Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish going up against Angels outfielder Mike Trout will be an intriguing matchup when the two teams play the third and final game of their series at Angel Stadium on Sunday.
Undefeated left-hander Tyler Skaggs pitches for the Angels. He is 2-0 with a 3.34 ERA in his first five starts, and the Angels have yet to lose this season with him on the mound.
Darvish has been tough on right-handed hitters since joining the Rangers in 2012, holding them to a .190 batting average, with a .278 on-base percentage and a .316 slugging percentage. But that hasn't fazed Trout, who has more at-bats against Darvish than any other hitter.
Trout goes into Sunday's game hitting .321 with a .444 on-base percentage and a .786 slugging percentage against Darvish. He also has four home runs in 28 at-bats. Left-handed-hitting Oakland Athletic Brandon Moss is the only other player with four home runs against Darvish.
"Obviously, he is a great hitter, but they have a lot of great hitters, like Albert Pujols," Darvish said. "I can't focus on one guy. He's an extraordinary hitter, that's all I can say."
The four home runs are also the most by Trout against any Major League pitcher. He has three against Bartolo Colon. Darvish has struck him out 10 times.
"I'm trying to think of what he's going to do, and he's trying to think of what I'm thinking," Trout said. "It's a constant, competitive battle. It's just fun competition out there."
Trout said Darvish has such a vast repertoire of pitches that he can't just sit on one pitch.
"Nah, I just react," Trout said. "I don't really sit on anything. You can't with him. Like I said, there's so many pitches. So if you guess wrong, you're going to get yourself out. Keeping it simple, not trying to do too much. I think that's the biggest thing."
Darvish is 1-1 with a 2.59 ERA this season, but he is coming off the shortest outing of his career. He lasted just 3 1/3 innings in a 4-0 loss to the Athletics on Monday. He allowed four runs on six hits, two walks and a hit batter, while striking out four. It's only the second time in 66 Major League starts that he failed to pitch at least five innings.
"I try not to dwell on my last outing every time I pitch," Darvish said. "I try not to think about it. I prepare by studying video and studying the other team's offense."
Darvish will be making his 11th start against the Angels, and is 6-1 with a 3.77 ERA vs. the club in his career. It's his most wins and most starts against any team.
Skaggs will be making his second career start against the Rangers. He pitched against them on May 27, 2013, while still with the D-backs, and threw six scoreless innings in a 5-3 victory.
Opponents are hitting .213 off Skaggs, the seventh-lowest mark in the American League, but he has been especially tough against left-handers. They are just 3-for-24 off him this season, and hitting .187 off him in his career.
Rangers: Choo to see more time at DH
Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo will likely see more time at designated hitter while he is dealing with a sore left ankle. Choo started in left field on Saturday night for only the second time in 10 games since injuring the ankle on April 21 against the Athletics.
But Choo will likely be used at designated hitter on Sunday afternoon. With a left-hander on the mound for the Angels, manager Ron Washington wants to get Michael Choice's right-handed bat in the lineup. So he'll likely use Choo at DH. Washington also is concerned about Choo having to come out in the middle of a game, like he did on Friday night.
"Don't go out there if you can't finish it," Washington said. "Because you can always be used at designated hitter."
Angels: Lineup will change frequently
The Angels made a series of roster moves before Saturday's game, calling up first baseman C.J. Cron and third baseman Luis Jimenez, optioning J.B. Shuck to Triple-A Salt Lake, and placing David Freese (non-displaced fracture on his right middle finger) on the disabled list.
The right-handed-hitting Jimenez and the left-handed-hitting Ian Stewart figure to platoon at third base, and Grant Green, who can also handle third base, will mostly play left field. Cron, ranked No. 3 in the Angels' system by MLB.com, provides a right-handed-hitting option at designated hitter and also can play first base if Pujols needs a day off his feet. The left-handed-hitting Raul Ibanez will be an option at DH and left field.
In short, the lineup -- a lineup that's also without corner outfielders Josh Hamilton and Kole Calhoun -- will change frequently.
• Catcher Robinson Chirinos was in the Rangers' starting lineup on Saturday after being scratched from Friday's start with a stomach virus. He should be ready to catch Darvish on Sunday.
• Ibanez did not start on Saturday with a left-hander pitching for the Rangers, but he should be at DH on Sunday, although he is just 1-for-9 in his career against Darvish.
• Angels manager Mike Scioscia on struggling Rangers first baseman Prince Fielder: "We're going to see him a lot this year. We've seen him when he's good. And he will be good. There's some things that you see in hitters from time to time, but I don't think it's anything specific that I'm going to share with you."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.