Taking advantage of weaker teams is the easiest way for the
Texas Rangers to strengthen their hold on first place in the AL
No club presents a better opportunity for that than the major
league-worst Baltimore Orioles.
Texas looks to win a series opener for the first time in five
tries when it begins a four-game set against the Orioles on
After losing to last-place Cleveland on Monday, the Rangers
(50-34) bounced back to win the next two and have split the first
six contests on a 10-game homestand. Michael Young hit a two-run
homer and Julio Borbon delivered a key RBI single to help Texas
rally for a 4-3 victory Wednesday night.
The Rangers stretched their lead in the West to a season-high 5
1/2 games over the Angels.
Josh Hamilton extended his home hitting streak to 27 games, the
second-longest in club history behind Al Oliver’s 30-game run in
1981. Hamilton is batting .350 (14 for 40) in his last nine games
Texas swept a two-game series from the Orioles (25-59) at home
in May, scoring 17 runs and collecting 31 hits. The Rangers have
won eight of 13 versus Baltimore, batting .320 with 27 homers and
No Ranger should be happier to see baseball’s worst team than
Vladimir Guerrero, who is hitting .354 with seven home runs and 22
RBIs in his last 12 meetings. Guerrero, though, is 1 for 17 against
Thursday’s scheduled starter Jeremy Guthrie.
Guerrero and fellow All-Star Ian Kinsler sat out Wednesday but
are expected back in Thursday’s lineup.
“When you play baseball as much as these guys do sometimes one
day’s all you need,” manager Ron Washington said. “I tried as hard
as I could to keep them out of the whole game because a whole day
off means a lot to a baseball player.”
The Orioles have lost six of seven – dropping a season-worst 34
games under .500 – and are the only team in the majors with less
than 10 road wins. Baltimore is coming off three straight losses at
Detroit during which it was 8 for 35 with runners in scoring
position while its starters compiled a 6.75 ERA.
“We can’t worry about our record,” said interim manager Juan
Samuel, who is 10-20 since replacing Dave Trembley. “We can only
worry about the next game.”
Starting for the Rangers will be Tommy Hunter (5-0, 1.98), who
continued his impressive season with another strong performance in
a 3-1 win over the White Sox on Saturday. He gave up one run and
nine singles over seven-plus innings on his 24th birthday.
The right-hander has won a club record five straight home games
to start the season and is 11-4 with a 3.51 ERA in 17 career starts
The Rangers have won all six of Hunter’s starts this season,
providing him with an average of 9.6 runs.
Guthrie (3-10, 4.64) looks to avoid taking over sole possession
of the major league lead in losses. The right-hander is 0-6 with a
6.17 ERA in seven starts since beating Oakland on May 25 and is
coming off one of his worst outings of the year.
Guthrie was tagged for six runs and a season-high nine hits over
four-plus innings in a 9-3 loss at Boston on Saturday.
Guthrie, though, has fared well against Texas, going 3-0 with a
2.89 ERA in six starts.