Rangers look to continue turnaround vs. reeling Angels

The Texas Rangers swept the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend, but the defending World Series champions still have much to do toward capturing a second straight title.

Texas is just 42-48 entering Monday’s opener of a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif.

The Rangers have been below .500 since May 21 and are six games back in the American League West.

But at 37-52 and 10 1/2 games back in the AL West, the Angels would likely be giddy to trade places with their division foe.

In fact, Texas’s 13 runs on Sunday are enough to make Los Angeles envious, considering the Angels have scored exactly 13 runs over their past six games.

They’ve been shut out 5-0 in three of their past five games, including Sunday’s road loss to the Chicago Cubs.

The Rangers hope to enter the All-Star break on an upswing, and playing a Los Angeles squad that has lost six of its last seven is an opportunity to do just that.

“It’s an important stretch that we play good baseball,” Texas manager Bruce Bochy said. “We know where we’re at. We have to win ball games. For us to get to where we want to go, sure we have to play well up until the break and then after that obviously. That’s our focus right now, trying to finish strong here.”

The Angels, already without one of their best offensive players this season in Luis Rengifo (inflamed wrist), are hoping they don’t lose another key bat in Taylor Ward.

Ward hurt his left knee trying to make a sliding catch near the left field foul pole at Wrigley Field on Sunday. He remained in the game initially, but was removed for a pinch runner after he singled in the ninth inning.

“I definitely feel sore,” said Ward, who has a team-high 44 RBIs and is tied with Jo Adell for the team lead with 14 home runs. “But not too concerned. I’ll take it day by day.”

Los Angeles third baseman Anthony Rendon, out since April 20 because of a torn left hamstring, could return to the lineup for Monday’s game.

Angels manager Ron Washington said his plan would be to initially start Rendon at third and have him DH the next day.

“Our intention was for him to be ready when we get back,” Washington said. “When we get back, we’ll assess that. And if he’s ready to go, he’ll be in there (Monday). If he’s not ready to go, he’ll be in the next day. … We’ll figure that out once we get back to Anaheim.”

Right-hander Davis Daniel (1-1, 2.70 ERA) will make his third start for Los Angeles since being called up from Triple-A Salt Lake on June 27.

Daniel, 27, twirled eight scoreless innings in his MLB debut but stumbled in his second start last Wednesday against the Oakland Athletics. He was tagged with the loss after allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits over 5 1/3 innings.

Jon Gray (3-4, 3.92 ERA) will start Monday’s game for the Rangers. The right-hander is 0-1 over his past two starts, allowing 11 runs on 16 hits over nine innings.

Gray, 32, is 3-1 with a 3.06 ERA in five career starts against the Angels.

–Field Level Media