Texas Rangers (71-52) @ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (65-58)
Pitching Probables: TEX – C.J Wilson (11-5, 3.28 ERA) LAA – Ervin Santana (9-8, 3.10 ERA)
Game Info: 7:05 PM PT; TV - Fox Sports West; Radio - KLAA 830 AM
This is it; the Angels have fallen a season high 6 games behind the Rangers with little over a month left in the season to play. Seeing as how the Angels have 8 games left to play against the Rangers this is a manageable deficit, although the Angels would need to win these final 2 games in the series to prevent this from getting out of hand. Leaving this series 4 games behind the Rangers would give the Angels an underdog shot at taking the AL West, and both you and I know how well the Angels thrive as the underdog. Well, maybe they haven't been able to do so since 2002, but if they can bring back even a tiny piece of that magic then we'll have a very interesting final month of the season. Everything could come down to the wire on this one.
Monkey See Monkey Do: There isn't really much that could said about tonight's game that hasn't already been said about the other two games. For starters, the Rangers are throwing up yet ANOTHER formidable pitcher in C.J Wilson, though he hasn't won a start at Angel stadium this season, so there's a tiny sliver of hope tonight. I doubt this offense is going to get a-rockin and a-rollin anytime soon, if anything they'll turn up the heat as soon as this series is over. We all know how "great" the Angels are when it comes to timing. Another sliver of hope appears tonight in Ervin Santana, who has been easily the best pitcher on the Angels staff since the All Star break. He's won his last 5 starts and has posted a sub-2.00 ERA since then. Yes, even better then Jered Weaver. He's had multiple complete games in that time span, even following up his no-hitter with a complete game. The only real chance that the Angels have in pulling a W tonight is on the back of Ervin Santana, but if he can stay true to form we might see a sudden momentum shift in this ugly tug of war between the Rangers and the Angels.
Monkey See Monkey Don't: Don't expect tonight to go as easily for the Rangers as the past two nights. They don't have the luxury of facing two rookies with little to no experience in the majors. In fact, they have to face one of the hottest pitchers in baseball since the All-Star break while the Angels get to face a pitcher who has only won 1 of his last 5 starts. The first loss in the streak came in Anaheim, funnily enough. Why not start another winless streak for C.J? The Angels aren't going to do any damage to the Rangers by squeaking away with a 2-1 victory or anything close these next two games. They are going to have to absolutely demolish the Rangers. The Angels are going to have to hand out an ass-whooping of epic proportions these next two nights if they want to damage the Rangers confidence. It doesnt have to be a massive 15-0 victory or anything like that, they just need to lay down the law instead of letting the Rangers push them around. Carving up their hitters like a Thanksgiving Turduken while dropping bombs off their pitchers is something that can rattle even the most sturdy of teams. After this series the Angels go on to play the Orioles and the White Sox, while the Rangers play both the White and Red Sox, meaning that if the Angels can steal some momentum this series they'll have a great chance at bring the AL West deficit down from 4 or 6 games to 2 or 3 before they go to Texas next weekend. All I'm trying to say is if the Angels can win big these next two nights the race in the West will be a much different story next weekend then it is today.
The Monkey's Bananas Prediction of the Game: Ervin Santana will keep the streak going by recording his 6th win tonight thanks to some masterful pitching and timely hitting. Keeping the hits low will be the name of the game tonight, with Santana limiting the Rangers to 3 hits or less, while the Angels hit a timely home run off of C.J Wilson near the middle innings of the game, stealing both the victory and some fire out of the Rangers' clubhouse.