The Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels haven't climbed the standings the way they envisioned during the shortened regular season, but they've seen some players shoot up the organizational depth chart in the last two months.
The Rangers plan to showcase another rising prospect on Sunday afternoon when they send right-hander Kyle Cody to the mound against the Angels in the third game of their four-game series in Anaheim, Calif.
Cody (0-1, 1.42 ERA) will make his fourth major league start since his debut on Aug. 21.
Cody, who underwent Tommy John surgery on July 19, 2018, and didn't pitch for the next 1 1/2 seasons, has a good chance at winning a spot in the starting rotation next season, Rangers manager Chris Woodward said.
"Whether that's a limited role in the beginning, lesser innings or lesser number of pitches, we'll figure that out," Woodward said. "As of right now, we want him to maintain that starter mentality."
Cody, a right-hander who is 6-foot-7, and listed variously at 225 or 245 pounds, threw 74 pitches in his last outing on Tuesday against the Houston Astros. He allowed one run and four hits in three innings, which matched his longest outing this season.
Woodward wouldn't mind seeing a little more against the Angels.
"If he goes 70-80 pitches, he can go through four or even five (innings)," Woodward said. "I would definitely keep him out there for that."
In addition to veteran sluggers Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon and Albert Pujols, Cody will likely face some confident young hitters for the Angels (23-30), who are 3 1/2 games back of the Houston Astros for second place in the AL West with seven games left (eight for Houston). Texas is 18-34.
Jared Walsh has an 11-game hitting streak, and he has hit six home runs in that span. Taylor Ward is 15-for-29 in his past 10 games.
The Angels are 11-5 since Sept. 3.
"The guys have been engaged," Angels manager Joe Maddon said after a 4-3 come-from-behind win on Saturday night.
The Angels are planning to send veteran right-hander Julio Teheran to the mound on Sunday. He'll try to become the third starter for the Angels to win his first game of the season this week.
Teheran (0-3, 8.90) is winless in eight appearances (seven starts) this season.
Angels right-hander Griffin Canning was winless in nine starts this season before getting the victory in a 7-3 win against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday.
Jaime Barria was winless in five appearances, including three starts, before getting the victory in the series opener against Texas on Friday.
Teheran has qualified for a win by throwing the required five innings just once this season, an 11-4 loss to the San Diego Padres on Sept. 2.
He hasn't pitched nearly as well as expected since he was signed last offseason, but the bullpen hasn't helped after he's departed either.
In the seven games Teheran has started this season, he has allowed 25 runs in 24 1/3 innings. In those same games, the relievers have combined to allow 31 runs in 34 2/3 innings.
Teheran and Cody also matched up on Sept. 9 in Arlington, Texas.
Teheran gave up five runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings of the 7-3 loss. Cody gave up one run and three hits in 2 1/3 innings, but wasn't eligible for the win.
The Rangers hope to give him that opportunity on Sunday.
--Field Level Media