Rangers-Indians Preview

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

days.

“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

Chicago.

“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

home win.

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

right-hander.