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10/03/10 12:19 AM ET

Rangers, Angels finish passing of torch

For the first time in 11 years, the Rangers will finish atop the American League West, familiar territory for Mike Scioscia's Angels.

The veteran skipper led the Halos to five of the last seven division titles, including the previous three, but the Angels are only squabbling for second place (or a share of it, at least) with Oakland at this point.

Behind a much-improved pitching staff, the Rangers have had a stranglehold on the AL West for most of the year. Texas has been in first place for 153 days, leading by at least seven games since July 25.

"They made some moves all the way through the season," Scioscia said. "As the season went on, their club became deeper and deeper. As the winter goes on, it remains to be seen [what they will do]. We have enough on our plate not to concern ourselves with other clubs. They've got a deep club and benefited from it."

Cliff Lee has become Texas' ace since being acquired from Seattle and will take the ball in Game 1 of the AL Division Series against the AL East champs, either the Rays or Yankees.

While it's unknown whether Lee will re-sign with Texas at season's end, he's just one part of a solid staff that also includes C.J. Wilson (15-8, 3.35 ERA), Colby Lewis (12-13, 3.72) and Tommy Hunter (13-4, 3.73). Lewis will get a final tuneup before taking the mound in Game 3 of the ALDS on Saturday.

The Rangers also featured a potent offense this season, one led by soon-to-be AL batting champ Josh Hamilton. The slugging outfielder returned to the field on Friday after a 24-game absence due to a pair of broken ribs. On Saturday, Hamilton went 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs. He's now batting .360 with 32 homers and 100 RBIs.

"It's good," Hamilton said. "It's been a while but ... I'm not anxious. I know how it feels. It will feel good enough. I want to work on my timing, have good at-bats and not crash into walls."

Angels: Weaver takes K crown
Jered Weaver notched his 233rd strikeout on Friday, locking up the big league title over Felix Hernandez (232) and Tim Lincecum (231).

"I feel good about the innings I've pitched [224], keeping the team in games," Weaver said. "That's what I set out to do this season. The strikeouts have come, but it's not like I've been going for them. They've just happened."

Rangers: Murphy on the mend
Outfielder David Murphy, out since Wednesday with a strained left groin, did baseball activities on Saturday and hopes to be ready for the ALDS.

"I'm more optimistic, yes," Murphy said. "Like I said, running is going to be the ultimate test. I don't know if I'll do that full speed until Tuesday, but so far, so good."

Worth noting
Dan Haren will make Sunday's start for the Angels despite concern about his workload, as he has pitched 229 innings this year. He pitched a career-high 229 1/3 innings last season. ... The Rangers lead the season series, 10-8, and Neftali Feliz has notched a save in all 10 wins.

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