One day after a couple of rookies helped the Texas Rangers rout Boston, a couple of veteran stars could help the Red Sox bounce back. Another veteran is en route to help stabilize their rotation.
Pedro Martinez will be on the mound, Nomar Garciaparra should be back in the lineup and Jeff Suppan will be on his way from the Pirates when the Red Sox and Rangers finish their series at The Ballpark in Arlington.
“It was exciting to look out there,” Texas manager Buck Showalter said. “You see the energy and passion some of the younger guys bring. It’s invigorating.”
Red Sox manager Grady Little will no doubt be just as happy to look onto the field and see Martinez and Garciaparra.
Martinez is one of baseball’s best pitchers, and he has been especially tough on the Rangers. He is 8-1 with a 1.19 ERA in 10 career starts against Texas, including 3-1 in five starts at Arlington, where he has 43 strikeouts in 31 2-3 innings.
Martinez may have to be as sharp as usual to slow the Rangers. Texas has scored 33 runs in the last four games, with the only loss coming in Boston’s 14-7 victory in the series opener.
The Red Sox won eight of 10, and 22 of 32, before Thursday’s loss.
“Like any other club, we’re going to stumble every once in a while,” said Boston manager Grady Little. “We feel pretty good about our club.”
The return of Garciaparra would be reason to feel even better. The star shortstop was given the night off Wednesday after getting hit in the elbow by a pitch Tuesday.
Garciaparra is a career .400 hitter (48-for-120) with seven homers, nine doubles, 15 RBIs and 26 runs in 28 games at the Ballpark in Arlington.
Boston upgraded its starting rotation with the acquisition of Suppan from the Pirates for prospect Freddy Sanchez in a five-player deal. Suppan (10-7) joins a staff that added four other NL pitchers in the last two months— relievers Byung-Hyun Kim, Todd Jones, Scott Sauerbeck and Scott Williamson.
As part of the trade, right-handers Brandon Lyon and Anastacio Martinez return to Boston, and left-hander Mike Gonzalez goes back to Pittsburgh.
The Red Sox won the last four meetings before the Rangers’ victory Wednesday.
STANDINGS: Red Sox - 2nd place, 2 1/2 GB, AL East. Rangers - 4th place, 21 GB, AL West.
RED SOX PROBABLE STARTER: Martinez (7-2, 2.31 ERA). Martinez is 3-0 in 10 starts since his last loss on May 9. He has given up more than one earned run just twice in that span, including his last outing, when he allowed three in 6 2-3 innings of Boston’s 4-3 loss to the New York Yankees. He is limiting opponents to a .209 batting average this season.
RANGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Colby Lewis (4-6, 8.33 ERA). Lewis is 0-3 in his four starts since his last win in the majors on May 27. This is his second start since his recall from Triple-A Oklahoma. Lewis, who turns 24 Saturday, is 1-6 with a 10.51 ERA in 11 starts with the Rangers since opening the year 3-0. This will be his first appearance against Boston.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Red Sox - Bill Mueller, .330 avg.; Manny Ramirez, 25 HRs and 79 RBIs; Garciaparra, 85 runs; Johnny Damon, 20 SBs. Rangers - Michael Young, .321 avg.; Juan Gonzalez, Alex Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro, 24 HRs; Gonzalez and Palmeiro, 70 RBIs; Rodriguez, 76 runs; Young and Rodriguez, 10 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Red Sox, 5-3.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Red Sox - Mueller was 1-for-3 Wednesday after becoming the first player to hit grand slams from both sides of the plate in a game Tuesday. … RHP Scott Williamson, acquired Tuesday from the Cincinnati Reds, won’t join the Red Sox until Friday in Baltimore. … OF Trot Nixon homered Wednesday, giving him six homers in 20 games at the Ballpark in Arlington. Rangers - Frustrated by the constant losing, SS Rodriguez said Wednesday he would be willing to consider a trade “if the Rangers found they could be better off without me, whether now or a year or two down the road.” … Texas has nine rookies on its roster after recalling OF Ramon Nivar from Oklahoma after trading OF Doug Glanville to the Chicago Cubs. … The Rangers are 11-21 against the Red Sox since the start of 2000.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Red Sox - 28-27 on the road; Rangers - 25-29 at home.
INJURIES: Red Sox - RHP Robert Person (hip), 15-day DL. Rangers - OF Juan Gonzalez (calf), 15-day DL; OF Kevin Mench (wrist), 15-day DL; RHP Chan Ho Park (oblique), 15-day DL; RHP Ricardo Rodriguez (hip), 15-day DL; RHP Ismael Valdes (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Jeff Zimmerman (elbow), 60-day DL; IF Herbert Perry (shoulder), 60-day DL; OF Rusty Greer (neck), 60-day DL.