Tune in at 7:05 PM ET as the Angels take on the Rangers. Callum Hughson will be liveblogging for your enjoyment.
Set to begin a key four-game road set against the AL West leaders, the Los Angeles Angels have picked a bad time for their bats to go cold. Things won't get any easier if star rookie Mike Trout remains out of the lineup.
After being shut out in back-to-back games, the Angels look to get back on track tonight against the Texas Rangers.
Los Angeles (55-47) scored six or more runs three times while winning four of five before being shut out in two straight games by Tampa Bay over the weekend. The Angels were held to nine hits in those defeats, including four during Sunday's 2-0 loss that spoiled Zack Greinke's Los Angeles debut.
Los Angeles, which has not been shut out in three straight games since June 24-26, 1978, hopes Trout returns after missing the finale because of a knee injury suffered in Saturday's 3-0 defeat. Trout, who turns 21 on Aug. 7, is batting an AL-best .350 with 16 homers, 49 RBIs and 31 stolen bases.
He's hit .441 (15 for 34) to help the Angels go 5-4 against Texas (59-41) in 2012.
Third in the West, Los Angeles trails Texas by five games. Though the Angels lead the season series, they allowed 25 runs while dropping two of three at Texas in May.
Ervin Santana (4-10, 6.00 ERA), who allowed six runs and three homers in 1 2/3 innings of a 9-2 home loss to the Rangers in his last outing July 21, might need a strong performance to remain in the Angels' rotation. The right-hander is 0-3 with a 9.41 ERA in five starts since beating Arizona on June 16, and 1-1 with an 11.00 ERA in his last four road starts.
While stars Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Michael Young are each hitting .360 or better versus Santana, Josh Hamilton has batted .212 (7 for 33) against him. Mired in a 1-for-21 slump, Hamilton is batting .115 (7 for 61) with 20 strikeouts in his last 17 games overall.
However, he still remains a concern for Scioscia and the Angels.
Texas avoided a three-game sweep by Chicago with a 2-0 win Sunday. Scott Feldman pitched eight strong innings and David Murphy had three hits for the Rangers, who have not won consecutive games since July 15-17.
Texas went 1 for 31 with runners in scoring position against the White Sox.
Texas' Roy Oswalt (3-1, 5.22) makes his first start in 12 days and first career appearance against the Angels in the opener. The right-hander missed his last start because of tightness in his back but appears ready to give it a go Monday.
Oswalt has allowed one run in each of his last two outings, the most recent over 6 1/3 innings of a 6-1 win at Oakland on July 17.
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Los Angeles Angels
We're moments away from Oswalt's first pitch. He'll face Trout, Hunter and Pujols in the top of the 1st inning.
Oswalt's first pitch to Trout is a fastball that catches the outside corner for a strike and we're underway!
Mike Trout grounds out to the Rangers' shortstop Elvis Andrus for the 1st out. That brings up Angels' CF Torii Hunter.
Hunter follows suit with a groundball to short of his own. With 2 down, Albert Pujols comes up.
Pujols hits a liner to LF but David Murphy loses the ball in the sun. The ball rolls to the wall and Pujols is safe at 2B with a 2-out double.
Morales strikes out swinging on a slow, 70mph curveball for the 3rd out.
The Rangers will send Kinsler, Andrus and Beltre to the plate in the home-half of the 1st inning.
Ian Kinsler grounds out to Alberto Callaspo at 3B for the 1st out. Elvis Andrus will come to the plate to face Ervin Santana.
Andrus hits a flyball to deep RF but Torii Hunter is there to make the catch for the 2nd out. Adrian Beltre will come to the plate.
Beltre has hit safely in 16 of the last 20 games. That's probably why he's batting 3rd in the lineup today.
Beltre strikes out looking. Inning over. It's a rare 1-2-3 inning for Angels' pitcher Ervin Santana.
Callaspo, Kendrick and Izturis will lead off the 2nd inning for the Halos.
Callaspo grounds out to first base... for the first out. That brings up Howie Kendrick.
Oswalt is doing a good job of moving his fastball in and out of the zone. He gets Kendrick on a groundout to 3B for the 2nd out. Maicer Izturis will now bat.
Izturis steps into an Oswalt fastball and hits a rare homerun; a solo shot. That's Izturis's 2nd home run of the year.
Peter Bourjos grounds out to SS for the 3rd out. The Rangers will send Cruz, Hamilton and Young to the plate in the bottom of the 2nd inning.
Nelson Cruz works a leadoff walk. It looked like Ervin Santana was a little gun-shy when pitching to Cruz. Santana should know more than anyone: walks will come back to haunt you.
Josh Hamilton laces a double down the left-field line. The Rangers have runners and 2nd & 3rd with nobody out and Michael Young at bat.
The Rangers are 0 for their last 29 with runners in scoring position.
Michael Young looking very defensive in his approach this at bat.
Make that 1 for 30 as Michael Young hits a sac fly to RF to score Nelson Cruz. As is usually the case, the leadoff walk comes around to score. The game is now tied at 1-1 and David Murphy will bat with 1 out.
Murphy hits a line drive to LF and this time it is Mike Trout who loses it in the sun! Another run scores to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead on the Murphy double.
With a runner on 2nd & 1 out, Mike Napoli will come to the plate.
Napoli flies out to CF for out #2. That will bring up Mitch Moreland.
Moreland strikes out and the inning is over.