If John Lackey's next start is anything like his last one, the Angels could be in for another short visit to the playoffs.
In his final tuneup before Wednesday's division series opener against the Boston Red Sox, Lackey gave up a career-high 10 runs in a career-low 2 2/3 innings Friday night as the Angels were pummeled, 12-1, by the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium.
"One of those nights," said Lackey (12-5), who lost for the third time in four decisions. "They came out hacking. They beat me up a little bit."
The outing was scheduled to be a brief one, but it was shortened even further when the Rangers sent 12 men to the plate in the second inning, scoring seven times. And when Texas scored two more in the third -- the second on a booming home run by Josh Hamilton -- Lackey was pulled after a season-low 73 pitches.
"It was 180 degrees from what John pitched last week in Texas," Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said of Lackey, who struck out a lifetime-best 12 batters in six shutout innings against the Rangers in his last start. "Today it seemed like they squared everything up that he was throwing. But John will turn the page on it, we'll turn the page on it.
"It wasn't really what we were looking for. But he got his work in."
Chris Davis finished with four hits, and Hamilton and Nelson Cruz had three apiece to lead the Rangers' 19-hit onslaught.
Yet despite Friday's rout, the Angels -- who enter the final two games of the regular season with 99 wins -- will finish the season with the best record in baseball for the first time in franchise history.
Jered Weaver will make his final start before the postseason today, pitching against minor leaguers in an Arizona Instructional League game in Tempe in what Scioscia called "a maintenance workout."
"If Weav doesn't pitch this weekend, it could be a long time in between work for him," said Scioscia, who will move the right-hander to the bullpen for the first round of the playoffs.
Left-hander Joe Saunders, who missed his last start because of a kidney stone, threw his second bullpen session in as many days Friday and expects to make a playoff tuneup in the regular-season finale Sunday. "I felt very fresh, which I'm not used to. My arm felt good," said Saunders, who is tied with Ervin Santana for the team lead with 16 wins. . . . Juan Rivera played in the outfield for the first time since injuring his right hip two weeks ago. . . . Francisco Rodriguez, who shattered the single-season record with 62 saves, was named the Angels' MVP in a vote of his teammates.