Texas Rangers: Adrian Gonzalez

Joe Nathan bounces back with 20th save

July, 26, 2012
7/26/12
9:00
AM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Trotting out of the bullpen with a 5-3 lead over the Boston Red Sox in the top of the ninth, Texas Rangers closer Joe Nathan was not about to make the same mistake twice.

After surrendering the go-ahead run and taking the loss Tuesday night with an unusual amount of costly walks, Nathan had a shutdown inning and earned his 18th consecutive save and 20th of the season to preserve the Rangers' series win.

“I try to just live in the present," Nathan said. "Last night was done. You try to build off it and learn from it."

Nathan is one of five active MLB pitchers with seven career 20-save seasons, and his save streak is the fourth-longest single-season streak in club history.

On Tuesday, Nathan issued two walks -- bringing his season total to seven -- and an RBI single that would prove fatal for the Rangers. But Wednesday, he wouldn't allow the middle of the Red Sox lineup any breathing room. Michael Young said no one doubted Nathan for a moment.

"It's always a good thing to get our closer back out there," Young said. "I know he loves to go out there and do his job well. Joe's been great for us all season long, and we have a ton of confidence in him."

Nathan certainly did his job well, setting down all three hitters he faced. He said the biggest difference was his fastball command.

"It wasn’t a big adjustment," he said. "Last night I wasn’t missing much. They were just real patient. I’ve seen hitters swing at a lot of the pitches I threw yesterday. They’ve been seeing the ball pretty well and playing good baseball. So I just tried to come in tonight and really command some pitches, maybe give them a different look.”

Nathan fittingly struck out the final batter of the game swinging on a full count. But he also got some help from his defense, particularly a nice play from Ian Kinsler for the first out. Kinsler sprinted into the gap between second and first base to make a nice grab and fire the ball to Young at first for the putout. Nathan said that Kinsler had been due fora play like that on defense.

"We’ve been joking around because there’ve been some balls in that hole that he hasn’t gotten to and he’s like, 'trust m,e I’ll get to some,' " Nathan said. "We were coming inside with the pitch and he was able to tie him up in there. Being the hitter (Adrian Gonzalez) is, he almost found the hole, but it was a nice play.”

With another solid performance behind him, Nathan said he couldn't be more pleased to have a day off Thursday before the Chicago White Sox come to Arlington.

“You have no idea how much I was looking forward to 10 o'clock tonight," He said. "Great chance to put ourselves in the charger and kind of sit and marinate and enjoy the family. I'm looking forward to an umbrella above my head and kicking my feet up for a few hours.”

After slugging out a nice series win and facing a gauntlet of divisional foes since the All-Star break, Nathan and the Rangers certainly could use a rest. With the White Sox and Los Angeles Angels coming to town, the Texas has a tough stretch ahead.

Matchup: Derek Holland vs. Josh Beckett

July, 25, 2012
7/25/12
3:00
PM CT


ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers and the Boston Red Sox wrap up a three-game series Wednesday with LHP Derek Holland taking on RHP Josh Beckett at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW. A quick look at the matchup:

Holland (6-5, 4.84): The 25-year-old will make his 15th start and 16th appearance of the season. ... It will be his fourth start since returning from the disabled list July 7. ... He is 1-1 with a 3.98 ERA in his last three starts. ... Despite spending a month on the DL, he is tied for third on the team in wins and is fourth in strikeouts with 67. ... Suffered a loss in his last start in Anaheim on Friday, giving up six runs off nine hits in 6 2/3 innings of work. ... Holds a 8-3 record with a 3.59 ERA in 16 career games (13 starts) in July. ... He has not allowed more than two walks in eight consecutive starts. ... Is 3-1 with a 2.84 ERA in four career starts against Boston. ... He has won three straight games against the Red Sox, dating to 2009. ... Gave up two runs on four hits in seven innings in the Rangers' 6-3 win in Boston on April 18.

Beckett (5-8, 4.53): The 32-year-old is slated to make his 17th start of the season. ... He is coming off a loss to the Chicago White Sox on July 20, where he gave up five runs -- four earned -- on seven hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in six innings. ... He is 3-3 with a 4.88 ERA in nine career starts against Texas. ... Picked up a loss in his lone outing against the Rangers this season. He gave up three runs on seven hits in seven innings of work on April 18. ... Boasts a 3-1 career record with a 3.48 ERA in five career starts (all since 2006) at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. It is the fourth-best ERA for visiting starters (minimum five starts) at Rangers Ballpark during that same time frame. ... He has allowed one run or less in three of those five starts in Texas.

