(Sports Network) - Matt Garza tries to pitch the Texas Rangers to their fourth
straight win on Thursday when they open a four-game series with the Los
Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Texas enters this series one game back of the second wild card spot in the
American League after sweeping the Houston Astros. The Rangers, though, failed
to gain any ground on the wild card leaders - the Cleveland Indians and Tampa
Bay Rays - both of whom are in the midst of six-game winning streaks.
"You just get the mentality of taking care of the business that's in front of
you," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "If we can continue to win ballgames,
I don't care what they do. And if they win out the streak and we win out the
string also, then that's just the way it is."
Now the Rangers close their regular season against the Angels, a team that it
has beaten in 11 of 15 matchups this season. However, Los Angeles has played
as well as anyone of late and comes into this series having gone 23-9 since
Aug. 23, while winning nine of its last 10 series after taking two of three
from the AL West champion Oakland Athletics.
"I expected them to play the way they are a lot earlier than this," Washington
said of the Angels. "Those young kids they have been running out there have
been playing good baseball, and their starting pitching has been good. They're
playing Angels baseball. But I still think we can beat them."
Garza had been 0-4 with a 5.83 ERA in his previous five starts before beating
Kansas City on Saturday, as he allowed a run and five hits over eight innings.
He is 4-5 with a 4.56 ERA since being acquired by Chicago.
"You're the only one who can do it," Garza said of bouncing back. "I just got
back to being comfortable, back to being who I was. It's a lot funnier this
way. I can enjoy it a little more.
"I've just got to keep it simple. That's kind of been my whole thing and it's
kind of who I am. ... It's no time to work on anything anymore."
Los Angeles, meanwhile, will hopefully counter with righty Jerome Williams,
who has won his last four starts. Williams gave up a run in 5 2/3 innings in a
win over Seattle on Saturday, but walked five batters.
"I always want to go out there and do my best," Williams said. "I've had a
couple of rough stretches, and now I just want to finish strong and end this
season on a good note."
However, Williams, who won a career-high five consecutive starts as a rookie
with San Francisco from June 21-July 12, 2003, hurt his foot earlier in the
week and may not be able to go on Thursday.
If Williams can't go, Angels manager Mike Scioscia could turn to matt
Shoemaker, Tommy Hanson or Joe Blanton.
The Sports Network