Series Preview: Rays at Rangers

April 28, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus (1) argues with home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt (21) after a strike three call against the Tampa Bay Rays in the sixth inning at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The Rangers won 7-2 beating the Rays. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-US PRESSWIRE


American League Wild Card Standings

W L PCT GB STRK
Tampa Bay 70 57 .551 0 Lost 2
Oakland 69 57 .547 0.5 Won 2
Baltimore 69 57 .547 0.5 Won 2
Detroit 69 58 .543 1 Won 2
Los Angeles 66 62 .515 4.5 Lost 2
Boston 62 67 .480 9 Won 2
Seattle 61 67 .476 9.5 Lost 2
Toronto 56 70 .444 13.5 Lost 7
Kansas City 56 71 .440 14 Lost 2
Cleveland 55 72 .433 15 Lost 1
Minnesota 52 75 .409 18 Won 1

(updated 8.27.2012 at 4:52 PM EDT)


The Rays and Rangers play each other six times in the next two weeks as the Rays try to strengthen their playoff odds and the Rangers try to keep their comfortable lead over the Athletics. The teams have not met since late April when the Rays took two of three from the Rangers in Arlington giving the club their first road series win against the Rangers since late September 2008. The Rays are 59-74 all-time against Texas but just 25-44 on the road. Despite dropping the last two playoff series to the Rangers, the Rays have won 10 of the last 16 regular season matchups between the two teams.

Tonight's game is ESPN's national game as David Price squares off against Derek Holland. Price has been nothing short of amazing since the all-star break putting up Cy Young worthy numbers. Price is 8-0 with a 1.56 ERA over his last 12 starts with 88 strikeouts and just 20 walks allowed.

Derek Holland has struggled to keep the ball in the ballpark allowing 11 home runs since the break in just 55 innings of work. Holland has historically been tougher on lefties but has had issues this season as his OPS against left-handed batters is 108 points higher than it was last season. 21 of the 23 home runs he has allowed this season have come against right-handed hitters.Tuesday's game features James Shields against Yu Darvish and Wednesday's game is now Alex Cobb against the other lefty on the Rangers staff, Matt Harrison.

For the season, the Rangers have the third-highest wOBA against left-handed pitching at .338 while the Rays have moved up a bit in recent weeks to a .301 wOBA. This will be a challenge for the offense as it faces two left-handed pitchers in a single series as the team has struggled against lefties most of the season.

For more on the series, please visit Adam Berry's preview at mlb.com as well as the preview from our friends at LoneStarBall.com

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