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 are actually a bit hot after reeling off three straight wins over the Detroit Tigers, yet they're still three games below .500 on the young season.
Past 2012 Meetings: The Rangers have a 2-1 series lead over the Angels, taking the first and third game of the Rangers' home-opening series when the boo birds came out in full force to "support" their old friend Josh Hamilton. The Rangers' loss in the series came when a far-from-100-percent Matt Harrison got shelled by the Angels.
Pitching Matchups: Tuesday — Derek Holland (1-1, 1.64 ERA) vs. Joe Blanton (0-3, 8.59); Wednesday — Alexi Ogando (2-1, 3.32) vs. Jason Vargas (0-2, 6.75); Thursday — Yu Darvish (3-1, 2.03) vs. Tommy Hanson (2-1, 4.24).
What's Hot: Derek Holland and Yu Darvish have both been trending in ace territory early in the season. We'll believe Holland when we see it for an extended amount of time, but Darvish's season has been great so far, minus a minor hiccup with a blister. Even in Holland's loss, he was very good. The Rangers are near the top of the league in staff ERA, and those two are the main reason. Leonys Martin is starting to hit the ball, getting four hits in his last 10 at-bats, and most notably, striking out just twice. He had a triple and his first homer on Sunday.
Mark Trumbo has been one of the Angels' top bats this season, and he's continued that play over the last week including a big walk-off homer over the weekend. Mike Trout, after a slow start, is starting to regain the form we all expected to see from the reigning AL Rookie of the Year, as he's 9 for his last 23 at the plate with a homer and nine RBIs.
What's Not: It's starting to become a bit of a trend now. The foursome of Adrian Beltre, Mitch Moreland, Elvis Andrus and David Murphy have yet to really take off, even though Moreland and Beltre both homered on Sunday. At least a couple of those guys have to get into a groove in order for the Rangers' offense to really start to take off.
Do we really need to say it? Josh Hamilton is struggling in a big way. He's now mired in the middle of a 1-for-21 stretch that has taken his season average back down below the Mendoza Line at .176. Teams are still intentionally walking Albert Pujols to pitch to him, and so far, he's yet to make anyone pay. Expect to see that a few times this week.
Familiar Faces: Again, do we really need to say it? Josh Hamilton has been laughable in his first season with the rival Angels so far. C.J. Wilson is now the team's ace after the injury to Jered Weaver. Wilson is 1-0 with a 4.13 ERA in four starts this season, but for the second time this year, the Rangers will miss him in the rotation. Mark Lowe has a lofty 11.37 ERA in seven outings for the Angels.