Eleven games into the 2018 season, the Los Angeles Angels look as if they will have a team that can contend for the American League West, and maybe more.
The Texas Rangers, conversely, have more questions than answers, and will be without one of their best players when the two teams meet on Tuesday at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, for the second game of their three-game series.
The Angels will send left-hander Tyler Skaggs (1-0, 1.64 ERA) to the mound to oppose Rangers’ left-hander Martin Perez (1-0, 5.06 ERA) on Tuesday.
Los Angeles (8-3) took the series opener 8-3 on Monday behind a 13-hit attack and 4 1/3 innings of one-run, four-hit work from starting pitcher Garrett Richards. Jose Alvarez (1-0), the second of six Angels’ pitchers, got the win with just 2/3 of an inning of work.
Zack Cozart, Albert Pujols, Kohl Calhoun, Andrelton Simmons and Martin Maldonado each had two hits for the Angels in the win. Maldonado drove in two runs and Simmons scored three times.
Doug Fister (1-2) took the loss for the Rangers (4-8) after giving up three runs on six hits in five innings. The Rangers bullpen gave up five runs; left-hander Jake Diekman allowed the final three on two hits and a walk in the eighth inning while not recording an out.
Texas managed eight hits in the loss, with Nomar Mazara, Joey Gallo, and Robinson Chirinos recording two each. Elvis Andrus added a solo home run and leads the team with a .362 batting average.
Despite the fact that the Angels have won their two straight games and eight of their first 11, all is not rosy with Los Angeles, at least not with the medical report
The team revealed Monday afternoon that right-handed starting pitcher JC Ramirez has been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament and will likely undergo Tommy John surgery,
Ramirez lasted just two innings against Oakland on Saturday in his most recent start, leaving with forearm tightness. The Angels placed him on the disabled list Sunday.
“It’s tough, and it’s a shame,” Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said on Monday. “(Ramirez) worked very, very hard. It definitely knocks the wind out of you when you see a guy who worked as hard as he has and has to miss a whole year.”
All is not well with Texas on the injury front either as it lost second baseman Rougned Odor to a left hamstring pull in the first inning. The Rangers said Odor aggravated an injury from Thursday in Oakland when he tweaked the hamstring stretching for a throw at second base.
Odor’s injury will be re-evaluated on Tuesday.
The Rangers are also playing wait-and-see with right-hander pitcher Tim Lincecum, who postponed a planned bullpen session on Sunday because of continued caution over a blister on his right middle finger.
Lincecum has continued his throwing with a soft rubber ball but hasn’t worked off a mound since Wednesday. Texas is hoping that he can be an option at the beginning of May but that remains an unknown until the blister is completely healed.
“I don’t have any expectations on him at all,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said. “When he gets out from under the medical program, that’s when we’ll start thinking about where he is and have a target date.”
Skaggs will be making his third start of the season and second on the road, He did not factor in the decision in his most recent start against Cleveland on Wednesday after tossing 4 2/3 innings and allowing two earned runs on five hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
In eight career starts versus Texas, Skaggs is 2-2 with a 6.57 ERA. In four starts against the Rangers last year, he went 0-1 with a 7.79 ERA, and in three career starts at Globe Life Park, Skaggs is 1-0 with a 9.00 ERA.
Perez will make his second start of the season and will be working on regular four-days’ rest after earning a win Thursday afternoon in Oakland. In that game, Perez allowed three runs, all earned, on 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings of work, with one strikeout and no walks.
Perez has gone 4-4 with a 3.27 ERA over 12 games, 11 of them starts, in his career versus the Angels. He has nine quality starts against Los Angeles, including in his past two outings, and the Rangers are 6-3 in those contests.