Matchup: Yu Darvish vs. J.A. Happ
Darvish (12-8, 4.54): After celebrating his birthday Thursday, the 26-year-old righty will make his 23rd start of the season Friday. He's got the most wins (12) and strikeouts (162) among rookies. ... He also ranks among the AL leaders in wins (tied for 6th), strikeouts (4th), and opponent's average (.238, 10th). ... Darvish snapped a two-game losing streak with a win over the Tigers last Sunday. He allowed six hits and three runs in 6 2/3 innings, striking out eight and walking five. ... He is 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA and 12 Ks in two starts against Toronto.
Happ: (8-10, 5.04 ERA): The 29-year-old lefty will be making his 21st start of the season. Happ is 3-3 with a 4.85 ERA in his last 10 starts. Over that span, he has 35 strikeouts and 14 walks. ... In his last start on Aug. 12, Happ got a win over the Yankees by allowing four runs over 5 2/3 innings in a 10-7 slugfest. ... He has pretty good control; Happ has walked 45 and hit just one batter in 121 1/3 innings. He has given up 130 hits. ... In one career appearance against the Rangers, Happ is 0-1 with a 16.87 ERA.
HITTERS: Darvish doesn't have an extensive history against anyone, but by and large, he's had success against Toronto hitters. There are three exceptions: Edwin Encarnacion is 4-for-5 with a homer and two RBI against Darvish. Colby Rasmus is 3-for-6 with a double and Brett Lawrie is 1-for-3 with a double and two walks. ... Though it's a small sample size, Texas hitters have beaten up on Happ to the tune of 10 hits in 17 at-bats. Adrian Beltre, Craig Gentry and Josh Hamilton are all 2-for-2 against Happ. Geovany Soto is 2-for-3.
Sat. at Toronto: RHP Ryan Dempster (6-6, 3.12 ERA) vs. RHP Carlos Villanueva (6-3, 3.12 ERA), 12:07 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540AM/FSSW
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.