Orioles-Rangers Preview

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.