Texas Rangers: Tampa Bay Rays

Rapid Reaction: Rays 10, Rangers 1

August, 13, 2014
Aug 13
10:04
PM CT

 
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Wednesday night started off badly with the news that Texas Rangers staff ace Yu Darvish was moved to the 15-day disabled list with right-elbow inflammation.

It continued when young right-hander Miles Mikolas took the mound and gave up three home runs in the first two innings against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Rangers' bumpy season took another bad step as the Rays picked up an easy 10-1 victory at Globe Life Park.

Rays starter Chris Archer struck out a career-high 12 while earning his 15th quality start of the season. It was a masterful performance by Archer -- and that’s not to say the Rangers weren’t trying, because they were. You just have to credit him.

Archer didn’t allow a hit until Leonys Martin’s leadoff double in the fifth, and the right-hander struck out six consecutive batters in the early innings.

It was just too easy and painful to watch.

Things were so bad that Rangers manager Ron Washington took reliever Nate Adcock out after three of the five hitters he faced reached base for Alex Claudio, who was called up when Darvish was placed on the DL, in the eighth inning.

The first two pitches of Claudio's major league career were for strikes. And he eventually struck out Kevin Kiermaier on a bender on the outside part of the plate for his first big league strikeout. When he finished the inning, having allowed no runs, he got a nice ovation from the crowd.

It was the only positive thing on the evening for the home team.

How it happened: Quickly. To make this simple, Matt Joyce homered for a 1-0 lead in the first; in the second, Mikolas gave up two more home runs as the Rays took a commanding 5-0 edge. The Rangers did get a run on Jim Adduci's sacrifice fly that scored Martin in the fifth.

Archer kept the Rangers guessing most of the night and they didn’t offer a serious threat outside of the sixth inning, when a pair of one-out singles from Elvis Andrus and Mike Carp got the crowd alive.

Archer struck out Adrian Beltre and Alex Rios to end the threat.

Leadoff hitter blues: Shin-Soo Choo is the Rangers' leadoff hitter, but doesn’t look like one at the plate. He struck out twice Wednesday and leads the majors with 124 strikeouts from the leadoff position. Miami’s Christian Yelich is second with 99. Choo has struck out in his past 11 games, the longest stretch of the season.

Saving the bullpen: Washington elected to use first baseman J.P. Arencibia in the ninth inning over a reliever in mop-up duty. It was Arencibia’s first appearance as a pitcher and the third time this season the Rangers used a position player on the mound. Arencibia allowed just an infield hit in his one inning of work.

What’s next? Left-hander Robbie Ross (2-4, 5.61 ERA) takes on right-hander Jake Odorizzi (8-9, 3.89) on Thursday night.

Scott Baker gets first win since 2011

August, 13, 2014
Aug 13
12:00
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas – It’s been a long time since Texas Rangers reliever Scott Baker tallied his last win.

But Baker was all smiles early Wednesday morning after not only getting his first victory of the season in Tuesday's 3-2, 14-inning triumph over the Tampa Bay Rays, but his first win since July 23, 2011 when he was with the Minnesota Twins.

Baker, who missed the 2012 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, also put an end to another rather inauspicious record. The Rangers had been 0-20 in games Baker had appeared in.

“I guess in a way, it’s just a stat,” Baker said. “Regardless if I get a win as a reliever or a starter, to win a game in the big leagues means something. So I’m very happy, obviously. At the same time, it’s just a matter of being in the right place at the right time sometimes, and I think that was the case tonight.”

Baker was part of a Rangers bullpen that logged seven innings after starter Nick Tepesch was pulled after seven solid innings of work and 102 pitches. Baker came on in the 13th and allowed just one hit in his two innings, a one-out double to Evan Longoria in the 14th.

The Rangers won in the bottom of the inning when Adam Rosales drew a two-out bases loaded walk.

“You just can’t prepare for what you’re going to do that day,” Baker said of his life as a long reliever. “Each day dictates (something different) and it dictates what role you’re going to be in, and as far as me throwing (Monday, where he threw 17 pitches in one inning), I still felt good to throw multiple innings, and I was out there until they wouldn’t allow me out there to pitch anymore.”