Hitters: Current Rangers are 41-for-153 against Beckett. ... Josh Hamilton is 8-for-17 (.471) with two home runs and seven RBIs. ... Michael Young is 4-for-24 (.167) with a home run and three RBIs. ... Adrian Beltre is 5-for-26 (.192) with a double and 10 strikeouts. ... Current Red Sox are 16-for-78 against Holland. ... Jacoby Ellsbury is 3-for-8 (.375) with a double. ... Adrian Gonzalez is 1-for-9 (.111) with three strikeouts. ... Dustin Pedroia is 1-for-11 (.091) with an RBI.

Up Next:

Fri. vs. White Sox: RHP Yu Darvish (11-6, 3.88) vs. LHP Chris Sale (11-3, 2.37), 7:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/TXA21
Sat. vs. White Sox: LHP Matt Harrison (12-5, 3.02) vs. RHP Philip Humber (4-5, 6.25), 7:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW
Sun. vs. White Sox: Roy Oswalt (3-1, 5.22) vs. RHP Gavin Floyd (8-8, 4.46), 6:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW

Lineups: David Murphy draws start in RF

July, 24, 2012
7/24/12
4:29
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- David Murphy will start in right field Tuesday as the Texas Rangers take on the Boston Red Sox in the second game of a three-game set at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW. Nelson Cruz will be the DH, and Craig Gentry will draw another start in center field despite the Red Sox throwing right-hander Clay Buchholz.

The rest of the lineups:

RANGERS

2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
LF Josh Hamilton (L)
3B Adrian Beltre
1B Michael Young
DH Nelson Cruz
RF David Murphy (L)
C Mike Napoli
CF Craig Gentry

RED SOX

CF Jacoby Ellsbury (L)
DH Pedro Ciriaco
2B Dustin Pedroia
1B Adrian Gonzalez (L)
RF Cody Ross
3B Will Middlebrooks
LF Carl Crawford (L)
C Kelly Shoppach
SS Mike Aviles

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 18, Red Sox 3

April, 17, 2012
4/17/12
9:38
PM CT


The Texas Rangers steamrolled the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday, getting 18 runs on 21 hits and a quality start from Colby Lewis. The Rangers were behind 2-0 after the first inning, but immediately took the lead in the second with four runs and never looked back. Texas mashed six homers (two from Mike Napoli) and scored eight of their runs in the eighth inning alone. It was an impressive game all the way around for the Rangers. It's the club's fifth consecutive win and eighth in its last nine games. Some quick thoughts:

What it means: The Rangers set new season-highs for runs (18), hits (21), home runs (6) and runs in an inning. They had eight runs in the eighth thanks to three home runs. The trio of Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz hit them. They just kept hitting. The inning took 32 minutes and the Red Sox threw 60 pitches. Texas had seven hits, including the three homers. Every Rangers starter in the game had at least one hit and the 18 runs are the most in franchise history at Fenway Park.

PODCAST
Rangers manager Ron Washington talks about the Rangers' series-opening 18-3 win over the Red Sox.

Listen Listen
Solid start: Colby Lewis gave up a two-run homer to second baseman Dustin Pedroia and surrendered four hits in the first inning. But after that, he was on his game. The Red Sox had four more hits off Lewis the rest of the game and no runs as he went seven innings and gave up two runs (that's another quality start). His control has been impressive the whole season. He has 22 strikeouts and just one walk in 2012. His ERA is now 1.83.

Still on a roll: Hamilton's first-inning single means he's hit safely in 10 of the 11 games the Rangers have played this season. Hamilton also had a first-pitch hit. He's now 6-for-10 when he swings at the first pitch this season (and he's swinging at the first pitch more than anyone in MLB).

Five RBIs: Hamilton tied a career-high with five RBIs. That included a monster home run to right field that was absolutely crushed. ESPN Stats and Information puts it at 469 feet, the second-longest homer in MLB this season. Travis Hafner hit one 481 feet Sunday against the Royals. In his last three games, Hamilton is 8-for-14 with two doubles and three homers.

