Rangers in Anaheim Weekend Series Preview

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 21: Elvis Andrus #1 of the Texas Rangers is tagged out by third baseman Alberto Callaspo #6 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on a steal attempt in the first inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 21, 2011 in Anaheim, California. The Angels defeated the Rangers 1-0. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Let's not kid ourselves, this weekend is an important series. Anything less than winning two games is just about handing Texas the American League West. and don't look now, but the hottest team in baseball is just behind us as the Oakland Athletics are suddenly sizzling along with the weather.

  • If we sweep the Rangers we will be three games behind them.
  • If we take two games this weekend we will be five games back of the Rangers.
  • If they take two we will be seven back.
  • If they sweep we are nine games behind.

These are radically different realities. We can avoid the moshpit frenzy of the Wild Card race with a dominant weekend. We could be lost in the chaos if we sputter. So look ahead and hope for the best:

FRIDAY NIGHT GAME: Derek Holland versus Jered Weaver ...The semi-mustachioed lefty has been decidedly average this season and spent time of the DL to boot. Weaver is coming off of his worst start of the season, giving up five runs to the Yankees in homer happy Pottytrained Park of the Bronx, kinda like a two run game anywhere else.

SATURDAY DAY GAME: Yu Darvish versus Ervin Santana ...That this is a day game and will be like a hundred degrees and totally dry takes the cool, moist night air away form Ervin and will let the fly balls fly. Darvish has been typical of Japanese pitchers headed to the US - lotsa walks. The Angels are not a patient bat-on-the-shoulder team. With his 4.7 BB per 9 IP, the Angels could craft some baserunners. This culd be a crazy, high-scoring game.

SUNDAY NIGHT GAME: Matt Harrison versus Dan Haren ...If you lost all faith in Dirty Dan this his chance to receive redemption this is the last train to Clarksville... will he meet us at the station of hope? Meanwhile Matt Harrison is one of those non-star quiet aces having an absolutely dominating season.

For all the talk about the Rangers big bats, they have been positively slumpalicious outside of Jetstream stadium but their pitching has been the key to their dominance throughout the league. We can hope, we can wish and we can pray, but if this is the last hour of hope in a 2012 division title, it was fun while it lasted.

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