W2W4: Rangers-Diamondbacks Part II
May, 29, 2013
By Todd Wills | ESPNDallas.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks resume their MLB-created interleague rivalry with what was supposed to be a two-game series Wednesday and Thursday in Arlington.
A downpour postponed Wednesday's game after Rangers Ballpark field was deemed unplayable, and the scheduled starters -- the Rangers' Justin Grimm and Arizona's Brandon McCarthy -- will instead be on the mound Thursday.
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Here's what to watch for as the series shifts to Rangers Ballpark:
Diamondbacks rolling: Arizona is one of the hottest teams in the National League, having won nine of their last 13 games. The Diamondbacks are winning with terrific work from their bullpen, which has allowed eight runs in its last 28 2/3 innings. Arizona has also played great defense. The Diamondbacks had 41 defensive runs saved above average entering the week, leading the big leagues ahead of the Rangers (19), Reds (17) and Braves (16).
Supreme starting pitching: D-backs starting pitchers are 11-5 with a 2.85 ERA and 16 quality starts in their last 20 games. The Rangers are fortunate they'll miss Patrick Corbin, who is 8-1 with a 1.71 ERA. Arizona will throw veteran Brandon McCarthy (2-3, 4.36 ERA) and left-hander Wade Miley (3-4, 4.53) against the Rangers in Arlington.
Gregorius alert: The Rangers may have awakened Arizona rookie shortstop Didi Gregorius. He had three hits in 23 at-bats before going 2-for-4 with a game-tying homer in the second game of Monday's doubleheader. Gregorius leads all National League rookies with a .324 batting average. Gregorius already has a 10-game hitting streak this season.
Interleague blues: The Rangers have struggled against the National League, falling to 2-5 this season after the doubleheader sweep to Arizona. The Rangers have dominated interleague opponents since 2010, going 39-22 for the second-best winning percentage in the majors in that span.
AL West race tightens: Oakland won its fifth straight game Tuesday, against San Francisco, pulling within 2.5 games of the Rangers. It's the smallest lead the Rangers have held in the AL West since April 25. The Rangers have been in first place for 38 straight days. The Rangers led the division by as many as seven games on May 15 and 16, but that lead has diminished in two weeks.