After throwing six consecutive gems to open the season, Jered Weaver has finally faltered in his past two starts.
He's rarely been anything but outstanding recently against the Texas Rangers.
One of Weaver's two complete game victories last month came in Arlington, a feat he'll look to repeat Friday night when he tries to bounce back as his Los Angeles Angels open a three-game set with the Rangers.
Weaver (6-2, 1.87 ERA) had a 0.99 ERA while winning his first six starts, including a six-hitter in Texas in a 4-1 victory April 20.
He followed that with a 10-strikeout shutout against Oakland five days later, but May hasn't been as kind to the towering right-hander. Weaver gave up three runs over six innings in a 9-5 loss at Boston on May 2, then surrendered four runs in six innings while losing 4-3 to Cleveland on Saturday.
Weaver, who led the majors in strikeouts in 2010 and was No. 1 again prior to his last outing, didn't have any against the Indians.
"I didn't really have an out pitch, but I had to battle," Weaver said. "I got away from the fastball. You are going to have days like that, you just have to be able to move on."
Weaver's latest start versus the Rangers (19-18) wasn't his only excellent effort in the series of late. Since July, he's 4-1 with a 1.90 ERA in six starts in the AL West rivalry.
The Angels (21-17) could certainly use an emotional boost after Wednesday's series finale against the White Sox. With a 4-1 lead, Los Angeles' bullpen gave up one run in the eighth, two in the ninth and two more in the 10th in a crushing 6-4 loss.
Mike Scioscia's relievers have a 9.58 ERA over the past four games.
"These guys have been really doing the job," Scioscia told the Angels' official website. "We didn't get it done tonight. We'll have to regroup and do a better job on Friday."
Los Angeles is the AL's best hitting club (.300) on the road, where it's averaged 5.37 runs and hit a major league-best 25 homers while going 12-7.
The Angels will get their first look at Alexi Ogando (3-0, 2.17) as a starter, which could spell trouble considering what the righty did against them as a reliever. In eight appearances out of the bullpen last season against Los Angeles, Ogando scattered four hits and struck out eight.
He hasn't pitched since May 3, when he gave up one run over six innings in a 4-3 loss at Seattle. He left, though, with a blister on his right index finger that forced him to miss his scheduled start Sunday.
Ogando will have a chance to help lead the Rangers to their first consecutive wins since a sweep of Kansas City from April 22-24, though some bad luck Wednesday prevented them from closing their series against Oakland with a pair of victories. Up 7-0 after four innings in part due to Mitch Moreland's grand slam, heavy rains washed out the game.
"I hope this is the last black cloud that happens to us,' Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "... This game tests you, and we've been tested. We're about ready to pass some tests."
Washington's hoping his new No. 4 hitter can help. Michael Young, who never hit cleanup in his career before Tuesday, went 3 for 4 with a pair of RBIs and was back there Wednesday.
Young was 4 for 19 (.211) with two homers against Weaver last season. Moreland also took Weaver deep twice while going 3 for 8.
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