The Angels lead the Majors with a 22-9 record since June 6. But in their last 18 road games, they've gone 6-12. And it doesn't help that they've lost eight straight at Globe Life Park dating back to April 2013.
If they're going to reverse their luck against the Rangers in Texas, starter Hector Santiago will have to find a way to win the first game of a four-game series on Thursday. The southpaw is 0-7 with a 4.50 ERA this season, and in his last start on Saturday against Houston, he allowed five runs on six hits in five innings.
He was going to be removed from the rotation, leaving it to Matt Shoemaker to open the series against the Rangers. But Shoemaker had to relieve Jered Weaver after he left Monday's start with a back strain.
Santiago has not won a game since Aug. 18, 2013, as a member of the White Sox. In his last start against Texas in May, he took a loss after giving up five runs in six innings.
"I think, overall, Hector's still making progress," manager Mike Scioscia said. "[He's made] some good pitches, and I think that's what's a bit frustrating for Hector, is the ability to put together a whole game. It seems like he just gets to that one stretch where some of his pitches aren't where they need to be and he pays a big price for it."
Meanwhile, with an 8-4 loss to the Astros, Wednesday, the Rangers fell to 1-8 in July, and that lone win came when Thursday starter Colby Lewis last took the mound against the Mets on Saturday. He pitched solidly through six innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on eight hits in his sixth win of the season. After a leadoff homer by Travis d'Arnaud in the fourth, Lewis retired nine of the final 11 batters he faced. It was his second straight quality start.
"It's not walking guys. When you don't put guys on, guys don't score," Lewis said about the adjustments he's made recently. "I know I'm gonna give my hits up. It's just when you put those free passes on and then you give up hits, those walks become runs. Keep those guys off the basepaths."
Lewis hasn't issued a walk in three consecutive outings, but he's posted high pitch counts all season without getting too deep into ballgames. On Saturday, he tossed 102 pitches in six innings. Lewis hasn't thrown seven innings since June 17, 2012, the same year in which he sustained a hip injury that kept him out of the Majors until this season.
Lewis is 1-4 with a 6.54 ERA in eight starts at home this season. His team hasn't fared much better in Arlington, as the Rangers are 18-26 (.409) at home this season. That's the lowest home winning percentage in the American League and third-lowest in the Majors.
Angels: Halos rolling with 13 arms
With the recent recall of reliever Cam Bedrosian, the Angels moved to a seven-man bullpen and will continue to use a six-man rotation until the All-Star break.
Scioscia said the Angels would likely keep the same 13 pitchers, one more than normal rosters, through the series against the Rangers.
"When you're going into Texas, I think you're always better having two or three more innings in a game as opposed to trying to stretch guys," Scioscia said. "That ballpark is not a forgiving park as far as pitch counts, so we'll most likely start this series tomorrow with the same roster as far as pitchers."
Rangers: Washington impressed with Mendez
Right-handed reliever Roman Mendez made his Major League debut Tuesday night against the Astros, pitching two scoreless innings to become just the third pitcher in club history to throw at least two innings without a hit in his debut.
The 23-year-old Mendez was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock on Monday. He lived up to Rangers manager Ron Washington's expectations of him, while also adding in a few surprises.
"They said he was throwing strikes, getting his slider across the plate, and that's what he did [Tuesday] night -- attacked the zone," Washington said. "Now I didn't know he threw it 97 [mph]. ... When he popped 97 last night, I asked [pitching coach] Mike [Maddux], 'He throws 97?' He said yeah."
• The Angels swept the Rangers in Anaheim in June and lead the season series, 4-2.
• The Rangers have played a lot of long games this season, but their loss Wednesday was completed in swift fashion compared to the way it's been going for the team. The game was decided in three hours and five minutes, snapping a streak of seven straight game lasting 3 hours and 10 minutes or longer. This season, Texas had played 17 nine-inning games that have lasted 3 1/2 hours or more, which was fourth in the Majors to Tampa (23), Colorado (20) and Houston (18) entering Wednesday.
Maria Torres is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.