Rangers still the best despite blowout loss

July, 4, 2012
7/04/12
10:29
AM ET
A day after getting crushed 19-2 by the Chicago White Sox, the Texas Rangers look to rebound tonight (7 ET on ESPN) in the second meeting of their three-game series.

Despite last night’s loss, the Rangers remain baseball’s hottest team since June 10, with a 16-5 record and .762 win percentage.

Even after suffering the club’s worst defeat in 12 years, Texas is the only team with a run differential greater than one per game this season.

Josh Hamilton
With his MLB-leading 73 RBIs, Josh Hamilton is the biggest reason for the Rangers' offensive success. But he’s struggled since the calendar flipped to June, hitting .220 with an OPS of .736, compared to .368 and 1.184 in April and May.

Hamilton has four HR and 16 RBI over his past 100 at-bats. In his previous 100 at-bats, he had 12 HR and 35 RBIs.

Adam Dunn
Adam Dunn
Dunn
White Sox slugger Adam Dunn continued his resurgent season on Tuesday by blasting his 25th home run of the season. He’s the fifth White Sox player with 25 home runs and 60 RBIs before the All-Star break and the first since Jermaine Dye and Jim Thome both did it in 2006. Frank Thomas (twice) and Dick Allen are the other White Sox to reach those marks before the All-Star Game.

Dunn is on pace for 51 homers, which would top his career high of 46 in 2004. He’s also on pace to strike out 255 times, which would destroy Mark Reynolds’ single-season record of 223 in 2009.

Pitching Matchup
Tonight’s pitching matchup pits Chicago's 26-year-old rookie Dylan Axelrod against veteran righty Scott Feldman, who has struggled since his breakout campaign in 2009.

That year, Feldman posted a 4.08 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP en route to 17 wins. Since then, he’s had an ERA of 5.39 and a WHIP of 1.51.

Among 69 pitchers with at least 200 innings in the past three seasons, Feldman’s ERA ranks 66th, and his WHIP is 65th. But perhaps he’s turning things around, posting 21 strikeouts and two walks in his last four starts.

Axelrod might be figuring things out too. His start against the Yankees on Thursday was the best of his short career, as he allowed six hits and two runs in seven innings. He used his curve and slider extensively in that game, throwing them over 50 percent of the time, compared to using his fastball on 36 percent of pitches.

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