If you scale the MLB schedule to an NFL schedule, the league would just be wrapping up Week 1 of a 17-week season. As the season’s first month gets set to wind down, each team is still in the mix regardless of their early record, minus the few that didn’t have a chance before the season even started (looking at you, Houston and Miami).
The Rangers have started the season well, despite some early injuries, leading the American League with a 12-6 record. The Angels have started on the other end of the spectrum, winning just seven of their first 17 while also dealing with an injury to ace Jered Weaver.
Yet here we are, in the last week of April, with a big division series getting ready to fire up on the West Coast between the two rivals. Each team heads into the three-game series having created a bit of momentum for themselves, the Rangers sweeping the Mariners over the weekend and the Angels completing a sweep of the Tigers.
Derek Holland and Joe Blanton will toe the rubber tonight for their respective teams as Holland looking to try to continue to bury the Angels while Blanton hopes to continue the Angels' ascent from the AL West basement they saw themselves in a week ago.
The two squads met in the opening week of the season with the Angels traveling to Arlington, bringing Josh Hamilton back to his old stomping grounds for the first time as a member of the enemy. The Rangers took two of three in the series, the beginning of the trajectory each team has been on early in the season.
A series win for the Angels would help them continue to claw back from the early hole they dug for themselves, but a bad showing this week could be pretty damning. With Erick Aybar and Jered Weaver sidelined on the DL, and Josh Hamilton still in the midst of one of his patented hellacious slumps, the Angels are just trying to keep their heads above water until the reinforcements come.
This series won’t be the turning point of the season for either team, but the old adage “you can’t win the division in April, but you can lose it” still rings fresh in the minds of the Angels. They found out the hard way a year ago, when they found themselves with the exact same record at this point of the season. It won’t be season-defining, but as far as April series are concerned, this is important.