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Preview: Rangers (71-63) at Angels (68-67)
Venue: Angel Stadium of Anaheim
Date: September 06, 2015 3:35 PM EDT
Colby Lewis’ margin for error is greater than most every pitcher in the majors because of the Texas Rangers’ tendency to score plenty when he’s on the mound.
He’s beginning to find out what it’s like when that isn’t the case.
The playoff-hopeful Rangers have kept winning consistently lately despite not pushing as many runs across the plate, and they’ll look to take two of three from the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday in Anaheim.
Lewis (14-7, 4.50 ERA) needs one more victory to set a career high, largely due to his 6.62 run-support average that ranks fourth in the majors. Of the 28 pitchers with at least 12 wins, only Toronto’s Drew Hutchison (5.07) and Detroit’s Alfredo Simon (4.86) have a higher ERA.
The right-hander received a total of four runs of support over his last three starts, though, and has lost the last two, giving up 11 runs – nine earned – while walking six in 10 2-3 innings.
Monday marked just the second time in his 27 starts – and first since May 27 – that the Rangers’ offense failed to provide any support.
‘(Giving up) two runs (in the third inning), with our offense, I wasn’t worried about it,” Lewis said after a 7-0 loss at San Diego. “I just told myself I had to go out there and put up zeros. There are no excuses. I just didn’t make the pitches when I needed to make the pitches.’
Lewis is 1-2 with a 7.56 ERA in three outings against the Angels this season, including giving up a season-worst 10 earned runs in a 12-6 loss July 5 – one of the two times the Rangers scored one run during Lewis’ time on the mound against Los Angeles.
Texas (71-63) didn’t need much offense to beat the Angels (68-67) on Saturday, as Rougned Odor’s eighth-inning sacrifice fly gave it a 2-1 victory. The Rangers have won seven of nine despite averaging 3.8 runs during that stretch and lead Minnesota by 1 1/2 games for the AL’s second wild card.
They also pulled within two games of Houston for the West lead after the Astros lost to the Twins.
The Angels, meanwhile, had their three-game winning streak snapped and fell 3 1/2 behind the Rangers in the wild-card race. Mike Trout tripled, but his career-high stretch without a homer reached 27 games.
Albert Pujols went 0 for 3 with a walk as the designated hitter, and he’s likely to start at DH for the rest of the season as he battles a nagging right foot injury.
Los Angeles might have to be more productive at the plate with Hector Santiago (7-9, 3.37) on the mound. Santiago struggled again Monday, allowing five runs and walking three over a season-low 2 2-3 innings in an 11-5 loss at Oakland.
He’s dropped his last three starts with a 10.13 ERA while failing to get through the fifth inning each time.
“It’s just one of those rough times, and I kind of let it pile up on top of each other, tried to fix some things and change some things I don’t need to,” Santiago told MLB’s official website. “Now I feel like I’m fighting myself mechanically.”
The left-hander’s eight-start winless stretch began July 25 when he gave up four runs over five innings in the Angels’ 7-6 loss to the Rangers. He went 2-0 with a 0.93 ERA the first three times he faced them this season.
Odor is 5 for 9 with a homer and two doubles off Santiago in 2015.