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09/19/10 7:36 PM ET

First-place Rangers face K artist Weaver

The Angels, the three-time defending American League West champs, are not just going to hand over the division title to the Rangers. They are going to make them earn it.

The Rangers would not have it any other way.

On Monday, the reigning champs and the AL West leaders will square off in a battle for division pride. It's also going to be a familiar sight down the stretch. Of the Angels' final 13 games of the season, seven of them will come against the Rangers.

The Rangers have had the upper hand so far, going 7-5 against the Angels this season, including a 2-4 record in two series in Anaheim. However, Texas has been outscored in those games, 48-46.

But none of those statistics will matter Monday. The fact that the Angels trail the Rangers by 11 games in the division is also probably of little consequence to Los Angeles starter Jered Weaver. Weaver will be making his 19th career start against Texas and his fifth this year. Overall, he is 2-1 with a 3.65 ERA against Texas this season, and 6-4 with a 3.64 ERA in his career. He has one complete game and 100 strikeouts against the Rangers, the most strikeouts against any opponent for the right-hander.

Weaver has been on a roll. He has allowed just one run in his past 15 innings and leads the Major Leagues with 218 strikeouts.

Every start from now on is the most important start of the season for Rangers starter Derek Holland. The left-hander is the fifth starter in the rotation and could be left off the postseason roster.

Against Detroit on Tuesday, Holland lasted just four innings, allowing four runs on four hits and two walks while striking out five, but a solid performance Monday could only bolster his value down the stretch.

Overall, Holland is 3-2 with a 5.23 ERA in four career starts and two relief appearances against the Angels.

Rangers: Hamilton up in the air
The Rangers still expect Josh Hamilton (bruised rib cage) to be ready by the time the playoffs starts. They also know there is a possibility he won't be available. ... Catcher Bengie Molina admitted that he has been dealing with a painfully sore left elbow since early May. ... Frank Francisco (strained rib cage muscle) is planning to start playing catch in the outfield on Monday. He has been sidelined since Aug. 28.

Angels: Abreu hits milestones
Bobby Abreu hit his 19th and 20th home runs of the season Saturday, his 15th career multi-home run game and his first since July 2, 2009, against Baltimore. The homers mark his ninth season with at least 20 home runs. He now has nine seasons with 20 homers and 20 steals in his career, the third most in Major League history behind Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonds, who each accomplished the feat 10 times.

Worth noting
Angels starting pitchers have compiled a 2.42 ERA since Aug 29, best in the Major Leagues in this 19-game stretch. They have held the opposition to two earned runs or fewer in 17 of their past 22 games. ... The Angels have won seven of their past 10 games. ... Texas closer Neftali Feliz has recorded 36 saves, one shy of the Major League record for a rookie set by the Mariners' Kazuhiro Sasaki in 2000.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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