Alex Rios trade value moves up and down

August, 12, 2014
Aug 12
12:00
PM CT
Alex RiosJesse Johnson/USA TODAY SportsMonday's MRI showed that Alex Rios won't need to go on the disabled list for a sprained ankle.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The good news for Rangers right fielder Alex Rios is that he won't go on the disabled list for a sprained right ankle.

The bad news is that his trade value is slipping due to the injury and the longer he remains on the Rangers' roster, the fewer contending teams will be available to acquire his services.

Rios underwent a MRI on Monday afternoon that revealed nothing more than a painful sprained ankle, something that’s bothered him after he swung the bat in Toronto July 19.

After that, Rios had treatment and did some light running from time-to-time to prepare to play.

The Rangers need Rios in their lineup for so many reasons. He gives manager Ron Washington something to work with, given he only has four players in his everyday lineup that are proven.

Rios also needs to play to be able to display his skills for opposing scouts and general managers, so Jon Daniels can make a move.

Each passing day, it becomes harder and harder for Daniels to do anything with Rios, especially when he doesn't play.

(Read full post)

Rapid Reaction: Rays 7, Rangers 0

August, 11, 2014
Aug 11
10:33
PM CT

ARLINGTON, Texas – Temperatures at Globe Life Park didn’t appear unreasonably high Monday night. It was 92 degrees at game time, and Texas Rangers starter Colby Lewis wore the look of a man pitching in a desert.

Lewis didn’t have much to offer against the Tampa Bay Rays and was lifted after just five innings -- on the heels of his first complete game of the season.

While Lewis struggled with his control and velocity, his teammates were a lifeless bunch in the 7-0 loss to the Rays. It was the seventh time this season and second time this month the Rangers have been shut out.

Rays starter Drew Smyly, in his second start since arriving in the David Price trade, gave up just three hits over a career-high 7⅔ innings.

Lewis gave up five runs, two earned, on four walks, five hits and his own throwing error. He threw 101 pitches, which is nine fewer than he threw in his complete-game shutout of the Chicago White Sox last week.

How it happened: Lewis escaped trouble in the opening inning by getting James Loney to bounce out to second with two on. The second inning is when Lewis just lost everything. It started with a leadoff walk, a no-no, and, following a Yunel Escobar single, that’s where the fun started ... depending on your point of view. Curt Casali laid a bunt toward the mound, and Lewis’ throw to third skipped past Adrian Beltre, which allowed Cole Figueroa to score. Lewis struck out the next batter, and Desmond Jennings reached on a fielder's choice, with Adam Rosales fielding the ball and throwing Escobar out at home. (A review upheld the play.) Ben Zobrist walked, and Matt Joyce singled in two runs for a 3-0 lead.

Zobrist added an RBI double, and Evan Longoria an RBI single in the fourth to push the lead to 4-0. The Rangers and Lewis were done after that.

Choo’s strikeouts: Leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo has struck out in nine consecutive games. On Monday, he struck out looking in the first and swinging in the eighth. On the season, Choo has struck out swinging 72 times. He had hit safely in the previous six games, which raised his batting average from .234 to .247. The hit streak ended Monday as he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

At least Beltre did something: Cleanup hitter Beltre reached base three times in four trips, which included two walks and a seventh-inning single. Beltre was hitting just .233 in the previous eight games. He was left stranded three times. He drew a leadoff walk in the second and a two-out free pass in the fourth. His single came with one out, but Smyly struck out the next two hitters.

Medical news: Right fielder Alex Rios' MRI revealed no structural damage on his right ankle. Rios, who didn’t play Monday due to a sprained ankle, is expected to play at some point during this four-game series. Second baseman Jurickson Profar, out for the season recovering from right-shoulder surgery, had an MRI show he’s now cleared to start a throwing program in a couple of weeks.

Who’s next? Nick Tepesch (4-7, 4.46 ERA) takes on fellow right-hander Jeremy Hellickson (1-1, 2.61) on Tuesday night.

W2W4: Rays at Rangers

August, 11, 2014
Aug 11
1:00
PM CT
The Rangers and Rays begin a four-game series tonight at Globe Life Park.

