The Texas Rangers are coming off a much-needed day off.
Facing the rested AL West leaders is the last thing the
Cleveland Indians need.
The Rangers’ Ryan Dempster looks for a third straight impressive
start Friday night as he tries to extend the Indians’ longest home
losing streak of 2012.
Coming off a 7-3 stretch in Arlington, Texas (77-53) begins its
10-game trip with a four-game divisional lead over surging Oakland,
which defeated the Indians 12-7 on Thursday.
While Cleveland manager Manny Acta could be on the hot seat
following his team’s 14th loss in 15 games, Texas manager Ron
Washington is eyeing a third straight West title.
The Rangers are hardly a lock to make that happen – seven of
their last 10 games are against the Athletics – but Washington
likes where they’re at following a stretch of 20 games in as many
“If we can continue to win series, we’ll be right where we want
to be,” he said following Wednesday’s 8-4 loss to Tampa Bay.
Dempster (3-1, 5.46 ERA) has to be enjoying where he’s at. The
Rangers, who lead the majors with 670 runs, have scored 27 in
Dempster’s 31 1-3 innings since he was acquired from the Chicago
Cubs on July 31.
The right-hander had 45 runs of support in 104 innings with
“It seems like these guys are putting up five runs in an inning
almost every day,” Dempster told the Rangers’ official website
after going six strong innings in Saturday’s 9-3 victory over
Minnesota. “I know they’ve always done a good job offensively, but
you still have to execute your game plan, whether you get one run
or 10 runs.”
Dempster is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his last two starts – both at
home – and will face the Indians (55-76) for the first time since a
2006 relief appearance while with Chicago.
While Dempster is starting to find a home in Arlington, Ubaldo
Jimenez (9-13, 5.58) continues to struggles for the Indians. The
former All-Star is 13-17 with a 5.43 ERA since arriving from
Colorado last season.
“He’s been inconsistent, period,” Acta said after Jimenez
yielded three runs over five innings in Sunday’s 4-2 home loss to
the New York Yankees.
Jimenez has the league’s worst ERA among qualifying starters,
but one of his best outings of the season was May 6 against Texas.
He worked around five walks to throw seven shutout innings in a 4-2
It was the right-hander’s first start versus Texas since his
Indians debut Aug. 5, 2011.
The Rangers, winners of 11 of 12 in Cleveland before losing two
of three there May 4-6, will face an Indians team trying to avoid
its first six-game home losing streak since a seven-game slide May
24-June 6, 2011.
Josh Hamilton, whose .406 batting average (26 for 64) at
Progressive Field is his best at any ballpark where he’s had at
least 13 at-bats, tied Adrian Beltre for a Rangers-best six homers
during the just-completed 20-game stretch.
Beltre is 1 for 6 off Jimenez, while Hamilton, who has 36 homers
and 112 RBIs, has one hit in five at-bats against the