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Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Mound matchup: Lee vs. Gonzalez

By Richard Durrett

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers begin a three-game series against the scrappy Oakland Athletics tonight with ace Cliff Lee looking to string victories together for the first time since joining the Rangers. It'll be a battle of lefties as Lee goes up against young and impressive Gio Gonzalez.

Lee (9-4, 2.56 ERA): The veteran lefty has pitched at least 8.1 innings in all three of his starts since coming to Texas. He'll try to follow up his first victory with the club -- ironically the one game in which he did not record a complete game -- by getting his 100th career win. Lee is 1-1 with a 3.42 ERA with the Rangers. he has logged at least 8.0 innings in seven consecutive starts, the longest streak since Toronto's Pat Hentgen had a run of 12 straight from July 28 - Sept. 24, 1996 on his way to the AL Cy Young Award. Lee has 101 strikeouts against just seven walks on the season for a 14.43 strikeout-walk ratio, which is more than double the next-closest major-league pitcher and would easily be a major-league record for a season.

Gonzalez (9-6, 3.75 ERA): The 24-year-old has won his last two starts and three of four. He got the win in his last start against Boston despite giving up four earned runs on seven hits over six innings. In his lone matchup with the Rangers this season, he got hit pretty good, surrendering four earned runs on nine hits in four innings. Was a former first-round pick of the Chicago White Sox in 2004.

Hitters: Only two A's, Coco Crisp (.222) and Mark Ellis have faced Lee more than nine times. Kurt Suzuki has three hits, all singles, in seven career at-bats. Gabe Gross has two hits, including a double, in three at-bats. Likewise, the Rangers aren't too familiar with Gonzalez. Vladimir Guerrero has two hits in 10 at-bats with three strikeouts and Bengie Molina has two hits in nine at-bats. Ian Kinsler is batting 1.000, 2-for-2 with a double.