MLB

Rangers-Angels Preview

Offense is a major problem for the Texas Rangers, and they're hoping Josh Hamilton's expected return can solve it.

Having Nick Martinez on the mound is another way around the issue.

With a deal to re-acquire Hamilton reportedly agreed upon, the Rangers will again look to Martinez for another strong performance in order to salvage Sunday's series finale with the Los Angeles Angels.

Texas (6-11) is last in the majors with a .211 batting average and showing few signs of improvement, hitting .198 with eight runs while going 2 for 17 with runners in scoring position during a three-game losing streak.

They're hoping help is on the way, and reportedly a deal that would return Hamilton to Texas from the Angels (9-9) is pending approval due to financial details. The 2010 AL MVP is recovering from shoulder surgery.

The Rangers could've used any help at all in Saturday's 4-1 defeat to the Angels, as seven of their eight hits were singles and they went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position.

"There is the passing of the baton in the positive manner and the passing of the baton in the negative manner," manager Jeff Banister told MLB's official website. "They are all looking to get the big hit and they want to get the big hit. They understand what is at stake. I'm sure the young guys are pressing and the veteran guys are calm. They know it's part of the process."

Texas may not need to do much offensively with Martinez (2-0, 0.45 ERA) getting the ball. The right-hander has allowed one earned run in 20 innings through three starts, and they've all ended in Rangers wins.

Martinez yielded one run in six innings while not figuring in the decision of a 7-1 win at Arizona on Tuesday. That came after he allowed one unearned run in seven innings of an 8-2 win over the Angeles on April 14.

He had lost his two previous starts against them, surrendering eight runs in 12 innings.

The Angels have won three games in a row despite a .202 batting average, thanks to the pitching staff yielding three runs.

"We'll feel better when we get some guys swinging the bats, but we're getting some wins, and hopefully we'll keep it going," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We don't want to rely on our pitchers this much."

Hector Santiago (2-1, 2.45) gets the ball in an effort to win a third straight start for the first time in his career.

The left-hander allowed one run and four hits in seven innings of a 10-2 win at Texas on April 15. He followed that up six days later by yielding one run with eight strikeouts in six innings of a 14-1 victory over Oakland.

"Everything was working, all five or six pitches that I throw, I threw for strikes," Santiago said.

He wasn't anywhere near that effective at home against the Rangers on Sept. 19, getting hammered for seven runs before being pulled with no outs in the second inning of a 12-3 loss.

Santiago has struggled against Adrian Beltre and Prince Fielder. Beltre is 6 for 16 with three homers over the past three seasons against him, while Fielder is 7 for 18 in the overall matchup.

Beltre is starting to turn things around, going 5 for 17 in five games after batting .140 through the first 12.

Fielder, though, leads Texas with a .373 average.

Promoted Stories
Comments

More MLB