The Texas Rangers have left themselves plenty of room for improvement after their first three games. Getting a lead for the first time this season would be a good place to start.
The Rangers hope to avoid their first 0-4 start in 16 years Friday when they take on the Boston Red Sox in their home opener.
Opening the season with three straight losses to the Los Angeles Angels was not the start new manager Ron Washington envisioned.
Texas (0-3) was outscored 17-7 and outhit 33-15 in the three-game series. The Rangers were outscored 7-0 in the first inning and never held the lead, sending them to their first 0-3 start since 2002.
The Rangers, who lost their home opener to the Red Sox (2-1) last season, haven’t started 0-4 since 1991.
“You want to win so some frustration sets in, but we’re not feeding on that,” Washington said on the team’s official Web site. “We know what’s happening. We didn’t catch any breaks here. We know we’re better than what we played here. We will get better.”
Brandon McCarthy allowed four first-inning runs Wednesday and the Rangers never recovered in a 5-3 loss.
There was, however, some good news for Texas, which went 2-for-4 with runners in scoring position after going 0-for-15 in the first two games. Unfortunately, the Rangers only put runners on base in three of nine innings.
“That’s the way it goes,” outfielder Brad Wilkerson said. “They had a lot of big hits and put a lot of pressure on you. They’re good at that. We didn’t get the big hits or put the pressure on them. That’s what we need to do. We need to get better and we will.”
Robinson Tejeda will try to build on a strong finish to last season and help the Rangers into the win column for the first time.
The right-hander, who went 4-2 with a 2.32 ERA in his last nine starts in 2006, will be pitching in front of a sellout crowd at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
“This means a lot to me,” Tejeda said. “This is like a great opportunity for me. It’s a dream for me to be the starter at the home opener. I’m really excited about it.”
Tejeda, though, was 0-3 with a 7.17 ERA in five home starts last season. He has never faced the Red Sox.
Boston won the final two games of its series at Kansas City, outscoring the Royals 11-2 following a 7-1 loss in the opener.
Daisuke Matsuzaka followed a strong outing by Josh Beckett with an outstanding performance Thursday in his major league debut. Matsuzaka yielded six hits and allowed one run over seven innings while striking out 10 and walking one in a 4-1 victory.
“Major league hitters, after you go through the order once or twice, get a bead on you, and he didn’t let them,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “He started throwing different pitches on different counts. He came back in the sixth and seventh and was good as he was early.”
Tim Wakefield will try to continue Boston’s run of strong starting pitching in his season debut.
Wakefield was 7-11 with a 4.63 ERA in 23 starts last season, his 14th in the majors. He was 0-1 with a 7.59 ERA in two starts last season against the Rangers, and is 7-13 with a 6.08 ERA in 28 career appearances versus them.
Texas’ Frank Catalanotto is 15-for-45 with three home runs lifetime against Wakefield. Catalanotto has only 70 career home runs, and Wakefield is the only pitcher he has more than two against.
Boston is 6-2 in its last eight games at Texas.
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