On Deck will be here all season to provide you with everything you need to know (and a few things you don't) about every Rangers series during the 2013 season.
The Opponent: The Angels have been the personal whipping boys of the Rangers this season, especially lately, but they enter this three-game set with seven wins in their last 10 games and can play spoiler to the Rangers' playoff hopes this weekend.
Past 2013 Meetings: The Rangers are a remarkable 10-2 against the Angels this season, including two straight series sweeps against the AL West afterthoughts.
Pitching Matchups: Friday — Matt Garza (9-3, 3.55 ERA; 3-2, 4.04 as Ranger) vs. C.J. Wilson (14-6, 3.55); Saturday — Derek Holland (9-7, 3.07) vs. Garrett Richards (5-6, 4.06); Sunday — TBD vs. Jason Vargas (8-6, 3.80)
What's Hot: Not sure how Craig Gentry and David Murphy are still getting equal playing time? We're not either. Gentry is hitting .455 over his last 11 at-bats. Murphy is hitting .273 over his last 11 at-bats. Gentry is a better defender, too. Newly acquired Alex Rios is hitting .348 over his last six games with a homer. Garza broke a string of five straight starts of allowing at least four earned runs in his last time out against the Twins, allowing just one run in seven innings to get the Rangers' lone win against the Twinkies.
If the Rangers are smart, they'll just avoid pitching to Mike Trout at all costs. The second-year phenom is hitting .409 with a .552 on-base percentage over his last seven games. Ernesto Frieri is hot as the team's closer, with three clean saves in his last three attempts, but as we found out last month, the Rangers like to hit off the young closer.
What's Not: For the first time in seemingly forever, Adrian Beltre has gone cold. He's hitting just .167 in his last six games. The same can be said for leadoff man Leonys Martin, who's hitting .200 over the same span. Yu Darvish had perhaps his worst start of the year in his biggest start of the year on Wednesday, and Robbie Ross was just as bad in relief.
Vargas has allowed five runs on 12 hits in his last 11 innings and will take the hill in Sunday's series finale against most likely Travis Blackley, or possibly Nick Tepesch. Slugger Mark Trumbo is hitting just .150 over the last week, continuing his trend of having awful Septembers.
Familiar Faces: Many thought the Rangers would miss Josh Hamilton on the field, and not C.J. Wilson, but it's been the other way around as Hamilton has become a below-average big-leaguer and Wilson is putting up a great season.