ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers begin their final road trip of the season on Monday at Tampa Bay. In a crucial game with wild-card implications, the Rangers will go with midseason acquisition Matt Garza, a former Ray. Tampa Bay will counter with a right-hander of their own, Alex Cobb. First pitch is at 6:10 p.m. CDT Monday on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM (1540 AM in Spanish).
Garza (9-5, 3.79): This game marks Garza’s first return to Tropicana Field as a Rays opponent after spending three years (2008-10) with Tampa Bay. He was 34-31 with a 3.86 ERA in Tampa. The 29-year-old native Californian, acquired via trade from the Chicago Cubs on July 22, will be making his 11th start as a Ranger and will be working on regular four-day rest. He has been stymied in four previous attempts at his 10th victory. Garza got off to a quick start with Texas, but is 2-4 with a 5.16 ERA in eight starts since Aug. 3. Last time out, Garza lasted only four innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates, allowing five hits, four walks and three earned runs in a 7-5 defeat.
Cobb (8-3, 3.08): The 25-year-old Boston native has three no-decisions and a loss in his past four starts. He will be working on regular four-day rest. Control has been an issue for Cobb since going on the 60-day DL in June after being struck in the head by a batted ball. He has issued three or more walks in four of his past five starts. The 6-3, 190-pounder relies on a changeup, a pitch he throws almost a third of the time. In his last start on Wednesday, Cobb received a no-decision after holding the Boston Red Sox to seven hits and three runs over 5.2 innings, a game Boston eventually won, 7-3. Cobb’s last win came on Aug. 20 when he limited Baltimore to three hits and one earned run in six innings.
Hitters: Elvis Andrus and Alex Rios are 2-for-3 against Cobb, each with a double. Mitch Moreland’s only hit off Cobb was a home run. Only two Rangers (Ian Kinsler and Adam Rosales) have waited out Cobb for a walk. David DeJesus has 20 career at-bats against Garza and is hitting .300 with a triple and four RBIs. Luke Scott has homered twice off Garza with five RBIs, but has also struck out seven times.