Washington says two of three is a must

Washington says two of three is a must

ARLINGTON -- Manager Ron Washington has an idea of what the Rangers need to do against the Angels this weekend.

"We've got to win two out of three, that's for sure," Washington said.

Asked if that would be good enough to catch the Angels, Washington said, "Probably not. But if we can win the series, I'll be happy with that. If we get lucky and win all three, great. But I would sure like to win two out of three."

That may not be a modest goal, considering the Rangers were unable to at least take two of three in the first two series of the homestand. But there's no doubt the Rangers will have to do much better when they host the Angels for a three-game series that starts on Friday night at the Ballpark in Arlington.

Tommy Hunter pitches the first game for the Rangers, who still have a chance to run down the Angels in the American League West. But they have been waiting for this series and pointing to this series for a long time. But they have left themselves little margin for error.

"Obviously it's a big series," third baseman Michael Young said. "We have to find a way to win games. They are playing well, and they have a sizable lead. But we've got to find a way to chip away."

The Rangers -- 9-3 against the Angels this year, including 5-1 at home -- still cling to the hope that their postseason hopes are still very much alive, although this homestand has not gone the way they had hoped.

"Absolutely, yes," catcher Ivan Rodriguez said. "We've just got to keep playing. Right now, we have been going through a tough time, but we have to stay strong. We're still strong, and we've got some games left.

"This is going to be a big series. The games are going to be big. But we have to take it a game at a time, an inning at a time, a pitch at a time, an at-bat at a time and play our game. It's going to be big."

The Rangers are expecting good crowds for all three games. As of Wednesday evening, there were only 15,000 tickets left for Friday and Sunday, while Saturday's game was down to obstructed-view, standing-room-only and scattered single tickets.

The Rangers are encouraging fans to wear red for all three games. The Rangers will be wearing their alternate red jerseys for the entire series.

There will be fireworks after Friday's game, and the ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by South Korean professional golfer Y.E. Yang, a Southlake resident who recently won the PGA Open.

Saturday's game has been moved up to 6:05 p.m. CT and will be preceded by a MercyMe concert at 4:05 p.m. on the North Lawn. The concert is free to all persons holding a ticket for that night's game.

Sunday's game has been moved from a 2:05 to 12:05 p.m. starting time because of the Dallas Cowboys game that night at nearby Cowboys Stadium. Rangers' parking lots will open at 9 a.m. on Sunday. Parking rates for the Cowboys games will go into effect on all Rangers Ballpark lots at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Those prices can range from $20-$60 depending on location.

There will be a postgame concert on the North Lawn with Brandon Rhyder.

Pitching matchup
TEX: RHP Tommy Hunter (8-3, 3.23 ERA)
Hunter tossed the first complete game of his career on Sunday, using his changeup and curveball to keep Seattle's hitters off balance in a 7-2 victory. He needed only 102 pitches, recording four innings in which he made less than 10. Hunter allowed six hits, five of them singles, and has seven wins since being called up from Triple-A Oklahoma on June 28.

LAA: LHP Scott Kazmir (8-8, 5.32 ERA)
Kazmir was acquired from the Rays on Aug. 28 and is 0-1 with a 1.86 ERA in three starts for the Angels. However the Angels are 2-1 in his three starts. He is 4-2 with a 3.51 ERA in his last nine starts, allowing 47 hits and 16 walks over 56 1/3 innings while striking out 47. One of those victories was a 5-3 win over the Rangers on Aug. 21, when he allowed three runs in 7 1/3 innings. Kazmir is 5-1 with a 2.88 ERA against the Rangers in five career starts.

Justin Smoak has six home runs for Team USA in the Baseball World Cup in Italy. ... The Rangers scored 700 runs in their first 144 games. They need 100 runs in their final 18 games to reach 800 on the season. The Rangers have scored 800 runs in 13 straight seasons.

 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• 105.3 The Fan, KFLC 1270 (Español)

Up next
• Saturday: Rangers (Scott Feldman, 16-5, 3.65) vs. Angels (Jered Weaver, 15-6, 3.85), 6:05 p.m. CT
• Sunday: Rangers (Derek Holland, 7-11, 6.01) vs. Angels (John Lackey, 10-8, 3.47), 12:05 p.m. CT
• Monday: Rangers (Kevin Millwood, 10-10, 3.94) at Athletics (Dana Eveland, 1-3, 7.26), 9:05 p.m. CT

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.