Coming off a 4-6 road trip, the Texas Rangers were trying to find more consistency in every part of the game and made strides by going 5-1 on their home stand last week.
The Rangers took two of three from the Arizona Diamondbacks, getting a complete-game effort by Colby Lewis and 7 1/3 scoreless innings by Matt Harrison the first two games. The D-backs took the series finale, 11-3.
Houston was a welcomed opponent for a three-game weekend series. Texas swept the series, winning each game by putting together an inning of five-or-more runs. On Sunday, it was Ian Kinsler who came through with a two-out, three-run triple to spark a seven-run sixth. Adrian Beltre had a two-run home run in the inning, as well.
“We’re playing decent, not great,” Beltre said. “We still have room for improvement.”
The Rangers begin a three-game series at San Diego tonight, and close out interleague play with a three-game series against Colorado this weekend at Rangers Ballpark.
Here’s a look at the week ahead for the Rangers –
Tonight-Wednesday at San Diego: The Rangers rotation is set for this series, as the scheduled starters are Matt Harrison, Scott Feldman and Yu Darvish. Harrison is arguably the team’s best pitcher right now, throwing a complete-game shutout and 7 1/3 scoreless inning in his last two starts. On Tuesday, it’s a matchup of pitchers that came up through the Rangers organization. Feldman has gone 0-6 in his last six starts, although the defense and offense haven’t helped him out too much. The Padres, meanwhile, are going with former Rangers pitcher Edinson Volquez, who was shipped to Cincinnati in the Josh Hamilton trade prior to the 2008 season. Volquez has pitched better than his 3-6 record might suggest, posting a 3.70 ERA over 14 starts. Darvish will pitch the series finale, and he’s coming off a strong start in which he allowed two runs on seven hits with 11 strikeouts against Houston on Friday.
Friday-Sunday against Colorado: The Rangers have an off day on Thursday, and then open a three-game series against the Rockies at Rangers Ballpark. Justin Grimm is in line for the Friday start, although that is still to be determined. Grimm made his major-league debut on Saturday against Houston, allowing three runs on six hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. However, because of the off day, the Rangers could completely skip that start and bring Colby Lewis back on four days’ rest. Or the Rangers could decide to have Roy Oswalt make his Rangers debut, as Oswalt allowed two runs on six hits over seven innings for Triple A Round Rock on Sunday. Oswalt told reporters after the game that he is ready to return to the big leagues, but the Rangers have not announced their decision yet. Finally, for what it’s worth, Texas is 9-10 in the all-time series against Colorado.
-- Drew Davison