Jered Weaver was supposed to start Sunday's series finale against the division-leading Rangers, but a lower-back injury sustained during his last trip to the mound landed him on the 15-day disabled list. As a result, the Angels bumped Haren's start from Monday to Sunday, and the righty is more than happy to step up for the Angels, winners of 10 of their last 11, while Weaver works his way back from the DL.
"It's not like I'm going to put more on my shoulders," Haren said after his last start. "Everybody just has to pick it up a little bit. If we continue playing how we are, it's going to feel so nice when he does come back. It'll be a little shot in the arm."
After dropping the first two games in the series and seeing their lead in the AL West shrink to 3 1/2 games, the Rangers hope to get a shot in the arm from the left arm of Matt Harrison.
Following a rough five-start stretch, spanning the end of April to the middle of May, that saw his ERA balloon from 1.66 to 5.21, Harrison has gotten back on track. During his two most recent starts, Harrison is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA.
While his command has been better of late, Harrison credits much of his turnaround to a faster tempo on the mound.
"The biggest thing is throwing strikes, a quick tempo, being aggressive and not giving hitters a chance to be comfortable," Harrison said. "Right now, I'm pitching at a pace where I'm comfortable. It's made me feel more aggressive on the mound and I'm able to help the defense stay on their toes. I'm able to command my pitches because I'm not overthrowing."
Rangers: Oswalt throws two innings for Round Rock
Four days after signing with the Rangers, right-hander Roy Oswalt made his first appearance for Triple-A Round Rock and worked two innings in the Express' 3-2 win Saturday against Albuquerque.
Oswalt hoped to throw 50 pitches, but only threw 34 during his outing. However, of those 34, 21 went for strikes. He gave up three hits while striking out one and surrendering one walk. After he left the game, he threw 30 additional pitches in the bullpen.
Angels: Trout improving on the basepaths
One of the few knocks on Angels rookie Mike Trout while he was in the Minors was his ability to steal bases. Between 2010 and 2011, he was caught stealing 25 times in 114 attempts. But since he was called up on April 28, he has swiped nine bags in 11 attempts, and manager Mike Scioscia thinks Trout will only continue to improve in that aspect of his game.
"At one time, maybe you saw him not getting a jump, or getting picked off, or over-compensating," Scioscia said. "He's found a comfort level that I think will make him a legitimate basestealing threat. It's definitely something that's a part of his game."
Adrian Beltre is hitting .453 (24-for-53) against Haren in his career. That is the second highest of any opponent against Haren with at least 25 plate appearances. Beltre's .792 slugging percentage against the righty is fourth best.