Here's a preview:

What's up with the Rays? They had a three-game win streak snapped Sunday with a 12-inning loss to the Chicago Cubs. The Rays have played three extra-inning games in the last seven days. Tampa Bay is 13-7 since the All-Star break and 33-18 since June 11, which is the second-best mark in the majors. 3B Evan Longoria is on a 4-for-26 slide with a double and three RBIs. SS Yunel Escobar had a four-game hit streak end Sunday. INF/OF Ben Zobrist has been on a tear. Dating back to June 28, Zobrist is hitting .360 with four home runs, 17 RBIs and 23 walks. When Yu Darvish pitches Thursday, several Rays could have problems. Longoria is .182 and Escobar is .154 against the Rangers ace.

What's up with the Rangers? The Rangers completed a nine-game, 10-day road trip at 3-6. The club broke four-game and two-game losing streaks. Coming home isn't a positive thing for the Rangers. The club has the fewest victories at their home ballpark (21) in the majors. 1B J.P. Arencibia leads the majors with 22 RBIs since the break and is second with seven home runs. In his last 15 games, Arencibia has 18 RBIs. After giving up two runs on two hits in one-third of an inning against the New York Yankees on July 29, reliever Shawn Tolleson hasn't allowed a run in his last four innings of work.

The battle for last place: The Rangers (46-71) and Colorado Rockies are tied for the worst records in baseball. The Rangers start a seven-game homestand against the Rays and the Rockies begin a three-game road trip in San Diego on Monday night. The Astros (49-69) took two of three from the Rangers and conclude their six-game homestand with three against Minnesota.

The matchups: Monday night: RHP Colby Lewis (8-8, 5.50) vs. LHP Drew Smyly (6-10, 3.98). This is Smyly's second start for the Rays since the David Price trade. Tuesday: RHP Nick Tepesch (4-7, 4.46) vs. RHP Jeremy Hellickson (1-1, 2.61). Wednesday: RHP Miles Mikolas (1-4, 6.57) vs. RHP Chris Archer (7-6, 3.33). Thursday: RHP Yu Darvish (10-7, 3.06) vs. RHP Jake Odorizzi (8-9, 3.89).

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 6, Astros 2

August, 10, 2014
Aug 10
4:39
PM CT
HOUSTON -- It’s never going to be easy with young pitchers still learning the craft.

Some nights things work well and other nights make you shake your head in disgust.

Sunday afternoon there was no reason for Rangers fans to be upset after Nick Martinez's efforts at Minute Maid Park against the Houston Astros. Martinez earned his first victory since May 24 in helping the Rangers end a two-game losing streak with a 6-2 victory.

The win also ended a personal seven-game losing streak for the 24-year old Martinez (2-8) in his first season as a full-time starter.

Should Martinez even be here?

That’s up for debate given the injury situation with the Rangers, and, like most of the young pitchers on this staff, he’s auditioning for 2015.

Consistency is something the Rangers brass is seeking and his inability to finish games leaves Rangers fans shaking their heads.

The Rangers gave him leads of 3-0 and 4-1 in his previous two starts and he lost them. Sunday the Rangers hitters rallied from a 2-0 deficit to give him a 4-2 lead. Martinez made it stand strong and, despite throwing 102 pitches, he lasted to the fifth inning where he struck out a career-high six in getting the victory.

How it happened: Martinez worked in and out of trouble for his five innings where the Astros generated just two runs. The Astros left men on base in the first, second, third and fifth innings. At one point, Martinez retired seven of nine hitters.

The Rangers did their work thanks to some speed in the fourth and fifth innings before using the long ball to secure the victory.

In the fourth, Alex Rios picked up his fourth hit of the road trip, an RBI double to left center that cut the deficit to 2-1. Rios later scored on Adam Rosales' infield single that scooted past Astros shortstop Marwin Gonzalez. Rios beat the throw home to tied the score at 2-2. The Rangers added two more when Robinson Chirinos' speed allowed him to score on a wild pitch and Daniel Robertson ran home on Andrus' sacrifice fly to center for a 4-2 edge.

The Rangers put the game away on a pair of solo homers by Adrian Beltre and Shin-Soo Choo. It was Choo’s 1,001st hit of his career and Beltre’s homer was his 17th of the season. It also gave him 393 in his career, tying him with Jim Edmonds for 56th place all-time.

The Silver Boot: The Rangers are 4-8 against the Astros this season, and with four games remaining between the teams, the Silver Boot is still in doubt. The Rangers’ victory on Sunday ended a seven-game losing streak to their I-45 rivals. The Rangers also ended a four-game losing streak at Minute Maid Park.

