No team is in better position to reach the postseason than the
Texas Rangers. That’s why they appear to already be fine-tuning
their club for that eventuality.
With Josh Hamilton getting a day off, the Rangers will get one
familiar face back and could see the debut of a new one Wednesday
night against the Kansas City Royals.
Despite a 10-9 loss Tuesday night, the Rangers maintained an 8
1/2-game lead over Oakland in the AL West. Texas (74-58) is the
only team in the West above .500 and owns the largest advantage of
any division leader.
Although they missed an opportunity to extend their lead, the
Rangers have enough of a cushion that they can afford to rest
players down the stretch when necessary. Hamilton, the major league
leader with a .361 average, will sit out the series finale after
getting a shot in his sore right knee after Tuesday’s game.
“It’s not any different, there’s just more pain now than there
normally has been,” Hamilton told the Rangers’ official website.
“The key is to get it calmed down, get the right medication going
and get out there playing.”
With one All-Star getting the day off, the Rangers will activate
another as second baseman Ian Kinsler is set to come off the
disabled list Wednesday. Kinsler has been sidelined since July 27
with a strained left groin.
Texas made an acquisition for its playoff push Tuesday night,
getting outfielder Jeff Francoeur from the New York Mets hours
before the deadline for players to be eligible for a postseason
Francoeur, who fills the Rangers’ need for a right-handed hitter
off the bench, is batting .237 with 11 homers and 54 RBIs and leads
the NL with 11 outfield assists.
”I have an opportunity to go with a team that will be in the
playoffs,” Francoeur said. ”I feel comfortable going out
Tuesday’s win was the second for the Royals (56-76) in eight
meetings with the Rangers this season, and they’ll try to prevent
Texas’ Tommy Hunter (11-2, 3.66 ERA) from winning his third
straight start Wednesday.
The right-hander moved to 7-0 with a 3.16 ERA in nine starts at
home Friday, allowing three runs over 7 2-3 innings of a 7-3
victory over Oakland on Friday.
The Rangers have averaged eight runs in Hunter’s seven home
”A lot of defense and a lot of well-hit balls by teammates,”
Hunter said of his unbeaten run at home. ”We score a lot of runs,
you have to take that into consideration. There are a lot of guys
who’d have success if they had as much run support as I do. I
continue to enjoy getting it and hopefully they continue giving
Hunter hasn’t been nearly as successful in seven road starts,
going 4-2 with a 4.46 ERA.
Coming off two straight miserable outings, Bryan Bullington
(1-3, 6.00) looks to help the Royals win their first home series
against the Rangers since 2007.
Since allowing two hits over eight scoreless innings against the
Yankees for his first major league win Aug. 15, the right-hander
has posted a 13.00 ERA in two outings.
Bullington had the shortest of his four starts this season
Friday, lasting four innings and allowing a career-worst seven runs
in a 15-4 loss at Cleveland.