Friday, June 22, 2012
W2W4: Rangers vs. Colorado
By Richard Durrett
The Colorado Rockies come to town to face the Texas Rangers, who own a six-game winning streak and enjoyed an off day Thursday. Some things to watch during this series:
* Roy Oswalt. The veteran pitcher makes his Texas debut tonight at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The club believes his six innings in Triple-A Round Rock on Sunday (two runs allowed) were what they needed to see to show he was ready. He's had four starts in the minors to build up arm strength and is prepared to go out against a National League foe tonight. Oswalt, BTW, is 8-2 with a 1.92 ERA in 12 career starts against the Rockies.
* Sellouts. The Rangers are expected to have another one as they continue to get closer toward breaking the club record held in 1994. Depending on how ticket sales go in the next few days, all three of these games could result in sellouts.
* Michael Young. He's struggled for the last six weeks but has shown signs of hitting the ball the other way, something he usually does with regularity. Will being back at home get him going again?
* Adrian Beltre. He's been pounding the ball recently, feasting on Houston, Arizona and San Diego pitching. Can he keep it going against the Rockies?
* Bullpen. Some solid starts helped rest a bullpen that was getting a lot of action. Joe Nathan remains one of the top closers in the league and some of the club's key setup pieces got a chance to rest a bit thanks to Yu Darvish's start on Wednesday (eight innings). They should be ready to continue their excellent play.
* Carlos Gonzalez. He's still one of the most feared hitters in the NL and after a slow start, he's hittng the ball really well these days. He leads the Rockies in nearly every key offensive category and comes in with a .332 batting average, 17 homers and 51 RBIs. He had a strained left knee but played the last two games and told reporters he hopes to be 100 percent in the next few days.
* Josh Hamilton. He returned from an intestinal virus and made an impact Tuesday in San Diego. He's hitting .330 at home this season with 10 homers and 27 RBIs. He's also hitting a robust .367 with runners in scoring position.