Great throw: Hamilton made things happen in the field, too. Playing in left, Hamilton snagged a ball off the left-field wall and fired it to second to get Jason Repko and end the fourth inning. Hamilton has had a sensational first 11 games.

Playing the wall: Craig Gentry did a nice job of playing Ryan Sweeney's double off the wall in center. Gentry was able to catch it right away after it hit the top of the wall (the ball never touched the ground) and immediately got it back in. That kept Adrian Gonzalez at third. Lewis then got a soft ground ball out down the first-base line to end the inning and limit the damage.

Lovin' Fenway: Cruz, who came into Tuesday's game batting just .211, also came into the game hitting .385 (37-for-96) agianst Boston. He hit a one-out double in the second to the deepest part of Fenway (it probably went 410 feet and wasn't a homer) and scored on Napoli's two-run shot. He later had a home run and ended up 3-for-6 with three runs scored and two RBIs.

Two-strike hit: Napoli came into Tuesday's game 0-for-15 with nine strikeouts on two-strike counts. But he crushed an 0-2 inside slider thrown by Jon Lester in the second inning. The ball went over the seats on top of the Green Monster in left. Napoli made the swing and then didn't even look at the ball as he trotted around the bases. He knew it was gone. The homer tied the score. Napoli's homer on Sunday in Minnesota may have gotten him going. He had two Tuesday -- both two-run shots. Napoli's second homer in the ninth curled around the foul pole in left. It looked like Bubba Watson's hook shot on the second playoff hole at the Masters earlier this month.

Speed helps: With the bases loaded in the second, Elvis Andrus didn't hit the ball very far. But with his speed, it was far enough. His dribbler between the mound and third-base line was enough to score the go-ahead run and allow him to get to first base without a throw.

Strange play: Left fielder Cody Ross had a fly ball from Hamilton go off his glove in the second. He was camped under it, but maybe looked up too soon to see where he was going to throw the ball. Instead, Gentry scored and Ross threw to third for a forceout of Ian Kinsler.

Long at-bat: Beltre's second-inning at-bat was 12 pitches long and ended up as an infield single. In fact, if not for a terrific diving grab by Pedroia, Beltre would have had an RBI. Still, he helped drive up Lester's pitch count.

49 pitches...in one inning: Lester threw 49 pitches in the second inning alone. The Rangers had five hits and two walks in the inning, scoring four runs.

Walk in the park: The Rangers came into Tuesday's game last in the AL in walks with 18. But they walked seven times Tuesday.

Will Michael Young garner MVP votes?

November, 21, 2011
11/21/11
8:00
AM CT
The American League MVP will be announced at 1 p.m. today and unlike last season when Josh Hamilton was the runaway favorite -- and landslide winner -- a handful of players are in the running this season.

Will Texas Rangers super-utility man Michael Young, who hit a career-high .338 with a career-best 106 RBIs from the five-hole and cleanup, register on the voters' scorecards? Young served as the club's designated hitter for the first time in his career, but also played extensively at third base during Adrian Beltre's injury and at first base, especially late in the season as Mitch Moreland struggled.

The big issue with Young is that he might not be the MVP on his own team. Catcher-first baseman Mike Napoli, who would have been the World Series MVP had Texas wrapped it up, just might have seized that honor with an amazing post-All-Star Game run.

Still, it will be interesting to see how Young, respected around the league by the voting baseball writers, stands up to a loaded field that includes Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander, Boston Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and even New York Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson.

Michael Young in battle for batting title

September, 25, 2011
9/25/11
8:00
AM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Michael Young enters the final four games of the regular season in contention for his second American League batting title.

After two hits on Saturday, Young raised his average to .338, two points behind the leader, Boston Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (.340) and a point behind second-place Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers (.339).

“The batting race is not my focus,’’ the 34-year-old Young, ever the team player, said Saturday. “My focus is completely on winning games.’’

Young is one of three Texas Rangers in their 39-year history to have won an AL batting title with a .331 average in 2005, 10 points better than second-place Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees.

Other Rangers batting title champions are Julio Franco (.341) in 1991 and Josh Hamilton last season (.359).

Young made it a point to volunteer for duty Saturday, a day when many Rangers regulars enjoyed a day off, even though Felix Hernandez was pitching for the Seattle Mariners.

