Rangers-Brewers Preview

The Texas Rangers have played one team that currently possesses
a winning record this season, earning a recent three-game sweep
against one of the best teams in baseball.

They’ve been pretty average against the rest.

Texas sends Derek Holland to the mound looking to avoid a third
consecutive defeat as it concludes its two-game interleague series
with the host Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night.

The Rangers (20-13) have played mostly contests versus clubs
that have gotten off to tough starts to the season, though they
took all three matchups from MLB-best Boston over the weekend.

After that impressive series, Texas fell 9-2 in a makeup road
game against the Chicago Cubs, who had lost four straight, before
losing 6-3 in Tuesday’s series opener to a Milwaukee team that had
dropped five in a row.

Mitch Moreland, hitting .421 over his last five games, went 2
for 4 and homered for the Rangers, who have lost six of their last
seven versus sub-.500 teams and gave up five first-inning runs

”We really shouldn’t have been in that hole,” manager Ron
Washington said.

They’ll look to get back on track with help from Holland (2-2,
2.74 ERA), who is coming off one of his better outings.

After giving up 10 runs over his previous two starts, Holland
returned to form and struck out a season-best nine in eight innings
of Friday’s 7-0 win over Boston. It marked the fourth time in six
starts he’s given up two or fewer runs.

“Derek was at his best,” Washington told the team’s official
website. “He has been pitching well; he just hasn’t been getting
the results. I thought he had already won three or four ballgames.
Since spring training, he has been throwing the ball well, and it
was another example of what he can do.”

The left-hander has never faced the Brewers. He had lost his
previous three interleague starts white posting a 10.03 ERA before
throwing seven scoreless innings in a 4-2 win over the Cubs on
April 16.

Milwaukee (15-16) had won 12 of 15 before losing its first five
in May, but Yuniesky Betancourt’s team-best eighth homer and Aramis
Ramirez’s first of the year Tuesday helped snap that skid.

Ryan Braun went 1 for 2 with two walks and is hitting .429
during a nine-game hitting streak.

”After a rough five games, it was a good start,” said Carlos
Gomez, who is batting .449 with four homers during a career-best
13-game hitting streak after hitting a two-run double Tuesday. ”It
brought the energy back to the team.”

Kyle Lohse hopes to feed off that energy when he takes the hill
Wednesday looking to bounce back from a rough outing.

Lohse (1-3, 3.16) gave up three runs in 12 combined innings over
his previous two starts before giving up four and 11 hits in five
innings of Friday’s 6-1 loss to St. Louis.

“It was really a battle for me all night,” Lohse said “I felt
good starting out but then it just kind of got away from me. I
wasn’t getting my off-speed pitches over enough.”

The right-hander is 3-3 with a 7.16 ERA in nine career starts
versus the Rangers, but he hasn’t faced them since 2006. Lohse has
seen some of Texas’ lineup, though, as former Minnesota Twins
batterymate A.J. Pierzynski is 2 for 10 against him.