Series Preview: Rangers/Indians

Nelson Cruz had two homeruns on Saturday

After falling flat in three games against the Royals, the Texas Rangers take their game to Jacobs Field to face another A.L. Central foe in the Cleveland Indians. Lone Star Dugout has a preview of this week's three game series.

Rangers (46-59) at Indians (60-45)


Tuesday, 6:05 PM: Brandon McCarthy (4-7, 5.52) vs. Fausto Carmona (13-4, 3.31)

It was a valiant effort for Brandon McCarthy last week against Seattle. Although he had allowed eight hits and threw 100 pitches through just five innings, the righthander held the Seattle bats to just three runs and exited with a 5-3 victory. However, the bullpen could not hold that lead, and as a result McCarthy now sits at approximately 10 weeks since his last victory. Lifetime against the Tribe, McCarthy is 3-2 with a 5.84 ERA in 11 games, his most against any opponent.

Following the trade of Mark Teixeira, the Rangers' bats will have their work cut out for them with some pretty stiff competition in Fausto Carmona. The impressive righty picked up his 13th victory of the season last Wednesday against the Red Sox which ties him for the most in the American League. He also took a no-hitter into the sixth against a very potent group of hitters up and down the Boston lineup. The victory improved his flawless record in July to 5-0, and lowered his ERA to minuscule 1.56. Thanks to a win earlier this month in Arlington, Carmona is now 1-1 in two career starts against the Rangers with a 3.95 ERA.

Wednesday, 6:05 PM: John Rheinecker (1-0, 3.18) vs. Paul Byrd (9-4, 4.40)
John Rheinecker entered last Tuesday with a career ERA of 6.11. His opponent, Ryan Feierabend, was at 7.24. But the southpaw finished on top of an unlikely pitcher's duel in the first game of a double-header by keeping the Mariners lifeless for seven innings, allowing the only one unearned run on a botched double-play ball. As long as Robinson Tejeda is in the minors, the southpaw will certainly get more opportunities to work out of the starting rotation on a major league level. But he'll need to continue pitching well in order to remain there once Vicente Padilla returns from rehabbing.

Paul Byrd was cruising along in his last start against the Rangers on July 22nd, holding the home team to just one hit through four innings. But in the fifth, he began to swerve ferociously and walked the first three Texas bats to face him. He regained composure, however, and managed to escape the inning without a run crossing the plate. With the victory, Byrd raised his career record against Texas to 3-5 and actually improved his ERA to 6.56. This season, he's become a very consistent starter for the Indians and has lost just once since June 16 with a 3.75 ERA over his last seven starts.

Thursday, 11:05 PM: Jamey Wright (3-3, 4.57) vs. Jake Westbrook (1-6, 5.85)
Although his last two starts this month were certainly nothing to write home about, Jamey Wright finished July with a 2-1 record and a respectable 3.13 ERA in four starts. Although Wright's been tough with runners in scoring position, holding opponents to a .239 average in those situations, walks have been a problem for him all year (28 through just 41 1/3 innings) and that's just asking for trouble. The Rangers haven't really garnered any trade interest for the 32-year old righty, so unless he can seriously ratchet up some areas of his game, it'll be interesting to see what kind of plans the Rangers have in store for him for the remainder of 2007.

It's been a pretty frustrating season for Jake Westbrook, who will get the call in this game thanks to the recent demotion of fellow starting pitcher Cliff Lee. Prior to his most recent outing, the righty was lit up by the Boston Red Sox for five runs on 10 hits in six innings of work. The problem, according to the Indians, was that Westbrook's mechanics were in need of a tune-up. He lost again Saturday against the Twins, but after making some adjustments to his delivery, his outing ended up being his best in about a month. Westbrook is 4-1 lifetime against the Rangers with a 5.30 ERA.

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