06/30/10 8:06 PM ET
Streaking Hamilton enjoys facing Weaver
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
That's the big question surrounding Rangers left fielder Josh Hamilton's next game, the Thursday series finale against the Angels in Anaheim, as he tries to extend his Major League-leading and personal career-best hitting streak to 24 games.
On the Angels' side, it will be up to ace Jered Weaver to shut down Hamilton and the Rangers, and it won't be an easy task. Hamilton is a career .389 hitter against the right-hander (7-for-18, four doubles) and went 2-for-3 with a double the only time they faced each other this year.
Then again, Weaver, who will be opposed by Rangers lefty C.J. Wilson, is simply a different pitcher than he's been in the past. Handed the reins as the lead horse of the rotation when John Lackey signed with the Red Sox, Weaver has responded with his best statistical campaign to date.
Weaver is on pace for a career year, with an ERA (3.01) and WHIP (1.092) that would qualify as his best by far if they hold up for the remainder of the season. He's also struck out 118 batters in 101 2/3 innings and is leading the American League with 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings. That's All-Star Game-type stuff, but Weaver knows better than to bank on a trip to the Midsummer Classic.
"I got my hopes up last year, and it didn't work out," Weaver said. "I'll take it day by day and see what happens."
Meanwhile, Hamilton is on such a roll that it's looking more likely by the day that he'll make another All-Star appearance.
He already broke the Rangers record for most hits in a month with 49 in June, eclipsing Mickey Rivers and Frank Catalanotto, who each had 47 in August 1980 and August 2001, respectively.
And during his streak, he's been ridiculously hard to retire. He has a .457 batting average (43-for-94) with nine homers and 29 RBIs during the run. Hamilton said his approach has been very simple, starting with his batting-practice routine.
"I think that's helped me the most as far as the mental part of it is batting practice," Hamilton said. "I'm not trying to get too big or hit the ball too far. I'm just squaring the ball up because if I do that in batting practice it'll carry over to the game."
Rangers skipper Ron Washington, though, said the real reason for Hamilton's other-worldly recent success is that the slugger is healthy after battling various injuries last season.
"That's the key -- his health," Washington said. "I think as long as he's healthy, even if he's not as hot as he is right now, he'd still be hurting some people."
Rangers: Wilson finding it again
Wilson is 3-0 with a 3.09 ERA in his past five starts. He allowed seven runs in 4 1/3 innings in a start against the Angels on May 18, but the Rangers rallied for an 8-7 victory. Wilson is 1-2 with a 3.03 ERA in six starts on the road. ... Outfielder Julio Borbon is 2-for-19 in his past five games but has hit safely in 19 of his last 24 games and batted .360 (31-for-86) to raise his batting average from .233 to .282.
Angels: Kendrick in control
Second baseman Howard Kendrick's 49 RBIs rank second in the Majors by a second baseman to the Yankees' Robinson Cano, who has 53. Kendrick has 29 RBIs in his past 32 games. ... In the Angels' 44 wins, starters have a 2.19 ERA (299 1/3 innings, 73 earned runs). In their 36 losses, starters have a 7.63 ERA (192 1/3 innings, 163 earned runs).
Rangers closer Neftali Feliz has retired 19 of 22 batters faced over his past seven outings and has a 1.06 ERA (17 innings, two earned runs) in his past 18 games to lower his ERA from 4.15 to 2.62. Opponents are batting .100 (5-for-55) over that span. ... The Angels have not been swept at home in 77 consecutive series, the longest active home stretch in the Majors and the longest since the 2003-06 Braves went 84 series without being swept. The Major League record is 117 consecutive home series by the 1933-38 Yankees (from STATS LLC).
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.