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Angels-Rangers: Much ado about something

April 18, 2011 |  4:45 pm

Mike-napoli_325 With five consecutive wins, the Angels are the hottest team in baseball. And with six wins in as many games at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, the Texas Rangers are the best team in the majors at home.

One of those streaks figures to take a pounding over the next three nights when the Angels and Rangers square off for the first time this season. But Angels Manager Mike Scioscia took pains Monday not to overplay his team's first meeting with the defending American League champions.

"It's a first look," he said. "There's going to be scouting that starts to take place on both sides. Evaluating. You get a look at the other club. Get a look at some of the bullpen arms they might be using. That's what is it.

"It's no different, us playing the Rangers, than when we were us playing the White Sox. "

The teams come into the series tied atop the AL West at 10-5, the second-best record in the league. But that, too, is of little relevance now, Scioscia said.

"No matter what game the schedule brings you have to play at a high level and win," he said. "Obviously when you do the math, when you play a team in your own division it affects your standings directly. Because you're in control of what you can do. But this game has no more importance than if we were playing another team.

"You can't get caught up in any of that. We know the level of play you have to play to get through our division. You have to play at a high level. We're a good team. We're just going to start the process right now."

The Angels, who played a day game in frigid Chicago on Sunday, beat the snow out of town and got to hot, humid Texas several hours ahead of the Rangers, who played a night game in the rain at Yankee Stadium. As a result the Rangers, many of whom didn't get to their homes until near dawn Monday morning, skipped batting practice on the field while the Angels went through a full workout.

The lineups:

Angels

SS -- Maicer Izturis

2B -- Howie Kendrick

DH -- Bobby Abreu

RF -- Torii Hunter

LF -- Vernon Wells

3B -- Alberto Callaspo

1B -- Mark Trumbo

C -- Jeff Mathis

CF -- Peter Bourjos

P -- Ervin Santana

Texas Rangers

2B -- Ian Kinsler

SS -- Elvis Andrus

DH -- Michael Young

3B -- Adrian Beltre

LF -- Nelson Cruz

CF -- David Murphy

C -- Mike Napoli

RF -- Mitch Moreland

1B -- Chris Davis

P -- C.J. Wilson

RELATED:

Dan Haren delivers again in Angels' 4-2 win over White Sox

Erick Aybar, Scott Kazmire working their way back from injuries

-- Kevin Baxter in Arlington, Texas

Photo: Rangers catcher Mike Napoli will face his former teammates for the first time beginning tonight. Credit: Ron Jenkins / McClatchy-Tribune

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