A less mighty pen, and other stuff.

Texas is now five up on the Angels, matching the largest division lead of the season, a perch the Rangers held for one day in July – at the conclusion of their 12-game win streak and the day before they squandered a sixth-inning, 8-3 lead in Anaheim and lost, 9-8.

The great Hunter Covitz noted that, despite the surface fact that this series has the Angels at home, Los Angeles had to travel across the country from Toronto to face a Rangers club that was already on the West Coast heading into the series.  And the old baseball maxim is that the physical effects of a demanding travel schedule like that often hit a team in the second game after arrival, not the first.  So there’s that.

The Angels are expected to recall two minor league relievers for tonight’s game, after burning through the bullpen for 8.1 innings last night.  Here’s another good (likely) fact: Joel Pineiro looked outstanding over the final three innings, but the likelihood is that he’ll move back into the rotation to replace Garrett Richards, who exited with a groin strain after facing four Rangers last night.  So essentially, the Angels pen not only gets watered down with the arrival tonight of two new relievers, but Pineiro is probably done for the series as he prepares to make the Los Angeles start this Sunday (against Baltimore’s Tommy Hunter), emasculating the Los Angeles relief corps even further (though Ervin Santana and Jered Weaver shouldn’t need much help tomorrow and Thursday).

No matter what happens over these next three, Texas assured itself last night that it will emerge from this series still alone in first place.

See you tonight at the Twitter sports bar for another Game-Watching Party.

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