The Texas Rangers' struggles at the plate have their usually mild-mannered manager Ron Washington steaming, while the Los Angeles Angels' offense may be without one of its top sluggers for the remainder of the season.
Both lineups could have some difficulty producing as Matt Garza opposes Jered Weaver in Monday night's series opener in Arlington.Texas (56-49) has lost 12 of 15 and is six games back of first-place Oakland in the AL West. It fell 1-0 on Saturday and 6-0 on Sunday, tying a season worst with two hits in the finale as Cleveland swept the three-game set.The Rangers' 21-inning scoreless streak is their longest since going 25 without a run from Sept. 15-19, 2009, and they've been shut out in three of their last four games."I don't get frustrated, but I am a little upset," Washington said. "I need to get my guys going back down the yellow brick road."Washington closed the clubhouse for 44 minutes after the game to hold a team meeting."We've been kind of up and down (with our effort) this year," said left fielder David Murphy, who is 2 for 14 over his last six games. "After the meeting, I think everyone is on the same page now and we can get back on track."The Angels (48-55) will be looking to do the same after dropping the final three of their four-game series with Oakland. They fell 10-6 on Sunday after Albert Pujols was placed on the 15-day disabled list with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, which has plagued him for most of 2013.Manager Mike Scioscia said Pujols could miss the rest of the season."This is a big blow to our team right now," Scioscia said. "We have to move forward and find a way to generate offense that will support the good pitching that we need. It's naturally something you would hope could have made it through to the offseason, but it didn't happen and you just have to move on."Weaver (5-5, 2.98 ERA) has supplied that solid pitching lately, going three of his last four starts without allowing a run. He struck out nine and gave up just two hits through eight innings of Wednesday's 1-0 win over Minnesota.The right-hander is 4-1 with a 1.32 ERA over his last six outings, with four of his six runs allowed in that stretch coming in a loss to Seattle on July 13."You go about every game the same way regardless of if you've lost seven in a row or won seven in a row," Weaver said. "You go out there and battle and try to win games. That's your job as a starting pitcher."Weaver struggled against the Rangers on April 7, giving up five runs and walking four in five innings of a 7-3 loss, ending his four-start winning streak versus Texas.Garza (1-0, 0.00 ERA) has been just has hot, winning six straight starts while posting a 1.23 ERA after a dominant performance in his Rangers debut after being acquired from the Chicago Cubs. The right-hander allowed an unearned run and five hits over 7 1/3 innings to beat the New York Yankees 3-1 on Wednesday."I couldn't be more happy being in a place where I'm at, a place where I'm wanted, been wanted. It's awesome," Garza, who is 7-1 with a 2.87 ERA in 12 overall starts, said after that outing.Garza faced the Angels for the first time in more than three years while with the Cubs on June 5, allowing four runs -- including a two-run homer to Howie Kendrick -- in 6 1/3 innings of Chicago's 8-6, 10-inning victory. He's 0-1 with a 5.83 ERA in five career starts versus Los Angeles.Kendrick is 5 for 6 lifetime off Garza, while Elvis Andrus is hitting .371 with two homers versus Weaver.
Weaver has allowed 1 or fewer ER in 5 of his last 6 starts. He's been utilizing his curveball noticeably more often to neutralize left-handed batters. It's also worth noting the pitch has had a greater break on it during this `good' stretch, and it's ending up just out of the strike zone more often.