Rios hurt again: Rios re-injured his right ankle sliding into home plate on Rosales’ infield hit in the fourth inning. He was replaced by Jim Adduci. Rios missed the previous two games to give the ankle some rest. He went 1-2 with a fly out and a double off the wall in left before leaving. Rios is listed as day-to-day.

After clearing waivers on Thursday, the Rangers can trade him, but with this ankle injury bothering him, finding trade partners will be difficult.

What’s next?: The Rangers return home for a seven-game homestand starting on Monday against Tampa Bay. Colby Lewis (8-8, 5.50) faces Drew Smyly (6-10, 3.98) in Game 1 of the four-game set.

W2W4: Pitching debuts vs. Rays

April, 4, 2014
Apr 4
3:43
PM CT
The Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays are set to begin a three-game series tonight. A few things to keep an eye on over the weekend (and by the way, Chris Girandola is in Tampa for us. You can follow him on Twitter @crgrand for his coverage.):

* Yu Darvish starts for the first time in 2014 on Sunday. After a stiff neck kept him from starting on Opening Day, Darvish is ready to go after going through a few bullpen sessions to get his arm strength and command where he wants it. In two career starts at Tropicana Field, Darvish is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA.

* Which Joe Saunders will the Rangers see? Saunders had a rough spring after being signed by the Rangers for pitching depth. But he's got a track record of eating innings and keeping his team in games. The question is will his bad spring carry over into tonight's game, or was that simply a tuneup for the season?

* Nick Martinez makes his unlikely big league debut Saturday. The 23-year-old was expecting to start the season in Double-A Frisco, where he finished 2013. Instead, with all of the injuries, he's making his debut in Tampa. Martinez admits he's excited, but is stressing that he stay even-keeled and worry about executing pitches, rather than the size of the stadium or the moment.

* It's possible Saunders and Martinez are pitching to determine which one stays the next time through the rotation. With Darvish healthy and starting Sunday, the club will have to move someone out of the five-man rotation. Martinez has options, but it could come down to which guy performs better. Stay tuned.

* Early runs. The Rangers haven't had them so far yet this season. In fact, they fell behind the Phillies early in all three games but managed two ninth-inning comebacks. Texas was last in first-inning runs in 2013. They'd like to start a trend of getting on the board earlier.

* Prince Fielder. He had a slow start to the season in the first series and has not historically hit well at Tropicana Field (7-for-34 in his career). But the slugger did have a double in the final game of the series and he took a key walk Tuesday that allowed Adrian Beltre to come up and deliver in a critical situation.

* Do the platoons continue? Will manager Ron Washington keep going back and forth at second base (with Josh Wilson and Donnie Murphy) and at catcher (with J.P. Arencibia and Robinson Chirinos) or will he start to settle more on one guy at each spot?

* Michael Choice. The right-handed hitter is bound to get a chance against David Price, even after Mitch Moreland's two-hit performance Wednesday, right? Assuming Choice is in there, he's worth keeping an eye on. He's likely to get most of his at-bats against lefties.

Defining Dozen: Letting one get away

October, 25, 2013
10/25/13
8:00
AM CT
Editor's Note: This is the fifth of a 12-part series titled "Defining Dozen," which looks at the 12 moments that impacted the 2013 season the most. We will count down from 12 to 1. The moments will include highs and lows for the Texas Rangers from a season that lasted until Game 163.

Desmond Jennings AP Photo/Chris O'MearaDesmond Jennings put the finishing touch on a difficult loss for the Rangers.
Moment No. 8: Rangers blow late lead, fall 4-3 to Tampa Bay Rays in September.

When you end up tying for the final wild-card spot, you can easily look back and pick out a game here and a game there that would have made the difference. But there was one that kept coming up when talking to some players and staff down the stretch: Sept. 18 in Tampa Bay.

That night, the Rangers led the game twice, only to blow it. They had the Rays down to their final strike, in fact, but couldn't finish them off. Instead, the Rays walked off with a 4-3 victory in 12 innings. Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon called it the kind of "organic" win that could spark them to a run. And it did, as it turns out.

The Rangers led 2-0 going into the bottom of the fourth and appeared to get out of the inning on a ready-made double-play ball. But a good, hard slide by Wil Myers on Jurickson Profar prevented a good relay throw and the inning continued. The Rays got two to tie it in that frame.

