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 2015 season.
The Opponent: The Angels have to sweep to win the division after falling to Oakland on Wednesday night — their first loss in eight games.
Past 2015 Meetings: The Rangers are just 5-10 against the Angels this year, but nine of those games came before the Rangers' transformation at the all-star break, and seven of those were Angels wins.
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Pitching Matchups: Thursday — Derek Holland (3-3, 4.99 ERA) vs. Andrew Heaney (6-3, 3.29); Friday — Martin Perez (3-6, 4.77) vs. Jered Weaver (7-12, 4.76); Saturday — Colby Lewis (17-9, 4.53) vs. Hector Santiago (9-9, 3.52); Sunday — Cole Hamels (6-1, 3.86) vs. Nick Tropeano (3-2, 3.82)
What's Hot: The 2-3-4 spots in the Rangers order has been on an absolute tear, as Shin-Soo Choo, Adrian Beltre and Prince Fielder have combined to drive in 27 runs in the last seven games, led by Fielder's 12 in that span. Beltre now has 44 RBIs in his last 44 games, and Choo is seemingly a lock for AL Player of the Month honors. The winning quintet of the Rangers' bullpen has combined to pitch 11 1/3 scoreless innings over the last week.
Angels second baseman Johnny Giavotella is hitting .444 over the last six games, and five of his eight hits have gone for extra bases to go with six RBIs. Mike Trout is hitting .409 in that same time. Ranger killers David Freese and C.J. Cron have combined for five homers in the last six games. Nick Tropeano and Jered Weaver are each coming off outings in which they allowed just one run.
What's Not: Holland has been bad over his last three starts after he was so great upon his return from a four-month stint on the DL. It could be an issue of doing too much too soon, but whatever the case, he's sporting a 9.60 ERA over his last three outings. Elvis Andrus is hitting .130 in his last seven games, and Rougned Odor isn't much better sitting at .200 over that same time.
There really isn't much to speak of here for the Angels, who had won seven straight games before Wednesday's loss. Hector Santiago gave up four runs in his last outing in just 5-plus innings. Erick Aybar is the Angels' coldest hitting regular over the last week, and he's batting .269 — not terrible.
Familiar Faces: The Angels gave up on Josh Hamilton, and continue to pay most of his salary to play for the Rangers after they traded him for pennies on the dollar to take back their former AL MVP back in April. Former Rangers starter C.J. Wilson is long gone with injury this year, and old/new Ranger Mike Napoli spent most of his career with the Angels before coming to Texas in 2011. Since then, he's murdered Angels pitching both with Texas and Boston. David Murphy, a longtime fan favorite in Texas, is now playing in the outfield for the Angels after he was traded there back in August.