Red Sox-Rangers Preview
Texas' offense has keyed the team's success in this series, as the Rangers (18-11) have hit .334 with 20 homers while averaging 7.7 runs in the last 12 matchups.
The Rangers battered the visiting Red Sox (20-9) again in the opener of this three-game series Friday, collecting a season-high 18 hits on their way to a 7-0 win as Adrian Beltre, Ian Kinsler and Mitch Moreland combined for 10 hits.
Kinsler, who had three hits, is batting .417 with seven RBIs and eight runs over his last 10 meetings with Boston.
The second baseman is on a tear overall, compiling a .462 average during a nine-game hitting streak as his season mark increased 62 points to a team-leading .342. He's batting .438 with three homers versus John Lackey, Boston's scheduled starter.
Beltre has a .196 average with two homers against Lackey, but he enters this matchup with some momentum. The third baseman had a three-run double among his four hits Friday after enduring a 4-for-31 slump with three homers over his previous nine games.
"Beltre has got a track record, and the guys in my lineup have got a track record," manager Ron Washington said. "Beltre is a run producer, there wasn't anyone more upset about it than Beltre. But I'm happy that he said he's not frustrated because when you get frustrated you go blind."
Lackey (1-1, 2.61 ERA) certainly doesn't have any frustrations as he looks to build on an impressive return from the disabled list.
The veteran right-hander yielded one run while throwing 81 pitches in six innings of Sunday's 6-1 win over Houston. It was his first victory since Aug. 23, 2011, after missing last year recovering from Tommy John surgery.
He started this season with a scare, suffering a strained right biceps in a 5-0 loss at Toronto on April 6 and going on the DL four days later.
"The elbow's fine," Lackey said. "I was relieved probably to know I'm going to get my next start, just to come out of it healthy more than anything."
Lackey is 2-5 with a 9.34 ERA over his last 10 starts against the Rangers, who are hitting .367 off him over that stretch. He's split his last two visits to Arlington, allowing 13 runs in 10 1-3 innings.
The Rangers will counter with Alexi Ogando (2-2, 3.38), who is getting the ball for the second time at home. The right-hander won his first home start by yielding one run and three hits in 5 1-3 innings to beat Tampa Bay 5-4 on April 8.
He's 0-2 with a 4.87 ERA in four starts since but has been backed by five runs.
Ogando didn't get any help from the bats Sunday, when he allowed three runs in six innings of a 5-0 loss at Minnesota.
He's 1-2 with a 5.11 ERA in eight games versus the Red Sox, and his only start ended in a 6-0 home loss Aug. 25, 2011. Ogando was tagged for six runs and four homers in four innings.