"That was the big inning," manager Ron Washington said after the game. "Not turning that double play changed the whole ballgame."

Texas regained the lead in the 11th on an aggressive, heads-up play by Elvis Andrus, who ran all the way home from first on a two-out single by Adrian Beltre (Myers didn't really see him and Andrus was able to get home). But with Joe Nathan on the mound in the bottom half, the Rays clawed back. David DeJesus hit a 2-2 slider to center to tie the score.

That set the stage for the 12th. With lefty Joseph Ortiz on the mound and Neftali Feliz warming up, right-handed hitter Desmond Jennings came to the plate. Washington decided to stick with Ortiz, thinking his changeup would be crucial in the at-bat. Jennings, though, singled to give the Rays the victory.

Texas ended up winning the next night to claim the season series from the Rays, giving the Rangers the home game in Game 163. But at the end of the year as they glanced back to the previous few weeks, it was that loss that stuck with him.

Can Texas grab David Price without Profar?

October, 17, 2013
10/17/13
10:30
AM CT
Our buddy Dan Szymborski wrote a piece for ESPN Insider this week discussing the possible destinations for David Price, should the Tampa Bay Rays try to take advantage of Price's value with two years of club control left on his contract. It's a great read and you can give it a look here (insider).

[+] EnlargeProfar
Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY SportsJurickson Profar batted .234 with six homers and 26 RBIs in 85 games.
It's never too early to speculate about the Hot Stove, is it?

Szymborski's proposed trade is missing one interesting piece: Jurickson Profar.

Honestly, I have a difficult time imagining the Rays making a deal without Profar in it. No, I don't think Profar's value has changed much at all based on 2013. That might sound odd, figuring he hit .234 with six homers and 26 RBIs in 85 games. But the reality is that scouts (at least the ones I've talked to) know that Profar is a middle infielder and if left at one position, figure he'll improve quickly. He was put in a difficult spot this past season, moving positions and adjusting to life in the big leagues as a utility player.

He's got a high ceiling and for the 2012 Cy Young Award winner and a guy that came on strong after a rough April and May, I would think Profar is on top of the Rays' list.

So is it possible to get this deal done without Profar? Maybe, but the price in terms of exhausting so much of the top part of the farm system makes it difficult. The Rangers would essentially have to hand over three or four of their best prospects not named Profar. That would probably include two names that Szymborski mentioned: middle infielder Rougned Odor and third baseman Joey Gallo. But they might also talk about Luke Jackson, Jorge Alfaro or Luis Sardinas, just to name a few. And the Rays would likely want a young, big-league ready pitcher if they're giving up an ace. It just seems odd that a deal like this even has a realistic chance to get done without Profar in it.

Don't forget: There's a financial angle to all of this too. Price made $10.1 million this season. He'll get another raise next season and the season after that in arbitration. Anyone who acquires him will also do everything they can to get a long-term deal in place. And that's why it's a good time for the Rays to part with him. His value is high and they aren't likely to be able to afford to keep him after the 2015 season. There's precedence too, with the trade of James Shields to Kansas City (with two years left on his deal).

Price is one of those "big fish" that could be available this offseason. What team doesn't want starting pitching? And imagine David Price fronting this rotation with Yu Darvish. To me, that kind of trade has to involve a big-time, young, up-and-coming player like Profar. But Price is certainly one to watch as the Rangers go about trying to improve their squad this offseason. No matter what the final deal is, it's going to be a big price to pay to get him. But Price is an impact pitcher that isn't available very often.

Rapid Reaction: Rays 5, Rangers 2

September, 30, 2013
9/30/13
10:21
PM CT


ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers' charge to the playoffs at the end of the season was stopped by the team they eliminated from the postseason in 2010 and 2011, the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Rays outplayed the Rangers on Monday night in the American League wild-card tiebreaker game for a 5-2 victory at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Tampa Bay got the clutch home run, ran the bases better and played a flawless game in the field to move on to Wednesday's AL wild-card game against the Cleveland Indians.

Oh no, Longo: The Rays' Evan Longoria is at his best late in the season. He did it again Monday night, giving the Rays a 3-0 lead in the top of the third with a long two-run home run to right-center field that just got over the glove of Leonys Martin. Longoria also had a one-out double in the top of the sixth and scored on pinch hitter David DeJesus's RBI single to give the Rays a 4-1 lead.

