Rangers Look To Avoid Sweep

Yu Darvish will look to guide the Texas Rangers back to winning ways on Sunday.

Yu Darvish will look to guide the Texas Rangers back to winning ways on Sunday.

Divisional rivals meet in Sunday’s nationally televised game of the week as the Texas Rangers look to avoid a sweep on the road against the Los Angeles Angels.

First pitch at Angels Stadium of Anaheim in Anaheim, Calif., is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET.

20140621_AL_WestWith the Oakland Athletics (47-28) posting the best record in the majors and taking the early lead in the AL West, the Rangers and Angels have been left to play the role of catchup.

Los Angeles (40-33, 22-14 home) has played fairly decent ball of late, as it looks to rebound from a disappointing season a year ago. Mike Scioscia’s side has been particularly hot at home recently, winning eight of the last nine.

Texas (35-39, 19-20 road) has succumbed to the injury bug and is right now languishing behind the Seattle Mariners in fourth place in the division.

The Angels began this series with a 7-3 victory on Friday night, notching 11 hits en route to just a fourth win over the Rangers in 18 meetings.

On Saturday, the two sides went to extra innings, with the Angels picking up a 3-2 victory in the 10th as Howie Kendrick singled to score Josh Hamilton.

Now the Angels will look to complete a first home sweep of the Rangers in more than seven years. Earning that sweep won’t be easy.

Looking to snap a season-long four-game losing streak, Texas will send Yu Darvish (7-3, 2.39 ERA) to the mound.

While the Rangers have struggled Darvish has had a solid start to the season and will be looking to lead his club to victory on Sunday.

The 27-year-old right-hander was roughed up in his last start, a trip to Oakland, allowing seven runs – three unearned – on eight hits in just five innings of play. The silver lining for Darvish and the Rangers was that he still managed to strikeout eight.

That loss but the halters on a personal four-game winning streak for the Japanese ace. He’ll look to start a new streak on Sunday, against a team he’s had a lot of success against.

In his career, Darvish is 7-1 with a 3.82 ERA in 11 starts against the Angels.

He pitched 6 1/3 innings in his only start against the Angels this season, striking out nine as he yielded three runs on seven hits in a 7-3 victory.

Los Angeles will counter with rookie Matt Shoemaker (4-1, 3.83 ERA).

The 27-year-old is unbeaten in six starts this season, winning four, as he looks to nail down a place in the permanent rotation.

In his last start, the right-hander pitched eight innings on the road against the Cleveland Indians, giving up just two earned runs on five hits as he fanned a career-high 10 batters. Los Angeles will be hoping Shoemaker can duplicate this type of performance.

Texas is 26-28 against right-handed pitching this season, while Los Angeles is 23-21.

The Angels may be forced to play without Albert Pujols (back), who missed Saturday’s game. He’s currently listed as day-to-day.

Albert Pujols sat out Saturday's game with a sore lower back. He's listed as day-to-day.

Albert Pujols sat out Saturday’s game with a sore lower back. He’s listed as day-to-day.

Texas Rangers vs. Los Angeles Angels odds for 06/22/2014

Texas (-120) opened as the favorite over Los Angeles (+110) on the moneyline and has seen its odds shorten further as game time approaches.

The Angels have won 13 of their last 16 games at home, including three of the last five against the Rangers, but Darvish’s presence on the mound seems to have put off the bookmakers.

The Rangers have actually taken 14 of the last 19 head-to-head matchups, although that streak dates back to last season when the Angels had a noticeably miserable season and the Rangers were contenders. Right now it looks like a case of vice versa.

The Rangers are 16-16 against division opponents this season, while the Angels are 15-18.

The total opened at 7 1/2 but climbed to 8 shortly after lines were revealed.

The total has gone under is six of the Rangers’ last nine road games and four of the Angels’ last six at home. Saturday’s extra inning affair saw the under pay out.

The total has gone over in 15 of the last 23 head-to-head matchups.

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Following Sunday’s series finale, the Angels will stick around to host the Minnesota Twins in a three-game set (Tue-Thu) before hitting the road for a series with the Kansas City Royals (Fri-Sun).

After this nine-game west coast swing, the Rangers will return to Arlington, Texas, to host the Detroit Tigers (Tue-Thu) and Twins (Fri-Sun).

The Angels and Rangers will next meet in a four-game set in Arlington on July 10-13.

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