The Angels have dropped each of Ervin Santana’s last five assignments.
A big series in the AL West is getting underway Monday night as the Los Angeles Angels travel to Texas to take on the Rangers.
Texas will begin the series with Roy Oswalt on the mound after he missed his last start due to some back problems which have bugged him throughout his career. Los Angeles counters with Ervin Santana, and manager Mike Scioscia has already said Santana will work no more than 15 outs.
ESPN will televise the contest beginning at 7:00 p.m. (ET).
The Angels were finishing up a key series in Tampa Bay on Sunday before flying west to Texas for this crucial 4-game set. Texas was at home vs. the Chicago White Sox, and dropped the first two games of that series to see their AL West lead shrink to 3.5-games over the Oakland Athletics who have been steadily climbing up the ranks in July. The Halos were a half-game back of the A's entering Sunday.
Los Angeles dealt for right-hander Zack Greinke from the Milwaukee Brewers over the weekend, further fortifying an already impressive rotation. Greinke, who will be a free agent at the end of this season, joins a staff that includes Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and lefty CJ Wilson who was signed away from the Rangers last offseason.
Santana is definitely at the end of the rotation now, and he could be completely out of the mix if his recent ways continue. He failed to make it through the second inning vs. Texas in Anaheim last week, the second time in three starts that Santana couldn't get six outs before departing.
The Angels have lost his last five assignments, a stretch that began after Santana tossed a 1-hit shutout against the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 16. Opponents have plated 23 runs (21 earned) and clubbed five homers over his last four outings which have totaled just 14 innings.
Santana's last five trips to the mound in the Lone Star State have produced a 5.85 ERA and a 2-3 record for the Angels.
Texas has won all three of Oswalt's home starts since he joined the big league roster on June 22. The veteran was shelled by the White Sox in Chicago on July 3, but his two assignments since have seen Oswalt combine to allow just two runs in 12 innings, the Rangers grabbing the dubya in each contest (vs. Twins, at A's).
Monday will mark Oswalt's first career appearance vs. the Angels, leaving just three current MLB franchises he has yet to face (Boston, Cleveland and Houston).
The Angels own a slight 5-4 advantage in the nine games played between the division rivals this season. taking four of six in Anaheim while the Rangers won two of three in Texas. The 'over' also was a winner in two of the three played at Rangers Ballpark in May.
Temperatures are expected to climb well past the triple-digit mark in Arlington on Monday, with a high of 107º in the forecast. The thermometer should still read 100 for the first pitch.