Los Angeles Angels (54-37) at Texas Rangers (38-54)
Friday, July 11 - 8:05 PM EST
Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas
Two teams going in opposite directions meet Friday when the reeling Texas Rangers host the Los Angeles Angels in the second of four games. The Angels' 15-6 rout in the series opener was more of the same for both teams as Los Angeles won for the seventh time in eight games while sending the Rangers to their 19th loss in 22 contests. The teams were separated by 2 1/2 games as late as June 16, but second-place Los Angeles is up 16 1/2 games on Texas, which is alone in last.
The top of the Angels' order did loads of damage Thursday as the first four hitters were 13-for-19 with nine RBIs. Los Angeles is hitting .296 over its last 21 games and has scored at least five runs in each win during its current 7-1 stretch. Texas has been unable to keep up but third baseman Adrian Beltre is doing his best, homering in four of his last seven games and pushing his American League-leading average to .341 with three hits in the opener.
TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, FSN Southwest (Texas), FSN West (Los Angeles)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Angels RH Garrett Richards (10-2, 2.71 ERA) vs. Rangers RH Nick Tepesch (3-4, 4.29)
Richards won his fourth consecutive start with an overpowering performance last time out, striking out a career-high 11 and giving up one run over 7 1/3 innings against Houston. The 26-year-old is 6-0 in his last seven outings, a stirring stretch in which he has yielded a total of eight runs. Richards won both his starts against Texas this season, giving up four runs and striking out 16 over 12 innings.
Tepesch sealed his fate when he was rocked for five first-inning runs in a loss to the New York Mets on Sunday but still managed to go six innings and was charged with six runs. He had turned in his best performance of the season in his previous start, blanking Minnesota on three hits over a season-high 7 1/3 innings. Tepesch made his only start against the Angels in September, lasting 3 1/3 innings and giving up two runs on four hits.
1. The Angels are a game over .500 (4,274-4,273) for the first time since they began their inaugural season in 1961 at 1-0.
2. Texas is 9-24 in its last 33 home games.
3. Los Angeles SS Erick Aybar is hitting .360 with five RBIs during a six-game hitting streak.
PREDICTION: Angels 5, Rangers 3