MLB Game Preview - Angels v Rangers

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Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
LA Angels2 0 0 0 2 0 3 2 0 9142
Texas2 3 1 0 0 3 0 1 x 10111
  W: Á. Cláudio (4-1)   L: C. Bedrosian (4-4)
5:05 PM PT6:05 PM MT7:05 PM CT8:05 PM ET20:05 ET0:05 GMT8:05 5:05 PM MST7:05 PM EST7:35 PM VEN4:05 UAE (+1)7:05 PM CT, September 1, 2017
Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas  Attendance: 32,240

Angels acquire Upton, Phillips before series at Texas

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Angels will start their series Friday night at Globe Life Park in pretty much the same spot they were when they opened a series Aug. 21 in Anaheim.

The Angels are still four games over .500, exactly where they were before dropping three of four to the Rangers. Texas is still one game under .500, exactly where it was when that series began.

The teams are a different, though.

Los Angeles pulled off two key trades Thursday, acquiring outfielder Justin Upton from the Detroit Tigers and second baseman Brandon Phillips from the Atlanta Braves.

The Angels cleared an outfield spot for Upton by letting outfielder Cameron Maybin go to the Houston Astros on a waiver claim.

Those deals, plus the fact the Angels come into the series having won three games in a row, have them feeling good.

"Upton brings a significant presence to the middle of our lineup," general manager Billy Eppler told the Orange County Register. "He's an impact bat. He brings the ability to hit for average, the ability to control the strike zone and the ability to drive the baseball, as well as strong defensive ability, which you know we like here."

Regarding Phillips, Eppler told the Register, "He has elite contact ability and the ability to hit for average. He knows the strike zone. He can contribute big at-bats in big situations. He plays above-average defense. He has experience."

It was unclear if the new additions would immediately be in the lineup to back the Angels' Friday starter, left-hander Tyler Skaggs (1-4, 4.25 ERA).

Since coming off the disabled list in early August, Skaggs is 0-3 with a 4.56 ERA. That ERA is better than his career numbers against Texas. Skaggs has a 5.66 ERA against the Rangers to go along with a 2-2 record. He started the series opener against Texas on Aug. 2 and took the loss, allowing five runs (four earned) in 5 1/3 innings.

Skaggs will square off against Texas lefty Cole Hamels (9-2, 3.78 ERA), who had a solid August start end with a clunker as he was charged with six runs in 4 1/3 innings in a loss at Oakland on Saturday.

Still, Hamels has pitched well against the Angels, going 4-1 with a 2.47 ERA for his career. He was the winning pitcher in the Aug. 21 game against Los Angeles, surrendering two runs in seven innings.

That game started a weird 10-game road stretch for Texas. After the Los Angeles series, the Rangers were swept by Oakland and then took two of three from Houston in a series that was played in St. Petersburg, Fla., because of the impact of Hurricane Harvey.

Texas is happy to be back home after its long trip. The Rangers will play 10 of their next 13 games at home in a bid to get closer in the wild-card race. Texas sits four games behind the Twins, who hold the second American League wild-card position, while the Angels are 1 1/2 games behind Minnesota.

Like the Angels, the Rangers will look different, but not for a good reason. Third baseman Adrian Beltre exited Texas' 5-1 loss to Houston on Thursday with a hamstring injury. He will undergo an MRI on Friday but he doesn't think he can play.

"We're playing so well and pretty much everybody was healthy," Beltre said. "I feel like I'm letting the team down. It's a little disappointing."

The Thursday defeat capped a long 5-5 trip.

"It was a very challenging trip for us," Texas manager Jeff Banister said. "I felt like our guys played well for most of it. Obviously, the three games in Oakland I felt like we should have played better. But to take two of three from Houston is a plus. Now we get three against (the Angels) to see if we can't (gain) a little ground."

Updated September 1, 2017

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