MINNEAPOLIS -- The Rangers begin a three-game series against the Twins tonight and then head to Toronto for four. They have 29 games left in the season and a magic number of 20. The 10-game lead is the largest in any division and tied for the biggest lead they've had in franchise history (Sept. 30, 1999).
Here are a few things to watch this weekend and into next week:
* This upcoming series could play a part in determining who might get homefield advantage in the first round. The Rangers need some wins to catch Minnesota. So this isn't just about maintaining the division lead.
* LHP Cliff Lee is supposed to rejoin the team today after getting his back examined in Texas. If the discomfort is better, he's scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Saturday. That should help the club determine if Lee will make his next start on Tuesday. At this point, he's penciled in, but how he reacts to the bullpen session.
* OF Josh Hamilton got a lubricant shot in his right knee after Tuesday's game and did not play on Wednesday. The idea was that he would get two full days off and then play tonight. We'll see how he feels and how the knee reacts on this trip as the Rangers try to make sure Hamilton is as healthy as he can be down the stretch.
* 2B Ian Kinsler is expected to be in the lineup tonight, returning for the first time since going on the disabled list July 28. The Rangers have certainly missed his presence in the lineup. Kinsler is slated to bat sixth, just behind Nelson Cruz. How will he perform? Will it take Kinsler a few games to get comfortable?
* RHP Neftali Feliz is three saves shy of tying the rookie record of 37 set in 2000 by Kazuhiro Sasaki. Expect some close games the next week, meaning Feliz could get even closer to tying and breaking that mark.
* On Sunday, the Rangers face LHP Brian Duensing. Manager Ron Washington said new acquisition Jeff Francoeur will play against every lefty remaining on the schedule, so he should be in the starting lineup.
* OF David Murphy is going to a tough guy to take out of the lineup. He had three hits on Wednesday and is hitting .278 on the season. He's hitting .290 against lefties. So it will be interesting to see how Washington balances all of these outfielders in getting them time.
* LHP Derek Holland takes the mound tonight as RHP Rich Harden has moved to the bullpen. Holland's last appearance was Saturday against the A's, when he gave up one run on three hits in 4 2/3 innings with three walks and two strikeouts.
* The Rangers could make some more roster moves. C Taylor Teagarden could join the team as early as tonight to give them a third catcher and other players could rotate in later in the month. The club doesn't want to leave Oklahoma City without some help as they make a playoff push.