Indians-Rangers Preview

The Texas Rangers don’t have much margin for error in the AL
West, but Adrian Beltre is trying his best to make things easier
for the division leaders.

Beltre looks to continue his hot hitting when the Rangers host
the Cleveland Indians in the opener of a three-game series Tuesday
night.

Texas and Los Angeles continue to battle it out in the AL West.
The Rangers (83-64) have been in first place for most of the
season, but the Angels have kept it close as Texas has gone 11-12
in it past 23 games.

“We just have to play our game,” manager Ron Washington told the
Rangers’ official website. “Keep winning series, get an opportunity
sometime to sweep some series, and we’ll be all right. We’re
certainly not looking behind us, we’re looking forward. They have
to catch us, we don’t have to catch them.”

The Rangers took two of three from Oakland over the weekend,
winning 8-1 on Sunday as Beltre had four hits, including a pair of
home runs and a double.

His two-run shot in the fifth inning was the 300th of his
career, and he added a solo homer in the seventh.

Beltre drove in seven runs in the series and is hitting .395
with 12 RBIs in 10 games since coming off the disabled list Sept.
1. Going back to before his DL stint, he has a 16-game hitting
streak.

“He didn’t come back in and just start hacking,” Washington
said. “He’s seeing pitches and getting his timing down. We
certainly need him right now and he’s delivering.”

Beltre is 3 for 14 in his career against Justin Masterson (11-9,
3.01 ERA), who takes the mound for Cleveland on Tuesday, but went 2
for 3 against him June 3.

Masterson struck out seven over 6 1-3 innings in that outing but
gave up four runs and 10 hits in an 11-2 defeat.

The right-hander will try to bounce back after allowing five
runs in six innings of an 8-6 home loss to Detroit on
Wednesday.

He is 7-4 with a 2.83 ERA on the road, winning his last three
starts.

Masterson, who is 0-3 with a 6.62 ERA in three starts against
the Rangers, will want to pitch carefully to Josh Hamilton, who is
6 for 9 with a homer and two doubles against him.

After losing four straight, Cleveland (72-72) has won two of
three, earning a split of a four-game series in Chicago with a 7-3
victory Sunday. Luis Valbuena homered and finished with three hits,
while Travis Hafner came off the disabled list and had a single and
a walk.

Manager Manny Acta said Hafner will split designated hitter
duties with Jim Thome.

“It’s not fair to throw him out there every day coming back from
the injury,” Acta said. “Both are pretty much in the same boat, so
we’re going to try to match them up the best way possible to keep
both of them fresh.”

Thome could get the nod against Matt Harrison (11-9, 3.50),
having gone 4 for 10 with three doubles against the
left-hander.

Harrison was solid in his start against Boston on Sept. 4,
giving up two runs in seven innings of an 11-4 win. It was his
first start since Aug. 24, also against the Red Sox.

Harrison is making his first start this season against the
Indians. He is 0-2 with a 5.06 ERA in the previous two.

Texas activated slugger Nelson Cruz from the disabled list a few
hours before this game. Cruz, who had been out since Aug. 29 with a
left hamstring strain, has hit .270 with 28 home runs and 84 RBIs
in 113 contests.