UPDATE (June 3): The Phillies will switch their rotation up and start Vance Worley in Monday's contest against the Dodgers. Worley has been on the DL with elbow problems, and is expected to be on a short pitch count for the game.
Steady as she goes for Mike Scioscia and the Los Angeles Angels who wrap up an important home series with their division rivals from Texas on Sunday.
The Angels fired the first salvo in the series with a 4-2 victory Friday night. Priced as +115 underdogs, Scioscia's troops rallied from an early 2-0 hole behind Mike Trout's bat and the bullpen backed Jerome Williams' fine start to seal the deal.
Texas was again a small favorite in Game 2 on Saturday that featured a mound duel between Yu Darvish and former Rangers hurler CJ Wilson. It will be Wilson's third start against his former mates in the Angels' first five meetings this year with Texas. Those results were still pending with most outlets on the Don Best odds screen showing 7½-runs for the total.
Sunday's series-ender is set for 3:35 p.m. (ET) and pits Texas southpaw Matt Harrison against Dan Haren.
Haren has really turned things around his last two times out after a rough beginning. He didn't pitch that poorly in all of his initial nine starts, but the results still weren't there with the Angels 1-8 in those contests. A 14-K shutout at Seattle and seven innings of 1-run ball Tuesday at home vs. the Yankees point to much better times ahead for Haren and his backers.
It's going to be especially important that Haren pick up slack as the ace or stopper in the Angels rotation while Jered Weaver is on the disabled list nursing a sore back. Haren missed the Rangers in Arlington during the mid-May set, and Texas has kicked him around pretty good the last three times they've faced him (Angels 1-2, Haren 8.63 ERA).
Harrison suffered the loss in the only game the Angels won in Texas a few weeks ago. The southpaw came out for the seventh, put two runners on and left with the score tied two-all before both eventually made a full 360 around the bases and scored on sac flies in a 4-2 Halos victory.
He made his major league debut against the Angels and won that assignment back in July 2008, but the Rangers are 1-3 in his four starts vs. their lineup since then with most of his work in 2009 against them from the 'pen. This will be just his second career start at the Big A, and his other happens to be his only victory in the series since his big league debut (Sept. 2011, 6 IP, 1 ER).
Dodgers Continue Road Trip In Philly
A couple of old National League rivals get together for the first time this season on Monday when the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the Philadelphia Phillies. The 4-game series gets underway with a couple of big names on the hill and ESPN will provide coverage beginning at 7:00 p.m. (ET).
The Dodgers just embarked on a long 10-game trek that started in Colorado this weekend and will eventually take them to Seattle next weekend. Los Angeles was struggling with seven losses among its last nine games entering Saturday's match with the Rockies, and the Dodgers' lead in the NL West had shrunk to four over the Giants.
The Phillies, meanwhile, had won seven of their last nine before Saturday's clash against the Miami Marlins. They're last in the NL East, but with only 2.5-games between themselves and the front-running Washington Nationals.
Los Angeles will pin its hopes Monday on Clayton Kershaw while the Phils send Cliff Lee to the bump at Citizens Bank Park.
Lee remains winless on the season despite decent stats such as a 3.00 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP that ranked 11th among all major league hurlers when play started Saturday. The Phillies have won three of his last four assignments, however, and he has all but owned the Dodgers over his career. Dating back to his time in Cleveland, his teams are a perfect 3-0 when Lee takes the mound vs. LA and his ERA stands at 0.40 in those contests.
The Dodgers won Kershaw's first five starts of the campaign, but went 2-4 with him toeing the rubber in May, including losses for the lefty in his last two assignments. Los Angeles is 0-5 in his last five tries against the Phils, and 0-3 when he starts at CBP where he has a 6.89 ERA.
Citizens Bank Park has been unkind to the Dodgers overall since opening in 2004. The Phillies are 15-10 against LA in regular season action on the diamond, 20-10 when including 2008-09 NLCS games. Philadelphia will begin play Monday having won nine of the last 11 vs. LA.