Catalanotto and the Rangers go for back-to-back victories as they continue a three-game series with the Devil Rays on Saturday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Texas (50-65) has won six of its last eight games at home, including a 7-4 victory in Friday’s opener. Catalanotto went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer and finished with a career-high five RBIs to improve his average to .458 (11-for-24) with nine RBIs in his last seven games.
The Rangers’ left fielder got off to a slow start this season, batting .194 through 44 games, but is hitting .345 over his last 27 contests.
“I knew it was going to come eventually,” said Catalanotto, who is 7-for-18 versus the Devil Rays this season. “I’m feeling better here in the second half. Hopefully I can keep it going.”
He’ll try to continue that play versus Jackson (2-11, 6.35 ERA), who is allowing opponents to hit .306 this season. The Devil Rays (44-71) are just 5-16 in Jackson’s 21 starts, losing six of the last seven.
The right-hander is 0-2 in his last three outings, but has pitched better in his last two, allowing just two earned runs through 12 innings.
He gave up two runs and seven hits over six innings on Monday and left with a two-run lead, but didn’t factor into the 6-4 defeat to Detroit. Jackson walked four, struck out two and dropped his ERA to 6.35—the lowest its been since April 25.
“The thing I really liked is that he pitched out of some situations and didn’t give up the big inning and absolutely gave us a chance to win that game,” manager Joe Maddon told the Devil Rays’ official Web site. “He threw it softer in crucial moments with his changeup and his slider. That was what I really liked about that.”
The 23-year-old is 0-1 with a 6.39 ERA in two career starts versus the Rangers, including an 8-4 defeat on April 9 when he gave up four runs through 5 2-3 innings.
Tampa Bay is an MLB-worst 18-38 on the road this season and hasn’t had much success in Arlington recently. The Devil Rays have dropped seven of their last eight games there and 15 of their last 19.
John Rheinecker (1-0, 7.40) tries to rebound from back-to-back shaky starts for Texas. The left-hander has allowed 13 runs through his last 9 1-3 innings while allowing opponents to hit .386, but escaped with two no-decisions.
He gave up seven runs and nine hits—both season highs—over five innings in a 9-7, 13-inning defeat to Oakland on Monday. Rheinecker walked four, struck out six and allowed two homers for the second straight game.
The 28-year-old allowed two runs through four innings in his only start versus the Devil Rays on April 22, 2006, but didn’t factor into the 6-5 win.
He’ll try to slow Tampa Bay’s Carl Crawford, who is batting .578 (26-for-45) during an 11-game hitting streak. Crawford’s 2-for-5 effort Friday raised his season average to .317—the highest its been since May 27.
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