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 2012 season.
The Opponent: The Angels didn't get the memo that the season still started in April, but they figured some things out in May. An 18-11 month has them back to .500 and starting June with a series against the Rangers gives them a chance to use that play as a springboard back into the AL West race.
Past 2012 Meetings: The Rangers bombed the Angels in two of three games at the Ballpark, but this is the first meeting in Anaheim this year. The biggest highlight of that first series was C.J. Wilson starting two straight games thanks to a rainy Friday night, which meant two chances for the Rangers crowd to welcome their old friend back to town.
Pitching Matchups: Friday - Colby Lewis (4-3, 3.58 ERA) vs. Jerome Williams (5-2, 3.81); Saturday - Yu Darvish (7-2, 3.25) vs. Wilson (6-4, 2.77); Sunday - Matt Harrison (6-3, 4.41) vs. Dan Haren (3-5, 3.52)
What's Hot: Albert Pujols returned to life in May, but Mark Trumbo was the guy swinging the hottest bat for the Halos. Trumbo hit seven home runs in the month, including three in three games against the Yankees to close it out, and posted a 1077 OPS. Combined with Pujols' eight homers and 24 RBIs, that's a big reason why the Angels pulled out of their nosedive.
Outside of Mike Adams and Yoshinori Tateyama, May was a very good month for the Rangers bullpen. The rest of the pen posted a 2.06 ERA and had a 68/17 strikeout-to-walk ratio over the course of the month.
Josh Hamilton's month was one for the ages, but it shouldn't obscure the good work being done by Elvis Andrus. The shortstop's offensive game has come to life, thanks in large part to a discerning eye that helped him to a .418 on-base percentage in May. If he keeps that up, the Rangers will not have much problem scoring runs.
What's Not: The flip side to Andrus' month was the one turned in by Michael Young. When players who refuse to take a walk when it is being offered suffer a downturn in luck on batted balls, as Young did in May, they have almost no offensive value to offer.
Not to belabor a point, but just look at Howie Kendrick for more on that front. The Angels second baseman usually hits for a high average, but he neither walks nor hits for power so his value drops dramatically when he posts what looks like a respectable .270 batting average over the course of a month.
Lewis had one good start in May and four mediocre or worse ones, part of the reason why the Rangers' rampage through the American League slowed in the second month of the season. The culprit has been the longball. Lewis can't stop giving up home runs, leaving his otherwise strong work to amount for little other than statistical oddities like his 12-strikeout, five-homer outing against Baltimore.
Familiar Faces: Wilson has been doing a very strong job in the Angels rotation, which isn't a surprise at all. What's a bit surprising is that Wilson's replacement has done a fine job without limiting the feeling that the Rangers would be better off with Wilson still in the fold. That will remain the case until Matt Harrison and Derek Holland's consistency catches up to their stuff.