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DET@TEX: Baker fans three over 6 2/3 frames of relief

What does Tyler Skaggs want for his 23rd birthday? Well, a victory would be nice, and so perhaps would be some relief from the projected 100-degree heat in Arlington during Sunday's game against the Rangers.

"I'll be trying to hydrate; It's going to be hot," Skaggs said.

Skaggs is making his third start since he returned from the disabled list on July 2 after recovering from a right hamstring strain.

"It's good to be back," he said. "I feel I've been throwing the ball well the last few starts, throwing a lot of strikes. I haven't been walking people. Basically, everything feels fine. I'm ready to go."

The last time Skaggs faced the Rangers, he couldn't handle the metaphorical heat as the Rangers forced him out of the game after a season-low 2 2/3 innings.

The outing was inarguably Skaggs' worst of the season. He gave up six runs on eight hits, ballooning his ERA to a season-high 4.54.

Skaggs' two starts since returning from the disabled list. He pitched 7 2/3 innings against the White Sox on July 2, giving up only two runs on five hits while striking out six.

His last start didn't go as well. Skaggs got the loss despite pitching a quality start. He went 6 2/3 innings and gave up three runs on 11 hits against Toronto.

But until Saturday night, the Angels didn't know who they would be going up against. The Rangers didn't name Scott Baker as the Sunday starter until after Saturday's 5-2 loss to the Angels.

"We wanted to go with the right-hander against the Angels because of their lineup," Washington said.

Baker has struggled this season, moving back and forth from the rotation and bullpen. In 14 games (three starts), he is 0-2 with a 5.84 ERA. In 11 career starts against the Angels, he is 1-5 with a 4.62 ERA.

Washington also clarified his second-half rotation on Saturday, announcing that it will begin with Yu Darvish, Colby Lewis and Nick Tepesch next Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Toronto.

Rangers: Lewis in the bullpen

Normally a starter, Lewis volunteered to help man the Rangers bullpen on Sunday after only throwing 61 pitches in his last start -- a record-setting 2 1/3-inning performance in which he gave up 13 runs (11 earned) on 13 hits against the Angels.

"Colby said he didn't throw enough pitches so he's got pitches to give us," Washington said. "Colby came to us. We didn't come to Colby."

Washington said he was impressed with Lewis' composure after he came out of Thursday's game, remaining in the dugout for the rest of the game.

"He is definitely a class act," Washington said. "He wasn't just going to go put his head in the sand. That's being a good teammate. He wasn't running from the situation. It was a lesson for a lot of our kids. Derek Holland used to do it all the time. Go in and get whatever treatment you need and if there is more game going on, come back at that time."

Angels: Offense streaking since Baylor's return

Since hitting coach Don Baylor returned from femur surgery on June 25, the Angels have had one of the hottest offenses in baseball.

Entering Friday, the Angels led the league in batting average (.306) and slugging percentage (.472) since the 25th, and those numbers only improved as they went 11-for-35 in a 5-2 win against the Rangers on Saturday.

"A lot of guys are taking their walks, going first to third, doing a bunch of different stuff well," leadoff man Kole Calhoun said. "When you're playing good, it all seems to come together."

Worth noting
• The Angels are looking for their first road sweep of the Rangers in a three- or four-game series since taking all three games at Globe Life Park from Sept. 19-21, 2008. Comments