The Texas Rangers head out on the road and face the Tampa Bay Rays in a three-game series starting Monday at Tropicana Field
Texas Rangers at Tampa Bay Rays
Texas returns to Tropicana Field for the first time since last year’s American League Division series and has dropped 13 of its last 16 regular season meetings at the venue. The Rangers are hoping that second baseman Ian Kinsler can solve his problems of hitting on the road in this series, coming in with a .143 batting average away from Arlington. “There’s nothing to point at or put your finger on,” Kinsler stated. “There’s no answer really.” The club is 3-5-3 in its last 11 series and will now play seven games on the road against two of the better teams in the league. Texas also leads a tight AL West divisional race, with all four teams within 1.5 games of each other entering play today. Monday’s contest will mark their first game played in a dome this season, posting a 5-7 indoor mark over the last three years.
Rangers starting pitcher Derek Holland is scheduled to make his 11th start of the season and is 3-1 with a 4.68 ERA. The left-hander has taken six straight no decisions with a 4.91 ERA, posting quality starts in three of those outings. Holland has been solid on the road in four outings, posting an even 1-1 mark and 2.51 ERA, issuing just seven walks and striking out 20 in 28 2/3 innings. In three career starts versus the Rays, he has registered a 2-1 record and 7.04 ERA, serving up five home runs in 15 1/3 frames.
Tampa Bay won two of three against Cleveland to open up its six-game homestand and will be playing its 13th straight game against a team .500 or better tonight. The Rays have still lost nine of their last 14 games since they were season-high eight games over .500 on May 13. Manager Joe Maddon made some good moves with the lineup over the weekend, none bigger than placing third baseman Evan Longoria in the leadoff role, as he went 4-for-7 in two games matching his total hits in the previous nine contests. “That was definitely a confidence boost,” Longoria stated. “Joe usually presses the right buttons.” Tampa Bay is 7-5 versus left-handed starters this year.
Rays starting pitcher Wade Davis is an even 4-4 with a 3.71 ERA in 10 starts this season and will look to bounce back after suffering through three straight rough outings. The right-hander has given up 12 runs (11 earned) and 22 hits over his last 19 innings of work, serving up two home runs in each contest. Davis will be making his sixth home start of the year, entering with a 2-2 mark and 3.41 ERA, but has managed to strike out just 11 batters in 31 2/3 frames. He was blasted in his only career start versus Texas in Arlington on June 4 of last year, allowing eight runs on nine hits over 3 1/3 innings.
Bettors will likely back the Rays due to their 12-4 record on Mondays, while the Rangers are 5-11 in their last 16 road games