Next two opponents are tough on Texas

As Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington said after his team dropped a second consecutive game to their division rival Thursday, they're done with the Angels for the time being and now it's time to concentrate on what's ahead.

And that's a tough home stand against the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend starting tonight, followed by the Minnesota Twins. While the Twins are six games below .500 (46-52) and the Jays are just one game over (50-49), both teams have handled Texas well in their respective series this season.

The Rangers dropped three of four to both clubs, losing an April series at home against Toronto and a series in June at Minnesota. Toronto outscored the Rangers 27-19 in the four games and the Twins outscored Texas, 22-16.

"Some teams match up with you well and it seems like we do a good job of beating Toronto and they find a way to beat us in the end," Washington said. "We do a good job against Minnesota and they find a way to beat us in the end. I don’t know. We’ve got to change that, but some teams match up with you very well and those two teams match up against us well."

It's a crucial stretch for the Rangers as they take a three-game lead over the Angels into tonight's game and with the trade deadline looming. Meanwhile, the Angels begin a rugged, 10-day road trip through Baltimore, Cleveland and Detroit.

With two northern teams coming south into 100-degree temperatures -- and temps that have routinely been in the high 90s in the evening -- the Rangers would seem to have a distinct advantage.

"We get to watch the other teams come up in there and be miserable," Washington said.

However, both Minnesota and Toronto have experienced unseasonably warm weather recently. Meanwhile, the Rangers have been out of town for more than a week with the All-Star Game followed by a road trip to the mild climes of Seattle and Southern California.

The Rangers just might have to re-acclimate to the heat.

"We probably will," Washington said. "We’ll get out there the first day and enjoy some of that heat and then decide if we’ll go out there the second day or not."

Washington is talking about pre-game batting and infield practice. During the hottest portions of the summer, the Rangers will only hold pre-game workouts outdoors every other day, unless the players decide otherwise.

That practice will begin in earnest tonight.