Rangers get on board: Craig Gentry led off the bottom of the third with a single. With Gentry running, Martin grounded out to third base to give the Rangers a runner in scoring position. Ian Kinsler then lined a single into center field to cut the Rays' lead to 3-1.

Rios comes through: Alex Rios continued his torrid play late in the season, scolding a double off the left-field fence to score Elvis Andrus and cut the Rays' lead back to two runs at 4-2.

Baserunning mistakes: The Rangers upped their season total to a brutal 111 outs on the bases by getting picked off first base twice by David Price, who isn't known for having a great move. First, it was Andrus in the bottom of the first after drawing a one-out walk. After Kinsler drove in the Rangers' first run, he got picked off first base on a nice move by Price.

Perez's night: Rookie Martin Perez made his first postseason start, and while it wasn't the exact result he was looking for, he did keep the Rangers in the game for the first five innings. Perez allowed four runs in 5⅓ innings and was taken out after 74 pitches for Alexi Ogando, who gave up the single to DeJesus to give the Rays a three-run lead.

Leonys gets the call: The Rangers were the recipients of a very gracious call from left-field umpire Bruce Dreckman with two outs in the top of the seventh. With two runners on, Delmon Young sent a sinking line drive into center field that Martin made a diving attempt for in front of him. The ball actually one-hopped its way into Martin's glove, but Dreckman made the out call much to the chagrin of Rays manager Joe Maddon.

Cruz's night: Nelson Cruz played for the first time since his 50-game suspension and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Cruz almost changed the direction of the game in the second inning. With the Rangers trailing 1-0 and Adrian Beltre on second after a leadoff double, Cruz worked a 2-2 count and hit a screaming line drive that Rays first baseman James Loney snared. Cruz led off the bottom of the fifth with a grounder to third. He led off the seventh with a swinging strikeout on a full count.

Price goes nine: Price finally got over his curse of the Rangers. He worked a strong complete game and allowed two runs. Price came into the start with an 0-3 postseason record and a 10.26 ERA at Rangers Ballpark. But he had none of that on Monday night. Yes, he got a favorable strike zone from plate umpire Jeff Kellogg, who did have an impact on the game, but Price took advantage of it and allowed six hits and walked only one.

Matchup: Martin Perez vs. David Price

September, 30, 2013
9/30/13
1:30
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays have a Game 163 in front of them, an American League wild-card tiebreaker game Monday night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The Rangers will start left-hander Martin Perez against Rays left-hander David Price at 7:07 p.m. CT on TBS, ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540-AM.

Perez (10-5, 3.55 ERA): The 22-year-old Perez makes the biggest start of his career. ... He allowed three earned runs in seven innings in his previous start against Houston. ... He was 2-2 with a 3.48 ERA in 31 innings in September. ... Perez had a six-game winning streak in August and September that carried the Rangers while other starters struggled to record wins. ... He is 3-3 with a 3.38 ERA at home in eight starts. ... Perez has faced the Rays once in relief, allowing two runs in five innings.

Price (9-8, 3.39 ERA): Price allowed two runs in seven innings in an 8-3 victory over the New York Yankees on Wednesday. ... He is 1-2 with a 3.78 ERA in five starts in September. ... Price is 7-3 with a 3.21 ERA in 14 road starts. ... Price has not faced the Rangers this season, but historically he hasn't pitched well against them. ... Price is 1-4 with a 5.98 ERA in eight starts in the regular season against the Rangers. ... He's 1-2 with a 10.26 ERA at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, allowing four home runs in 16 2/3 innings. ... He is 0-3 with a 4.66 ERA against the Rangers in three postseason starts.

Hitters: Evan Longoria is 1-for-2 against Perez. Nelson Cruz, who returns Monday night, is 6-for-12 with two home runs and four RBIs against Price. Alex Rios is 10-for-23 with two homers and seven RBIs against the Rays lefty.

MLB announces wild-card tiebreakers

September, 27, 2013
9/27/13
3:39
PM CT
MLB announced Friday the tiebreaker sequence that will be played if the regular-season ends in a three-way tie between the Cleveland Indians, the Tampa Bay Rays and the Texas Rangers for the two American League wild-card playoff berths.

