Matchup: Roy Oswalt vs. James Shields
Oswalt (4-2, 5.85 ERA): This will be the veteran's ninth start of the season and he's working on four days of rest after pitching 2 1/3 innings of relief in Tuesday's 6-3 loss to Kansas City. ... Oswalt allowed a solo homer in that appearance, but also had four strikeouts. ... He's pitched just three times the last month and once in the past 16 games. ... This will be his first start since Aug. 23, when he took a no-decision against the Minnesota Twins, going 5 1/3 innings and allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits. ... Oswalt is 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in six road games (three starts) this season. He's allowed six homers in those games. ... He won his only career start against the Rays when he was with Houston at Tropicana Field on June 20, 2008 beating Matt Garza.
Shields (13-8, 3.88 ERA): He comes in with seven consecutive quality starts and has pitched at least seven innings in six of those. ... That run includes a loss to Texas despite allowing just one run on three hits with eight strikeouts and two walks in seven innings. The Rangers won 1-0 behind Yu Darvish's sparkling outing. ... Shields is coming off his best month of the season, going 3-1 with a 2.52 ERA. ... He's made 14 starts at home and 14 on the road and his home ERA is actually a bit higher at 3.99 (he's 3.77 on the road). ... He's made two starts against Texas and is 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA, allowing four runs in his first start against the Rangers in 2012.
Hitters: By far the best Rangers hitter against Shields is Elvis Andrus, who is 11-for-19 (.579) off him. ... Four Rangers have at least 20 at-bats off Shields and none have done particularly well: Adrian Beltre (9-for-36), Josh Hamilton (3-for-22), Ian Kinsler (6-for-28) and Michael Young (5-for-26). The four have seven homers combined off Shields, though, to go along with 33 strikeouts. ... The only Rays hitter with more than five at-bats against Oswalt is Jeff Keppinger, who is 6-for-15 with an RBI.
Tue. vs. Clev: LHP Matt Harrison (15-9, 3.37) vs. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (9-15, 5.58), 7:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW
Wed. vs. Clev: RHP Ryan Dempster (10-6, 2.87 NL/AL) vs. RHP Jeanmar Gomez (5-7, 5.33), 7:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW
Thur. vs. Clev: LHP Derek Holland (10-6, 4.59) vs. RHP Zach McAllister, 7:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/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.