And once again…they failed.
The last time these two teams got together in Anaheim, the Angels took the first game in dominating fashion leading many in Southern California to label the win as a dose of reality to the Rangers and their fans.
The Rangers responded by winning the next two and passing the Angels in the standings. The series served as a mechanism for asserting themselves back into the AL West race.
Now, flash forward to Friday night, where the Angels were presented with an even better opportunity to put the West race on ice.
A sweep and the Angels bury the Rangers 7.5 games back with little time left in the season. Simply taking two of three would give the Angels a comfortable 5.5 game lead.
The Angels opened the series with Joe Saunders on the hill and the struggling lefty would not last long as the Rangers hammered the Angels from the outset. A four run first inning set the table for a five home run outburst and an 11-6 victory.
The Angels bounced back Saturday afternoon.
Taking advantage of a mistake pitch by reliever Eddie Guardado and an outstanding performance by Jered Weaver, the Angels got back on track with a 3-2 win.
The win on Saturday set the Angels up for a series win as the Angels were to face the Rangers electric rookie Derek Holland in the series finale. With veteran John Lackey taking the mound, the Angels were confident of taking the series.
Derek Holland and the Rangers had other plans.
Holland and Lackey matched each other through the third inning before a two out error by Bobby Abreu in right field put the Rangers up early 2-0.
Those two runs would be all the rookie lefty would need.
Taking a no-hitter into the sixth, Holland finally gave up a single with two outs to Maicer Izturis. It would be one of only three singles Holland gave up in a brilliant performance punctuated by a strike-out of Ranger killer Vladimir Guerrero.
Thanks to Holland, the Rangers bullpen took a much needed afternoon off, until CJ Wilson gave the rookie the traditional “pie in the face” after a post game interview.
Unless the Rangers suffer a setback in Cleveland, the weekend series with the Red Sox at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington will be pivotal for both teams.
However, thanks to a successful weekend in Anaheim, the Rangers aren’t thinking about the Wild Card. They’ve got their eyes on an even bigger prize.
Michael Young, one of the few left from the Rangers last pennant chase in 2004, told MLB.com, "We're focused on the division, which is good. If we go out and just play well, the Wild Card will take care of itself. Our goal is just to make the playoffs."
A trip to the playoffs can go through the West or the Wild Card now, thanks to another failed attempt by the Angels to bury the Rangers.