Week ahead: On to Toronto, Cleveland
This week, it's three in Toronto, an off day and three in Cleveland. A few things to watch:
* Josh Hamilton's back. He says it's no big deal and expects to play Monday. But there is turf in Toronto, so look for the Rangers to be careful. One option is to play him at DH or sit him for one of the games to be sure he's OK. But Hamilton said he's had the back spasm before and it loosens up after 12 hours or so.
* The hottest hitter on this Texas team right now besides Hamilton might be Elvis Andrus. The shortstop was 7-for-21 on this home stand with four stolen bases. Watch to see if Andrus continues to work counts. He had some long at-bats the last few games and is showing solid plate discipline.
* Michael Young came into the homestand off a road trip where he tore the cover off the ball. But things didn't go as well at home. He was 3-for-23 (.130) in the six games with the Yankees and Rays with just one RBI. He's still batting .329 on the season, but maybe the road will get him going again.
* Mike Napoli has also struggled of late. He was 4-for-17 (.235) with 10 strikeouts while the club was at home. This came after he had a homer streak during the last road trip.
* Yu Darvish starts Monday and looks to build off his sensational start against the Yankees last Tuesday. He pitched 8 1/3 scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts and two walks.
* Adrian Beltre had a very solid homestand, making his usual plays in the field but adding some clutch hits. He was 6-for-20 with two homers and six RBIs.
* Nelson Cruz had his first multi-hit game Sunday since the doubleheader in Detroit, possibly a sign that he's getting more comfortable at the plate. He admitted that he didn't feel great up there during the Yankees series.
* RHP Mike Adams allowed a run in the eighth inning of Saturday's game (the Rangers had a big lead) and has allowed a run in just two of his 10 appearances.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.