“When I put myself in the place of our players, that’s what I would do,’’ Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “I’d be one of those that would tell the skipper that you can depend on me.’’

Young’s 155 starts in Texas’ 158 games this season are broken down this way: 68 at designated hitter, 38 at first base, 13 at second base and 36 at first base.

Washington said it was an oversight for Young to not at least be mentioned in the MVP discussion.

“When you look at all the things he does for this team, all the positions he plays,’’ said Washington, “it’s B.S. if they don’t talk about Michael Young.’’

Gonzalez vs. lefties for NYY, Boston, Detroit

August, 31, 2011
8/31/11
3:24
PM CT
Let's look ahead to possible October matchups for the Rangers. LHP Mike Gonzalez gives them a situational lefty that can come in and face the top left-handed hitters for the Yankees, Red Sox and Tigers. And all three teams have some good hitters that manager Ron Washington might want to utilize Gonzalez against.

Here are Gonzalez's numbers against some of those lefties in his career:

Curtis Granderson, NYY: 0-for-1
Robinson Cano, NYY: 3-for-6, 2 RBIs
Jacoby Ellsbury, Bos: 0-for-4, 1 BB, 2 Ks
David Ortiz, Bos: 1-for-6, 1 BB, 3 Ks
Adrian Gonzalez, Bos: 1-for-5, 2 Ks
Alex Avila, Det: 1-for-3, 1 RBI

He's never faced Brennan Boesch of Detroit.

One more scouting report on him:

He's got a sharp slider that is tough on lefties and his delivery is deceptive. It doesn't hurt that he's got some power.

Rapid Reaction: Boston 11, Rangers 5

August, 23, 2011
8/23/11
10:16
PM CT

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Colby Lewis struggled and the Red Sox jumped on the Rangers' bullpen too for an 11-5 victory. Adrian Gonzalez had two home runs -- both off Lewis -- to help the Red Sox beat Texas for the first time this season. Some quick thoughts (more to come from the clubhouse):

• Lewis just didn't have it. Command was the issue. His control wasn't bad, as he got ahead of hitters. But too many pitches were over the plate, allowing the Red Sox to put seven runs off him on nine hits. Lewis tried to throw every pitch he had, but couldn't do much early in the outing. When Lewis doesn't have his fastball location where he wants it, he can struggle and that's what happened.

• Lewis allowed two home runs -- both to Adrian Gonzalez. They totaled 806 feet. Lewis has allowed 30 homers this season, tops in the AL and second in the majors (Bronson Arroyo has 34).

• One positive for Lewis: He was still able to grind out six innings and save the bullpen for the rest of the series. That could be important for the club in the coming days with two more games in this series and then three straight against the Angels.

• The Rangers attempted to start a comeback with three runs in the third (after falling behind 6-0). Three consecutive singles loaded the bases for Elvis Andrus, who walked. Josh Hamilton and Michael Young both hit sacrifice flies to score runs.

• Hamilton's home run in the fifth was a solo shot, but the two batters in front of him nearly got on. Ian Kinsler hit a long fly ball toward the gap in left-center, but Jacoby Ellsbury made a nice running catch. Andrus thought he had an infield hit on a close play. Hamilton also made a nice defensive play, sliding in foul territory to make a catch against Josh Reddick leading off the fifth.

• The Rangers appeared ready to put even more pressure on the Red Sox in the sixth. They got runners on the corners with one out against John Lackey, but Yorvit Torrealba hit a 2-2 curve right back to the mound. Lackey fell off the front of the mound to get it, but threw to second from his knees to start an inning-ending double play.

• Ian Kinsler wins the alert award for the night. The Red Sox had runners and second and third with one out and the Rangers infield in. A ground ball to Mitch Moreland caused him to go to his right and then stare the runner down at third. Kinsler immediately hustled over to the first base bag so the Rangers got the out.

• The announced attendance on Tuesday was 25,705. That was just 491 more fans than the club's attendance for a Seattle game on Aug. 9. Outside of that Seattle game, Tuesday's attendance was the lowest since May 9 against Oakland (24,375). The fact that it's the first week of school and that it was 103 degrees at first pitch may have played a part in that. But it's surprising that more folks didn't attend a game involving the Red Sox, especially with the possibility of these teams facing each other in the postseason.

