The Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers square-off this weekend at Rangers Park in Arlington in a three-game set starting this Friday night. It will be the first time these two have met since the Rangers eliminated the Rays three games to one in last season’s ALDS.
Tampa Bay is 7-3 in its last 10 games including a current four-game winning streak heading into its series finale against the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday. It is tied with Baltimore atop the AL East at 11-7 overall but under .500 on the road at 4-6.
Texas won two of three games against the New York Yankees this week to maintain a 5.5-game lead in the AL West. It is 8-2 in its last 10 games and 7-3 at home this season. The Rangers currently have the best record in the Majors at 15-4.
Friday, April 27
James Shields vs. Matt Harrison
Shields is off to a great start with a 3-0 record and 2.76 ERA in his first four starts. The right-hander has struck-out 20 while issuing just eight walks in 29.1 innings pitched and has lasted at least eight innings in his last three starts.
Harrison has been a force in three previous outings this year; yielding just four earned runs on 17 hits. He has an ERA of just 1.66 and a 0.97 WHIP. The left-hander is now 7-0 with a 2.24 in his last eight regular-season starts.
Saturday, April 28
Jeff Niemann vs. Colby Lewis
Niemann gave up two runs on three hits last Sunday against Minnesota to post his first win of the year after losing his first two starts. Overall, he has a 4.11 ERA and a WHIP of 0.98, but has yet to make it past five innings in any of his first three starts.
Lewis has been rock-solid in his first four starts with an ERA of just 2.03 and a 1.05 WHIP. The right-hander has struck-out 24 batters while giving-up just one walk in 26.2 innings pitched. Lifetime, Lewis is 3-0 with a 4.15 ERA against the Rays.
Sunday, April 29
David Price vs. Derek Holland
Price is coming off his best outing of the season with a five-hit shutout against the Angels this past Tuesday. The left-hander is now 3-1 on the year with a 2.63 ERA. Price has yet to post a win against the Rangers with a 0-3 record and 5.67 ERA in 33.1 innings pitched.
Holland got rocked around in his last start; giving-up seven runs in six innings against the Yankees to get tagged with the loss. The left-hander is now 2-1 with an ERA of 4.78. He is 3-1 against the Rays but sporting a 6.51 ERA.
The Rays are 1-4 in the first game of their last five series and the total has stayed ‘under’ in 15 of the first games of their last 22 series.
The Rangers are 7-1 in their last eight games against the AL East and the total has stayed ‘under’ in nine of their last 12 home games.
Texas has won six of the last 10 meetings overall and three of five at home. The total has gone ‘over’ in three of the last five meetings.
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.