Given the job that Ron Washington did to lead the Texas Rangers
to their first World Series last year, their fans have probably
long forgotten about Buck Showalter. In contrast, Vladimir Guerrero
probably brings back more pleasant memories.
Showalter and Guerrero return to Arlington with the Baltimore
Orioles when they begin a three-game series Monday night.
Washington was hired before the 2007 season to replace
Showalter, who went 319-329 in his four seasons with Texas (44-41)
before he was fired. The Rangers finally reached the World Series
in Washington’s fourth year in 2010.
That made Washington the third manager to follow Showalter and
lead a team to the Fall Classic. The New York Yankees and Arizona
Diamondbacks won championships in 1996 and 2001, respectively, in
the season after Showalter left.
Baltimore (36-45) finished 34-23 once Showalter took over last
season, but the manager has had a more difficult time in 2011. The
Orioles are in last place in the powerful AL East, and he’s trying
to stay positive after they ended a five-game skid with Sunday’s
5-4 victory at Atlanta.
“It’s been a frustrating time for our guys,” Showalter told the
Orioles’ official website. “A lot of things usually happen this
time of year when you got the break coming. Through my experience,
it seems like every year it can be a real snowball at this time of
year if you don’t stay on top of things.”
Guerrero joined Baltimore as a free agent on a one-year deal
after a lone year for Texas last season. The veteran had a
team-high 115 RBIs and was second on the club with 29 homers to
help the Rangers win the pennant.
Texas took two of three at Baltimore from April 9-10, as Adrian
Beltre homered twice and drove in four runs and Josh Hamilton was 5
for 13. Guerrero had the best average among Orioles regulars in the
series, going 4 for 12, but the veteran is batting .161 with no
RBIs in his last 12 games overall.
The only Texas starter to lose in that series was right-hander
Colby Lewis (7-7, 4.32 ERA), who gave up five runs over six innings
in a 5-0 loss in the opener. He fell to 0-2 with a 5.30 ERA in
three career starts against Baltimore.
Lewis is 2-0 with a 1.77 ERA and 24 strikeouts over his last
three outings, yielding two runs over 6 2-3 innings to earn a 3-2
victory at Houston on Wednesday.
He’ll be seeing a red-hot hitter in Nick Markakis, who had a
career-high five hits Sunday and is 8 for 10 in his last two games
and batting .439 in his last 21. Markakis has an 11-game hitting
streak in Arlington, batting .357 (15 for 42) with 10 walks.
Also swinging a hot bat is Mark Reynolds, who has five homers
and nine RBIs in his last seven games.
Showalter will give Chris Jakubauskas (2-1, 5.68) his sixth
straight start. Jakubauskas has pitched at least five innings in
his first five, going that distance and yielding five runs
Wednesday in a 5-1 loss to St. Louis.
The right-hander has never started against the Rangers, allowing
eight runs over nine innings of relief against them.
The Rangers dropped the final two games of their weekend home
series with Florida. Beltre, one of four All-Stars for Texas, went
7 for 11 with a homer and five RBIs.
Baltimore swept a four-game set at Texas in its final series
before the All-Star break in 2010.