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

Tuesday.

”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.