If the three clubs are tied after Sunday’s games, then the tie will be broken by two games based on the teams' combined winning percentages in head-to-head competition against one another in the regular season.

The Indians would host the Rays on Monday, with the winner earning an AL wild-card berth.

The losing club in Monday’s game would play against the Rangers in Texas on Tuesday, with the winner earning the other AL wild-card spot.

In the event of a two-team tie for one wild-card berth, the tiebreaker game would be played Monday and hosted by the club that won the season series.

TBS and ESPN Radio will provide exclusive coverage of tiebreaker and wild-card games.

Wild-card race: Extra baseball on tap?

September, 27, 2013
9/27/13
1:23
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- And then there were three.

The Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians and Tampa Bay Rays are fighting for two wild-card spots in the American League and go into a weekend where scoreboard watching will be unavoidable.

The Rangers, of course, are in the most precarious position, needing to win and get help to make it to the postseason. Tampa Bay, winners of seven straight, is on the verge of clinching a wild-card spot, standing one game ahead of the Indians and two ahead of the Rangers with three games left to go.

The Indians, also on a seven-game winning streak, are a game ahead of the Rangers.

Here's how the weekend sets up for all of the contenders:

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Which two teams will reach the AL wild-card playoff game?

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Discuss (Total votes: 8,919)

Rangers (88-71, .553, 1 game out of second wild card)
Next up: Friday-Sunday vs. Los Angeles Angels
Opponents' record: The Angels are 78-81.
The latest: The Rangers have won four straight games and picked up no ground in the wild card race. They couldn't ask for more with the three starters they send to the mound this weekend -- Alexi Ogando, Derek Holland and Yu Darvish.
Forecast: The key game is Friday night. If Ogando can beat C.J. Wilson -- and his record against the Angels is tremendous and Wilson's against the Rangers is awful -- then look for Texas to win the last three games and get to 91 wins. Will it be enough?

Rays (90-69, .566, in lead for first wild-card spot)
Next up: Friday-Sunday at Toronto Blue Jays
Opponents' record: The Blue Jays are 72-87 and have lost two straight games.
The latest: The Rays swept a three-game series against the lifeless New York Yankees. Tampa Bay has won at least 90 games in four straight season and five of the last six, both the most in the majors.
Forecast: The Rays got back to .500 on the road at 39-39 with the sweep of the Yankees. Friday's game against Toronto will be interesting. Unpredictable knuckleballer R.A. Dickey could send the Rays' suspect offense into a bad place. The Blue Jays will startle the Rays and win two out of three games as Tampa Bay ends up with 91 wins, same as the Rangers.

Indians (89-70, .560, in lead for second wild-card spot)
Next up: Friday-Sunday at Minnesota
Opponents' record: The Twins are 66-93 and have lost three straight.
The latest: The Indians roll on as veterans such as Nick Swisher and Jason Giambi have had crucial hits this week. Michael Brantley also has been red hot for the Indians.
Forecast: The Cleveland bullpen could be in shambles, at least for Friday night. Closer Chris Perez allowed four runs and got only two outs before being pulled for Joe Smith, who finished off a 6-5 win over the Twins. Look for a carryover. The Indians will still win two out of three games and end up with 91 wins, just like the Rangers and Indians, forcing a three-way tie for the wild cards.

Matchup: Alexi Ogando vs. James Shields

September, 22, 2013
9/22/13
10:00
AM CT
KANSAS CITY -- The Texas Rangers go for their first series win since late August when right-hander Alexi Ogando faces Royals right-hander James Shields at 1:10 p.m. Sunday afternoon on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540-AM.

Ogando (7-4, 3.15 ERA): Ogando makes his second start in September and will be on a limited pitch count of around 80 pitches ... He picked up a win on Tuesday at Tampa Bay, going five innings and allowing a run ... Ogando is 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA since coming back from his third stint on the disabled list this season on Sept. 4 ... Opponents are 3-for-34 against him since his return ... Ogando has received one run or fewer of support in eight of his 16 starts ... He is 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA for eight appearances/three starts against the Royals.