• Gonzalez's big night -- 3-for-4 with a walk, two HRs, three RBIs -- put his batting average at .346, giving him a larger edge over Michael Young, who was 0-for-2 with a walk and is batting .337. Young has still hit safely in 26 of the last 31 games.

• Before Tuesday night's game, Mark Lowe had worked seven scoreless innings in his past seven games with 10 strikeouts. But he ran into trouble in the eighth. He allowed both inherited runners to score -- they were charged to Darren Oliver -- and then gave up two runs of his own thanks to two doubles off the wall in left.

Mike Napoli's 11-game hitting streak ended, but he did have two walks. Napoli hit .311 with three HRs and seven RBIs during the streak.

• Kinsler hit a solo homer with two outs in the ninth. It was his 21st homer of the season and his 59th RBI.

Scouting the opponent: Boston Red Sox

August, 22, 2011
8/22/11
10:30
AM CT
The great Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com sent Rangers fans a letter to get you ready for the four-game series with the Red Sox. Read carefully if you want to be fully prepared for this series:

Letter from Boston,
4 Yawkey Way,
Boston, Mass.

We’d begin by saying, “Hi, y’all,’’ but figure you’ll think we’re trying too hard, so we’ll just get right to it. We haven’t forgotten the way the Rangers smacked the Red Sox around back in April, when evidently the Sons of Nolan Ryan didn’t much like the idea of all the so-called wise guys conceding the American League pennant to the Sawx, as if the Rangers’ trip to the World Series the previous October had never happened.

Talk about kicking the wrong hornet’s nest: That was some whipping the Rangers put on the Red Sox, who were still reeling when they got to Cleveland, ended up losing three more, and found themselves in an 0-6 hole that sobered up everybody real quick.

That was learning respect the hard way: Outscored 29-12, 11 home runs by the home team (four off Clay Buchholz), a fellow Texan, John Lackey, pounded for 10 hits and 9 runs almost as soon as Ron Washington posted his lineup card, and a former Sox discard, David Murphy, putting a hurting on the high-and-mighty reliever, Daniel Bard.

So while the Red Sox will show up in Arlington Monday night with payback on their minds, they do so with no illusions that will be an easy task, especially when they’re showing up nursing a few wounds. Kevin Youkilis, who has never backed away from a fight, is on the disabled list but it’s not easy to play the tough guy when you can't stand up straight. Hey, the Rangers have been playing without their third baseman, Adrian Beltre, for a month, so no crying here.

But Big Papi, David Ortiz, also is limping into town, sidelined for the last week with bursitis in his right heel. He took his walking boot off Sunday in Kansas City, might try running Monday afternoon in the Ballpark and hopes to face the Rangers, but it's real iffy.

The other notable Sox absentee over the weekend was center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who took a fastball smack on his No. 2 and sat out the last two games. "A real bad bruise in the right spot," is how it was described to me, but manager Terry Francona said it's 50-50 he's back Monday night. I'm guessing, he'll be playing, and Rangers fans might not recognize him if he does -- he's morphed from a slap-hitting jackrabbit into a potential 30-30 man, having harnessed the power potential that has always been there.

Y'all (sorry) will have no trouble IDing the Sox first baseman, since he used to be one of yours -- Adrian Gonzalez. The same is true of the catcher, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who will have a Texas-sized chip on his shoulder when he plays here, seeing how you gave up on him. Salty probably has improved more than any other player since the start of the season -- run at your own risk -- while AGon has been MVP material from jump street, even though a stiff neck may have put a crick in his power. Gonzalez has just 2 home runs in over 200-plus plate appearances, though he came close to leaving the yard twice in Kansas City.

The Sox will run out their two Texans, Lackey and Josh Beckett, to pitch this week, bookended by new lefty Erik Bedard, who gave the Rangers occasional fits when he was with Seattle, and Tim Wakefield, who is older than God but has been all too mortal in five failed attempts to win his 200th game. The back end of the bullpen remains money -- closer Jonathan Papelbon is pitching for his paycheck in his walk year and Bard is clearly future closer material -- but the rest of the pen has been vulnerable, with rolypoly Matt Albers in a two-week slump, Bobby Jenks in Florida rehabbing, and Franklin Morales still trying to win trust as lefty in residence.

