Current Conditions - St. Petersburg
SUNNY 78 °F
Wind: ENE 3
Texas Rangers (26-24) at Tampa Bay Rays (26-23)
Monday, May 30 - 6:40 PM EST
Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
THE STORY: The Texas Rangers are starting to get their offense cooking again with the return of Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz from the disabled list, scoring 24 runs in their last three games. The Rangers, who have won five of seven, will try to keep it going when they send Derek Holland to the mound against Wade Davis and the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday to start a seven-game road trip. Texas is just 9-14 away from home. Tampa Bay is 13-14 at home, but is coming off winning two of three against Cleveland. This is a rematch of the 2010 American League Divisional Series, won by Texas three games to two.
TV: 6:40 p.m. ET, SunSports, FS-SW.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rays RH Wade Davis (4-4, 3.71 ERA) vs. Rangers LH Derek Holland (3-1, 4.68 ERA).
Davis pitched pretty well in his last start before being victimized by a Miguel Cabrera three-run homer and did not get a decision. Davis has not won since May 8. He has just one regular-season appearance against Texas, giving up eight runs in 3 1/3 innings last June, but did pitch well against the Rangers in the playoffs last October (five innings, two runs). Hamilton has faced Davis twice, with a home run and a double. Holland gave up four earned runs in four innings his last start after two solid outings. He is 4-11 on the road in his career and 2-1 with a 7.04 ERA in 15 1/3 innings against Tampa Bay. Evan Longoria is 5-for-9 with three doubles, a home run and four RBIs against Holland.
ABOUT THE RAYS (28-24): The Rays have won just three of their last nine games, but they are starting to get their offense going again. Matt Joyce had a modest seven-game hit streak ended Sunday, but he is 12-for-29 in the last eight games, leads the majors in batting average (.365) and has a .425 on-base percentage. Casey Kotchman is also 11-for-22 the last eight games to raise his average to .361 and Johnny Damon is 8-for-22 his last five games. The Rays have committed just 21 errors, lowest in the majors.
ABOUT THE RANGERS (28-25): It’s been a roller-coaster ride for the Rangers after a 9-1 start, but it would appear they are on the upswing. Hamilton is 8-for-27 with four doubles and a homer and Nelson Cruz 6-for-27 with three homers and two doubles since their return from injuries. The two sluggers have combined for 10 RBIs in six games. Michael Young has been at the forefront all season, batting .335 with 35 RBIs, second only to Adrian Beltre (41). Mitch Moreland is 8-for-15 in his last five games and Ian Kinsler is beginning to break out, with a six-game hit streak (8-for-22).
FINAL PITCH: Rays manager Joe Maddon inserted Longoria, mired in a 4-for-33 slump, into the No. 1 spot in the batting order before Saturday’s game and urged him to think like a leadoff hitter. Longoria responded by going 4-for-7 with two walks, three runs scored and a home run the last two games.