Shields (12-9, 3.33 ERA): Shields has won six of his last seven starts as he finds himself on a late-inning run ... He beat Cleveland 7-1 on Tuesday, allowing a run in six innings ... Shields had 10 strikeouts and allowed a home run ... He is 3-1 with a 4.74 ERA for four starts in September ... Shields is 3-6 with a 4.73 ERA in 15 home starts ... Shields has faced the Rangers once this season, allowing a run in seven innings and getting a no-decision.

Hitters: Alcides Escobar is 2-for-8 with an RBI against Ogando. Elvis Andrus is 13-for-31 with two RBIs against Shields.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 8, Rays 2

September, 19, 2013
9/19/13
9:52
PM CT


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Rangers didn't get the best Yu Darvish has to offer, but he survived for five innings and Texas belted four home runs to pull out a split of a four-game series with an 8-2 victory over the wild-card contending Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night at Tropicana Field.

The Rangers pulled even with the Rays for the top spot in the American League wild-card race. Both teams are 83-69 on the season.

Wild-card race: The Rangers and Rays got help in the AL wild-card race, as the Baltimore Orioles lost to the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees lost to the Toronto Blue Jays, but they didn't get a boost from the Houston Astros. The Cleveland Indians are still a half-game back after beating the Astros 3-2 in 11 innings. Baltimore fell to two games back. The Kansas City Royals, who were off while awaiting the arrival of the Rangers, are three back, and the Yankees are 3.5 games back.

Darvish goes five: It wasn't pretty, but Darvish did go five innings to earn his first victory since Aug. 12, snapping a four-game losing streak. He had gone six starts without a win. Darvish had a difficult first inning, throwing 40 pitches in the process of turning a 1-0 Rangers lead into a 2-1 deficit. He had three walks and a hit batter in the inning. He allowed an RBI double to James Loney to tie the game and walked Desmond Jennings to force in a run. Darvish put the leadoff batter on base in each of the first four innings, but catcher Geovany Soto threw out two runners trying to steal in the second inning and used double plays with two runners on to get out of the third and fourth innings. Darvish matched a season high with six walks and matched a season low with four strikeouts.

Home run barrage: The Rangers don't hit many home runs these days, but they did explode off Rays ace Matt Moore in the top of the third. Mitch Moreland, kept in the lineup because of defense, hammered an opposite-field home run to tie the game at two. After Ian Kinsler flew out to the warning track, Elvis Andrus belted his second home run of the series and fourth of the season for a 3-2 lead. Alex Rios then made it back-to-back homers with a rocket also to left field for a 4-2 lead.

Insurance runs: With Darvish struggling to get through every inning, the Rangers needed to keep tacking on runs, and they did. Craig Gentry started the fourth inning with a single and stole second base. Then, with two outs, Ian Kinsler drew a hard-earned walk. Gentry and Kinsler followed by pulling off a double steal. That paid dividends as Andrus beat out an infield single deep in the hole at shortstop. Gentry scored easily, and Kinsler kept running and also scored for a 6-2 lead.

Ross alert: Robbie Ross has become a forgotten man in the Rangers' bullpen, but, man, did he remind everyone what he can do when he's on. Ross struck out the side -- all swinging -- on 13 pitches in the sixth inning. He came back out for the seventh inning and had a 1-2-3 inning with two ground ball outs.

Gentry's big night: Gentry had the third four-hit game of his career with three singles and a triple. He drove in an insurance run on a two-out single in the top of the seventh.

Rios breaks out: Rios helped the Rangers take a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Andrus reached on a one-out error and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Rios, who was 2-for-14 in the series without an RBI, ripped a line-drive single into center field for the lead. He was 2-for-5 with a home run, 2 RBIs and his 38th stolen base.

Moreland stays hot: Moreland didn't stop after his homer in the third. He had two more singles to finish the night 3-for-5. Moreland was 6-for-15 with 3 doubles, a home run, 4 RBIs and 4 runs scored in the four-game series.

Up next: The Rangers open a three-game series at Kansas City with left-hander Martin Perez (9-5, 3.64 ERA) facing Royals right-hander Ervin Santana (9-9, 3.23) at 7:10 p.m. Friday night on Channel 21 and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540 AM.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Colby Lewis
WINS ERA SO IP
10 5.34 126 163
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .323
HRA. Beltre 18
RBIA. Beltre 75
RA. Beltre 77
OPSA. Beltre .876
ERAC. Lewis 5.34
SOY. Darvish 182