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Rangers, Max Scherzer look to add to Angels’ woes

Max Scherzer made his season debut for the Texas Rangers on June 23, but he has yet to regain his lights-out form. Scherzer will turn 40 on July 27, so it’s possible the Scherzer of old won’t return, but he is taking steps in the right direction.

Scherzer is scheduled to be on the mound Tuesday in Anaheim, Calif., to face the Los Angeles Angels in the middle contest of a three-game series. It will be his fourth start of the season after he recovered from offseason back surgery.

The right-hander is not the same pitcher who won three Cy Young Awards and finished in the top five of the Cy Young voting eight times, but he has felt better with each appearance since his return.

Scherzer (1-2, 2.70 ERA) has increased his innings and pitches thrown in each start, reaching 6 1/3 innings and 90 pitches in his most recent outing, on Thursday against the San Diego Padres.

“Physically, I’m definitely better. Arm felt better, stronger,” Scherzer said after allowing three runs and six hits in the Rangers’ 3-1 loss to the Padres. “Got to 90 pitches, felt strong there. Even got to the seventh, felt strong in the seventh. From a physical standpoint, I’m really doing well. That’s what’s encouraging coming out of this start. I’m recovering well.”

Scherzer has enjoyed success against the Angels in his career, going 5-1 with a 2.09 ERA in seven starts.

If the Angels, who have lost seven of eight, are going to contend against the Rangers, who won four straight, they will need to contain Corey Seager. The Texas shortstop homered and doubled in the Rangers’ 9-4 win over Los Angeles on Monday, giving him seven homers in his past 15 games against the Angels.

In 53 career games against the Angels, Seager is hitting .306 (63-for-206) with 12 homers.

Anthony Rendon is expected to start on Tuesday as the Angels’ designated hitter after playing at third base on Monday. It was Rendon’s first appearance since suffering a strained left hamstring on April 20.

“It was a long time coming, but I’m ready to keep on going and finish the second half strong,” said Rendon, who went 1-for-4 with an RBI single on Monday. “The main thing I wanted to do was run every day, obviously, being a hamstring injury. I wanted to make sure I got out there, ran the bases and got moving every single day.”

Angels manager Ron Washington is confident Rendon remains as determined as ever to do well.

“I talked with him earlier (Monday) before he got to the ballpark and he had the same excitement in his voice that he had over the winter,” Washington said. “He really wanted to perform this year. It’s too bad that the hamstring pushed him back. He knows he’s a better player than what he’s shown to Angels fans.”

Roansy Contreras (1-1, 4.04 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Angels on Tuesday. It will be the right-hander’s third start this season as an opener in a bullpen game.

Contreras pitched at least 2 2/3 innings in each of his previous two starts but failed to keep the opposition from scoring in each outing. He yielded a combined four runs (three earned) and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings during those two appearances, both against the Oakland A’s.

–Field Level Media

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