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American League Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, September 26th (All times Eastern)
LA Angels of Anaheim (78-80) at Texas Rangers (87-71), 8:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: LA Angels - Jerome Williams (9-10, 4.55) Texas - Matt Garza (4-5, 4.56)
(Sports Network) - Matt Garza tries to pitch the Texas Rangers to their fourth straight win on Thursday when they open a four-game series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Texas enters this series one game back of the second wild card spot in the American League after sweeping the Houston Astros. The Rangers, though, failed to gain any ground on the wild card leaders - the Cleveland Indians and Tampa Bay Rays - both of whom are in the midst of six-game winning streaks.
"You just get the mentality of taking care of the business that's in front of you," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "If we can continue to win ballgames, I don't care what they do. And if they win out the streak and we win out the string also, then that's just the way it is."
Now the Rangers close their regular season against the Angels, a team that it has beaten in 11 of 15 matchups this season. However, Los Angeles has played as well as anyone of late and comes into this series having gone 23-9 since Aug. 23, while winning nine of its last 10 series after taking two of three from the AL West champion Oakland Athletics.
"I expected them to play the way they are a lot earlier than this," Washington said of the Angels. "Those young kids they have been running out there have been playing good baseball, and their starting pitching has been good. They're playing Angels baseball. But I still think we can beat them."
Garza had been 0-4 with a 5.83 ERA in his previous five starts before beating Kansas City on Saturday, as he allowed a run and five hits over eight innings. He is 4-5 with a 4.56 ERA since being acquired by Chicago.
"You're the only one who can do it," Garza said of bouncing back. "I just got back to being comfortable, back to being who I was. It's a lot funnier this way. I can enjoy it a little more.
"I've just got to keep it simple. That's kind of been my whole thing and it's kind of who I am. ... It's no time to work on anything anymore."
Los Angeles, meanwhile, will hopefully counter with righty Jerome Williams, who has won his last four starts. Williams gave up a run in 5 2/3 innings in a win over Seattle on Saturday, but walked five batters.
"I always want to go out there and do my best," Williams said. "I've had a couple of rough stretches, and now I just want to finish strong and end this season on a good note."
However, Williams, who won a career-high five consecutive starts as a rookie with San Francisco from June 21-July 12, 2003, hurt his foot earlier in the week and may not be able to go on Thursday.
If Williams can't go, Angels manager Mike Scioscia could turn to matt Shoemaker, Tommy Hanson or Joe Blanton.
09/26 10:42:27 ET