It’s finally here; the Texas Rangers host the Los Angeles Angels this weekend at the Ballpark in Arlington for a three-game series that’s sold out. The best part is the first game on Friday, in which Rangers rookie phenom Yu Darvish will take the mound to face the man he replaced in Texas – new Angels ace C.J. Wilson.
Naturally, the players have downplayed the hype surrounding the event, but the fans that pack the Ballpark on Friday night won’t let them continue that for long. Wilson was part of back-to-back World Series trips by the Rangers, the second of which he was the team’s ace.
After departing for the West Coast, Wilson has posted a career-best 2.61 ERA this season with a 4-2 record in 6 starts, although his Angels are only 14-18 so far in 2012. He’s home and he’s loving life, but the environment in Texas on Friday night will be a hostile one for the former Ranger.
Meanwhile, the Rangers have a new pitcher that has Texas buzzing with excitement. In his rookie season, Darvish’s 4-1 record and 2.54 ERA are even better than Wilson’s numbers. While Darvish isn’t the first pitcher in the Rangers’ rotation, he’s considered Wilson’s replacement in the eyes of 99 percent of the baseball world, making Friday night’s matchup a critical one.
The 2012 MLB season is five weeks old, but the Rangers and Angels are meeting for the first time this weekend. Texas leads the AL West with a 21-11 record while the Angels are bringing up the rear. However, Los Angeles has won seven of its last 10 and is considered Texas’ biggest competition in not only the division but the entire league this season. All of that makes Friday night’s matchup even more important, especially in the eyes of the fans.
Wilson isn’t the only major free agent addition the Angels made this past off-season; former St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols is also a new Angel and there’s plenty of animosity toward him by Rangers fans as well. After all, it was Pujols’ Cardinals that beat the Rangers in last year’s Fall Classic, so don’t think Texas has forgotten that.
With Wilson and Pujols playing against the Rangers on a team that was already considered Texas’ biggest rivals, Friday night and the entire weekend series will be action-packed and a great watch for any baseball fan. Obviously, the outcome of the Darvish-Wilson duel will be the biggest storyline, but this series will play a huge role in the outcome of the division and the American League as a whole. Tie your broncos down, Texas fans, and you California folks tie down whatever kind of weird pets y’all keep out there because it’s going to be a wild ride.