Rangers hope series finale win builds momentum

ARLINGTON, Texas -- It's common sense that any win is a big win, but the Texas Rangers' 2-0 win over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday night was big for a couple of reasons.

Texas managed to salvage a win in a dismal offensive series. And although it wasn't an impressive win -- aside from the outstanding pitching performance from Scott Feldman -- it allowed the Rangers to get back on the winning side of things before the Los Angeles Angels get to town for a huge four-game set that begins Monday.

"It feels good after what we've done the past two days," David Murphy said of the win. "It was a solid game all around. ... Bottom line is it's a win. With a big four-game series coming up, you love to build a little momentum with a win heading into that series."

With the Angels coming to town, there will be plenty of excitement around the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington over the next few days. Los Angeles comes in trailing the Rangers by five games in the American League West.

However, the Angels are in third place as they enter Texas. The surging Oakland Athletics, who are 18-4 in July, have moved into second place in the West and are 4 1/2 games back of the Rangers.

"We've just got to worry about what's going inside this clubhouse and not worry about what is going on outside of here," Texas closer Joe Nathan said. "We can't worry about what Oakland is doing, what L.A. is doing. We're still in July. There's a lot of baseball to be played. (Sunday) was game 100. There's a lot of season left. We've just got to get back to playing good baseball, consistent baseball and just keep battling."

Nevertheless, this Angels' series is extremely important.

"At this point in the year, any game is important," Michael Young said. "We're past the All-Star break and into the second half. August is right around the corner. Obviously, no one is going to clinch a playoff berth in this series, so we'll look at it as an opportunity to go out and get better."

The biggest thing is not allowing Los Angeles to win three, or even worse, four games in the series. The Rangers have the benefit of being the team that is being pursued. The Angels are the ones trying to make up ground. A split in this series is in favor of Texas. As long as the Rangers can get out of the next four games without any major hiccup, they've done their job.

Because like Young said, a playoff berth isn't going to be clinched in this series. However, if the Rangers lay an egg and the Angels walk out of Texas with three or four wins, clinching that playoff berth in September could be a bit more challenging.