Marlins-Rangers Preview

Struggling at home, the Texas Rangers look to continue

capitalizing on strong performances from C.J. Wilson.

The Florida Marlins are trying to build on their best offensive

effort under Jack McKeon.

Wilson looks to remain unbeaten for an eighth consecutive start

by quieting the Marlins’ bats in the conclusion of this three-game

series Sunday night.

Texas (44-40) holds a one-game lead in the AL West despite

dropping four of its last six in Arlington.

The Rangers hope Wilson (8-3, 3.14 ERA) can help them avoid a

second straight home series loss after dropping two of three to the

New York Mets.

The left-hander is 4-0 with a 2.74 ERA in his last seven starts,

reaching at least the seventh inning each time, including a 7-3 win

at Houston on Tuesday. He overcame getting hit by a pair of line

drives to give up two runs in seven innings, while helping himself

with a triple for his first career hit.

“I couldn’t throw a sinker after I got hit in the finger,”

Wilson said. “I had to adjust. That’s a huge pitch for me, and to

take that out of the equation really puts me behind.”

Seven of Wilson’s eight home starts have resulted in Texas

victories, while he’s gone 4-1 with a 3.66 ERA.

He made his only career start against the Marlins on the road,

limiting them to two runs despite a career-high six walks over six

innings before leaving without a decision in a 3-2 victory June 15,

2010.

The Rangers won the opener of this series 15-5 on Friday, but

the Marlins bounced back with a 9-5 victory Saturday.

Josh Hamilton continued to batter Florida pitching with two

homers and three RBIs on Saturday. He is 15 for 29 with three home

runs and seven RBIs lifetime against the Marlins. Hamilton is 3 for

6 with a homer and two doubles against Javier Vazquez, Florida’s

scheduled starter.

Ian Kinsler has five hits in his last five games but those have

all gone for extra bases – four homers and a triple.

The Marlins matched their highest scoring output of the season

Saturday while their 13 hits were the most since McKeon took over

as interim manager June 20.

They’re 5-6 under McKeon, but have scored 19 runs while hitting

.291 with four homers over the last three games, an improvement

from their .243 season average.

“I mean, the last five games, I think we’ve been playing the

game together and we’ve been getting on base and working on that,

not like we were doing that a week, two weeks or three weeks ago,”

said Hanley Ramirez, who had two homers and matched his career high

with five RBIs on Saturday.

Ramirez is batting .385 with three homers and 12 RBIs since

being benched in McKeon’s first game. The shortstop is trying to

revive a flagging season that has seen him post career lows in

batting average (.230), homers (seven) and on-base percentage

(.319).

He homered on his only hit in two at-bats versus Wilson.

Vazquez (4-8, 5.83) will be hoping for better run support after

losing two of his last three starts despite a 1.04 ERA.

That trend continued for the right-hander Tuesday, as he yielded

one unearned run and three hits in seven innings of a 1-0 loss at

Oakland.

He’s 0-2 with a 6.99 ERA in his last five starts versus the

Rangers.