last 12 against right-handed starters, and 4-1 in Richards’ last five starts.Look for those trends to continue.