For the first time this season, the Texas Rangers play at a National League opponent with the odd two-game series in Colorado. The Rockies then come to Arlington for two games, so it's essentially a four-game series without either team having a home-field advantage. Some things to watch:
* Pitchers get to hit. Martin Perez and Robbie Ross are the starting pitchers, so they better have their bats ready. Don't be looking for any huge swings. Manager Ron Washington has made it clear that he wants his pitchers taking it easy and not risking injury at the plate (Remember Alexi Ogando trying to beat out a bunt in San Francisco in 2012?). Ross is 0-for-2 in his big league career with his last at-bat coming in San Francisco in 2012. He scored a run in that game. Perez is 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. His last at-bat was June of last year in St. Louis.
In case you're curious, several of the Rangers' pitchers claim that Ogando can swing the bat pretty well and make contact. Perhaps that's because he used to be an outfielder. In any case, he's 3-for-6 in his big league career in interleague games with a run scored. It's been all or nothing for Ogando: His three outs were all strikeouts.
* Prince Fielder. He had his first three-hit game as a Ranger on Sunday, including two RBI doubles. If he's truly starting to get things going, that should be evident in these next four games. He's worth keeping an eye on.
* J.P. Arencibia. The catcher couldn't do much of anything in April, but had a terrific game in Sunday's win over the Angels, hitting a home run and driving in a run on a sacrifice fly. Robinson Chirinos is clearly the starting catcher, but it will be interesting to see if Washington tries to get Arencibia a little more time to see if he can get into some kind of a better rhythm and build off Sunday.
* Elvis Andrus. Washington moved him to the No. 9 spot in the order and he had a much better game to finish off the Angels' series. Does he stay there? And for how long? This is a change designed to calm Andrus down and get him comfortable. Let's see if it does that in Colorado.
* Choo's ankle. Shin-Soo Choo just keeps getting on base and providing a boost in the leadoff spot. But he's doing it on a balky ankle. Managing that ankle is important as the Rangers don't want to see Choo re-injury it and be forced to sit out too long. Choo can't DH in Colorado on Monday or Tuesday, but he could in Arlington if Washington wanted to keep his bat in the lineup, but give his ankle a break in the field.
* Bounce back. Perez set a career-high for runs allowed (eight) in his last start against the A's last week. That came after he had back-to-back complete-game shutouts. He showed last year an ability to not allow bad starts to linger and he'll need to do that again tonight.