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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, June 10th (All times Eastern)

LA Angels of Anaheim (14-18) at Texas Rangers (21-11), 8:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: LA Angels - C.J. Wilson (4-2, 2.61) Texas - Yu Darvish (4-1, 2.54)

(Sports Network) - C.J. Wilson has seen first hand just how dangerous the Rangers' lineup can be.

Texas' former ace will try to shut down his old teammates this evening as Wilson squares off against the Rangers, and the pitcher they signed to replace him, for the first time when the Los Angeles Angels visit Arlington for the opener of a three-game series.

A key part of a Rangers club that made back-to-back World Series appearances, Wilson signed a five-year, $77.5 million deal with the Angels this past offseason as part of an overhaul that also saw Los Angeles land slugger Albert Pujols through free agency.

Wilson made the shift to full-time starter in 2010-11 for the Rangers and went 31-15 with a 3.14 earned run average in 67 starts while helping Texas capture consecutive American League West titles. He did struggle in the postseason, going 1-5 with a 4.82 ERA in 10 appearances.

Still, the left-hander was a big key to Texas' success in the previous two seasons, but that won't stop him from a likely chilly reception tonight.

"I think the biggest thing will just be that we'll be playing in front of a huge crowd in a stadium that's relatively hostile to our team -- and I'm sure will be fairly hostile to me," Wilson told MLB.com. "I think a lot of people will boo me and stuff.

"The main objective is just focusing on the baseball aspect of it and preparing to get their guys out."

Wilson has certainly done that so far for the Angels, repaying their investment with six quality starts in six games, going 4-2 with a 2.61 earned run average while striking out 39 batters over 41 1/3 innings.

The 31-year-old won his second straight outing on Saturday, holding the Blue Jays to two runs, six hits and three walks over a season-high eight innings. His nine strikeouts in the victory marked his second-highest single-game total this season.

Wilson won't have starting catcher Chris Iannetta, who will undergo right wrist surgery on Friday after an injury suffered during Jered Weaver's no- hitter on May 2. Iannetta was hit by a pitch in his first at-bat and suffered a fracture that is expected to keep him out for 6-to-8 weeks, though he did remain in that game.

Not only will Wilson be facing his former team for the first time, but he'll also be opposed by his replacement in the rotation, Yu Darvish.

The Rangers signed the Japanese import to a six-year, $56 million, a cheaper cost than Wilson though Texas needed to post a $51-plus million posting fee to secure his negotiating rights over other MLB teams.

Darvish, who faces the Angels for the first time, has adjusted to the North American baseball very well, winning his first four decisions before suffering a setback on Sunday at Cleveland.

The 25-year-old righty gave up four runs -- three earned -- over six innings and struck out a career-high 11 batters, giving him 30 punchouts over his past three starts.

"He threw well enough to keep us in the ball game. We just didn't support him with any runs today," Texas manager Ron Washington said about Darvish, who is 4-1 with a 2.54 ERA on the season.

The Angels trail the first-place Ranges by seven games for first place in the division, but have begun to turn things around as of late. They have won four of five and seven of 10 since a 7-15 start, though they have been shut out in each of their past four losses.

That wasn't the case on Wednesday as Mike Trout went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI and two runs scored in a 6-2 win over the Twins.

The 14-hit attack was a welcome sight for winning starter Ervin Santana, who won his first game of the season after throwing 7 1/3 innings of two-run ball. Los Angeles did not score a single run for Santana over his previous five outings.

"We haven't been getting him much support," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said about Santana. "He battled a little bit tonight with command early, but he pitched deep into the game and he did a good job pitching with the lead."

Pujols added two hits and a pair of runs driven in, making him 4-for-18 with a homer and six RBI in four games since getting the night off on Saturday.

Like the rest of the American League, Pujols is looking up in the statistical categories at Texas' Josh Hamilton, who leads the majors with a .395 batting average, 15 homers and 38 RBI. He went 8-for-17 with six homers and 12 RBI in the Rangers' four-game series with the Orioles, belting a two-run homer to help them take the nightcap of yesterday's doubleheader, 7-3, and three of four in the series.

"We've been playing good baseball against a pretty good baseball team. They challenged us in all four of the games we were here and we were fortunate enough to get three of them," said Rangers manager Ron Washington.

Texas lost the opener 6-5 after starter Colby Lewis gave up five homers despite striking out a career-high 12.

Elvis Andrus has been doing a great job setting the table for Hamilton as he has a 10-game hitting streak and has reached base in 28 straight games.

The Rangers won 12 of 19 over the Angels last season, though was just 5-4 against them in Texas.

05/11 10:35:31 ET