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09/22/10 3:20 AM ET

Rangers look to edge closer to title

The Rangers didn't slice anything off their magic number of six to win the American League West on Tuesday night, but they'll get another chance to hasten their seemingly inevitable march into October when they take on the Angels in Anaheim on Wednesday, with left-hander C.J. Wilson taking on Halos righty Dan Haren.

Another intriguing bit of history could take place in the ninth inning of Wednesday's game. If everything falls into place for the Rangers, their dynamic 22-year-old closer, Neftali Feliz, will be primed to go for a Major League record and add to a resume that already has him as a front-runner for AL Rookie of the Year honors.

Feliz has 36 saves, tied with Todd Worrell, who saved 36 for the St. Louis Cardinals as a rookie in 1986, and one shy of the rookie record set by the Mariners' Kazuhiro Sasaki in 2000.

Feliz has been at his best as the season has gotten more intense. He not only has pitched 10 scoreless innings in his last 10 games, but he has a 1.54 ERA in his last 23 appearances to lower his ERA on the season from 3.86 to 3.00, the lowest since July 7, when he was at 2.92.

He's the youngest pitcher with a 30-save season, and he has the seventh-highest single-season total in Texas history, the most by a Rangers closer since Francisco Cordero had 37 in 2005.

On the Angels' side of the diamond, the club is approaching elimination from postseason contention for the first time since 2006, but there are a lot of reasons for optimism about the future on the field every night, and one of them is playing center field.

Rookie Peter Bourjos is 7-for-8 in steal attempts, and while his offensive numbers aren't impressive right now (.200 batting average), he has shown enough to suggest far better things on the horizon.

"Obviously, he's had some good at-bats and some tough at-bats," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We're starting to see a more confident level in the batter's box. He was running the bases well last night, and he got the bunt hit. The experience has to help him.

"We're seeing little snapshots of what he can do. His challenge is to put all those snapshots together and make a photo album."

Rangers: Wilson looking for a 'W'
Wilson took a complete-game loss despite holding the Mariners to a pair of runs over eight innings on Friday at Safeco Field. It was Wilson's third complete game this season, tied for sixth in the American League. He's 0-2 with a 6.61 ERA over his last three starts and 2-3 with a 4.44 ERA and five saves in 31 career games (four starts) against the Angels, including a 1-1 record with a 4.50 ERA in three games/starts this year. ... Reliever Clay Rapada has not allowed a hit in eight appearances (5 1/3 innings) since joining the Rangers on Sept. 3, the most hitless relief outings to begin a season since the Mets' Billy Wagner had nine hitless outings to start April 2008. It's the most in the AL since Kelly Wunsch of the Chicago White Sox opened April 2003 with nine hitless outings, and it's the most in franchise history, with the previous mark being five for Darold Knowles in 1977.

Angels: Wood getting another look
With regular shortstop Erick Aybar out for the season, the Angels are giving one-time top prospect Brandon Wood another chance to show what he can do. "Brandon's numbers are going to be ugly," Scioscia said. "He's going to have a lot of things to hopefully look back on and use as a springboard to play better. That's what this playing time does. This will continue in the [Arizona] Fall League. He's doing it in an environment he's going to have to achieve in next year." ... Haren has posted a 1.39 ERA in his last five starts while striking out 38 batters. He also has thrown six innings or more in 10 of his first 11 starts with the Angels, including a current streak of 10. The Angels have supported Haren with three runs or less in eight of his 11 starts. He's 0-2 in his last two starts vs. Texas despite posting a 2.25 ERA and he's 3-6 lifetime vs. the Rangers with a 4.00 ERA and one complete game.

Worth noting
Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz is tied for fourth in the AL with five homers in September, one shy of co-leaders Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays, Curtis Granderson of the Yankees and Jim Thome of the Twins. ... With four more stolen bases, the Angels will have reached 100 in each of the last 10 seasons, becoming the only team in history to accomplish that feat.

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


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