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Texas at Los Angeles

Venue: Angel Stadium of Anaheim
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Derek Holland's solid start hasn't necessarily surprised Ron Washington, but the Texas Rangers' manager is excited to see consistent improvement in his left-hander.

Los Angeles Angels skipper Mike Scioscia likely wishes he could say the same about Joe Blanton.

Hot-hitting Texas seeks a fourth consecutive victory while ending the host Angels' three-game winning streak in the opener of a three-game series Monday night.

After going 16-5 with a 3.95 ERA in 2011, Holland's numbers slipped last season as he finished 12-7 with a 4.67 ERA. Washington, though, maintained his confidence in Holland heading into this season, and he hasn't disappointed so far while going 1-1 with a 1.64 ERA.

He gave up only two hits while striking out six in seven scoreless innings of a 4-2 win over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday. He's gone at least seven innings in each of his three starts, including allowing two runs in seven frames of Texas' 3-2 win over the Angels on April 5.

"Derek is certainly proving not only to us but to himself that he can be consistent," Washington told the team's official website. "It's nice to see him out there using all his pitches and throwing them for strikes. His breaking ball has much more depth.

"He's much better to me. He's a more polished pitcher. His stuff is consistent and has been consistent since Day 1 of spring training."

Despite his solid performance the last time he faced Los Angeles, the left-hander is 2-2 with a 6.09 ERA over his last five starts versus the Angels. He could be the benefactor, though, of the recently hot Texas offense, which came alive in a big way in Sunday's 11-3 win over Seattle to complete a three-game sweep.

The Rangers (12-6) led the majors in runs scored last season, but the offense sputtered at times before outscoring the Mariners 23-3. Nelson Cruz hit a grand slam while Mitch Moreland, Adrian Beltre and Leonys Martin also homered.

"We definitely took a step forward with the runs we put up over the three games," Moreland said. "If we can keep doing that, and keep taking care of business, and our pitching keeps throwing like they are, I think we'll be all right."

Texas looks to keep rolling as it faces the struggling Blanton, who hasn't gotten off to a very good start in his first season with the Angels.

Blanton has dropped each of his first three outings while posting a dismal 8.59 ERA. He's given up 15 runs in 14 2-3 innings, including four in 4 2-3 of an 8-2 loss to Minnesota last Monday.

"He hasn't been able to command counts the way he can, he hasn't been in good zones as often as he needs to be," Scioscia told the team's official website. "It's in him to be a better pitcher. He'll get there."

The right-hander is 6-2 with a 5.01 ERA in his last nine starts versus the Rangers, though he hasn't faced them since 2008.

Los Angeles (7-10) is coming off a three-game sweep of defending AL champion Detroit, as Mark Trumbo homered leading off the bottom of the 13th on Sunday.

"It was pretty well chronicled that we struggled early on. But three wins against a team of this caliber is an excellent sign," Trumbo said.

Former Ranger Josh Hamilton, hitting .176, went 0 for 5 on Sunday and has just one hit in his last 21 at-bats. He went 3 for 13 against his former team as Texas took two of three from April 5-7.

Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Probable Starters

Derek Holland, LHP
2013 stats
22.0 Innings Pitched 14.2
1-1 Wins-Losses 0-3
1.64 Earned Run Average 8.59
4 Walks 4
15 Strikeouts 8
104 Pitches Per Start 86
Career vs. opponent
97.1 Innings Pitched 73.2
7-5 Wins-Losses 6-4
5.36 Earned Run Average 4.89

Joe Blanton, RHP
Weather
weather image  Partly sunny. Mild.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
72°F54°F8mph/SW57%3%
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Texas3rd AL West2324.4896 ½ 8-2 L 1
Los Angeles3rd AL West2324.4896 ½ 4-6 L 2
 
 

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Injuries
Texas
PlayerInjury
K. BlanksBack
L. BonillaElbow
Y. DarvishElbow
R. DetwilerShoulder
N. FelizSide
M. HarrisonBack
D. HollandShoulder
M. PerezElbow
J. ProfarShoulder
A. RichardsonBack
R. RuaFoot
N. TepeschElbow
Los Angeles
PlayerInjury
C. CowgillWrist
M. MorinOblique
C. RasmusAbdominal
T. SkaggsElbow
 
Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser
May 28LAA10:05 PM EDT  
May 29LAA10:05 PM EDT  
May 30LAA10:05 PM EDT  
May 31LAA 8:05 PM EDT  
Aug 25DET 7:08 PM EDT  
Aug 26DET 7:08 PM EDT  
Aug 27DET 1:08 PM EDT