The wild card for the Sox? Whether another Texan, Houston-bred Carl Crawford, shows up for the season's last six weeks. The Sox had high hopes for their $142 million man when the batted him leadoff against the Rangers on the season's opening weekend. He's dropped to sixth or seventh in ther order since as he has been a shadow of his Tampa Bay self, but the Sox keep hoping he figures it out before October.

And speaking of October, you can be sure of this: The Sox understand the road to the World Series may well pass through Arlington, sooner or later. This week in Texas, next week in Boston, let's call it what it is: a dress rehearsal for the postseason.

The Cowboys can just chill in the meantime,

Gordon Edes

What to watch against the Red Sox

August, 22, 2011
8/22/11
8:30
AM CT

The Rangers begin a 10-day homestand (in 11 days) tonight against Boston. They'll face the Red Sox for four games, followed by the Angels for three and, after an off day, the Tampa Bay Rays for three. Here's a look at some things to keep an eye on (besides our in-game chats all series long from the ballpark):

* Standings. Obviously, it's that time of year for scoreboard watching and with the Rangers four games up on the Angels, everyone will be keeping an eye on the Angels. They don't play tonight, but face the White Sox for two games before heading to Texas. The Rangers would, no doubt, like to stay at least four games ahead before the Angels arrive.

* Catchers. Mike Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba have turned up the offensive heat in this second half. Napoli, it seems, has been hot the entire season. In Sunday's loss to the White Sox, the Rangers had only four hits. But three of them belonged to the catchers, including Napoli, who extended his road hitting streak to 22 games, now eight behind Rafael Palmeiro for the club lead. Napoli hit .317 on the Rangers' 10-game road trip. Torrealba was 2-for-3 and has hit safely in 19 of his last 23 contests. Throw-in Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, a former Ranger, and the catching spot should be of great interest in this series.

* Race for the lead-league in batting average. The top-2 players in batting average in the American League will be at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington the next four days. Adrian Gonzalez is hitting .343 and Michael Young is at .337. Young has one batting title and is trying to win another. He had his streak of reaching base via a hit or walk end at 19 consecutive games yesterday. Young is a .263 lifetime hitter against Boston, but just 3-for-14 this season (although that was very early in the season).

* Mitch Moreland. He was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts yesterday, but still hit .371 with 3 HRs and 9 RBIs on the road trip. After some struggles, Moreland appears to have found a groove. Can he keep it going in this series? He's hitting .290 against righties and will see three of them in this series.

* Adrian Beltre. If his hamstring looks good to team physician Dr. Keith Meister, Beltre could run the bases today as he progresses toward a rehab assignment. Beltre has been on the disabled list since July 23 and had one setback running the bases already. He's been steadily building up, so we'll see how things go. Obviously, Beltre would be a big boost to this club in September if he's healthy.

* Ian Kinsler. The leadoff man can score runs in a variety of ways, as his 20-20 status shows (2o HRs, 21 stolen bases). The Rangers will need him to set the tone early against the Red Sox, much like he did on the recent 10-game road trip. Kinsler was 4-for-10 with 3 HRs and 3 RBIs in the first series against Boston this season.

* Who's the next Rangers hitter to get to 20 homers? Texas now has four at that mark with Kinsler's two blasts on Saturday (Kinsler, Beltre, Napoli and Nelson Cruz, who leads the club with 26). Moreland and Josh Hamilton are at 16.

* Josh Hamilton got the day off on Sunday, but is hitting .303 with 5 HRs and 20 RBIs in 35 games since the All-Star break. Hamilton has had some memorable games against the Red Sox, including maybe the best all-around game by any Ranger ever in a big comeback last year in Arlington. Keep your eye on him in this series.

* Neftali Feliz. These games figure to be close and that means the bullpens will be key. We've talked a lot about Koji Uehara and Mike Adams, but the Rangers' closer could be the key to the outcome of a few of these games. Since just prior to the trade deadline, Feliz is 5-for-6 in save chances with 10 strikeouts and just two walks -- better numbers than what he's put up overall this season.

It should be a fun series and it could be a playoff preview depeding on how the divisions shake out in the next six weeks. Join us for live in-game chats all week.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.324 19 77 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
WC. Lewis 10
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182