The Rangers hope their struggling offense can get back on track Wednesday when they face the Baltimore Orioles in a doubleheader at Camden Yards.
Orioles ace Erik Bedard was in complete control in Tuesday’s series opener, striking out 11 over seven innings in Baltimore’s 6-2 victory.
Bedard increased his major league-leading strikeout total to 218, matching Mike Mussina’s club record set in 1997. Bedard, who won his ninth straight decision, has 26 strikeouts in two games against Texas this season.
The Rangers (54-70) had the misfortune of facing the major league leader in strikeouts one game after they fanned 19 times in a 1-0 loss at Minnesota on Sunday, including 17 against two-time Cy Young winner Johan Santana, who ranks second in the AL in strikeouts.
“I’ve seen enough of Santana and Bedard. They’re two of the best in the game,” Texas’ Marlon Byrd said.
Texas has lost four of five overall, and seven of eight on the road. It is hitting .190 (31-for-163) with 53 strikeouts and just 10 runs in the last five contests.
“It’s the type of guys I’m sending up there right now,” manager Ron Washington said. “They’re big swingers and they swing and miss a lot. We’re going to have to deal with it.”
With their offense already depleted, the Rangers could be without All-Star shortstop Michael Young on Wednesday. Young left Tuesday’s game in the fifth inning with back stiffness and is listed as day-to-day.
Texas will face the inconsistent Cabrera (9-12, 4.93 ERA) in the first game. The right-hander limited the Yankees to two hits on Aug. 14 while striking out five and walking six in 6 2-3 innings of a 12-0 road win. It was in stark contrast to his previous outing on Aug. 9, when he allowed eight runs - three in the first inning - and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 13-8 loss to Seattle.
Cabrera leads the AL with 86 walks and ranks 24th with 127 strikeouts.
He gave up two runs and six hits over six innings with five walks and eight strikeouts in a 2-1 loss at Texas on July 8. He is 1-5 with a 5.73 ERA in seven career starts against the Rangers.
Kevin Millar has reached via a hit, walk or hit by pitch in 47 straight games, two shy of the club record set by Ken Singleton in 1977.
Kason Gabbard (5-1, 3.56) gets the call for the Rangers in the opener, coming off his best start with his new team. After two mediocre starts with Texas, and an early exit in another because of an injury, the left-hander was outstanding Friday at Minnesota. He limited the Twins to one run and five hits in 6 2-3 innings, but left without a decision in Texas’ 2-1 loss.
Gabbard has yet to win on the road in his two-year career, going 0-3 with a 4.95 ERA in eight starts. He is 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA in five starts this season away from home.
He made one start against the Orioles while with Boston last season, yielding five hits in 4 2-3 scoreless innings before leaving without a decision.
Olson (1-2, 6.38) makes his first appearance against the Rangers in the second game for Baltimore. The 23-year-old left-hander had the worst of his four starts Friday in a 5-2 loss at Toronto, giving up five runs, six hits and four walks in 2 2-3 innings.
Olson, who has issued 18 walks in 18 1-3 innings, is 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA in two starts at Camden Yards.
Taking the mound for Texas in the nightcap will be John Rheinecker (1-1, 5.82), who is winless in four consecutive starts. The left-hander had one of his best outings of the season Thursday as a fill-in for Brandon McCarthy, who was placed on the 15-day DL due to a stress fracture in his right shoulder. He gave up two runs and six hits, struck out two and walked three in a season-best 7 1-3 innings, leaving without a decision in a 6-2 loss to Kansas City.
Rheinecker was hit hard in his only career start against the Orioles, allowing seven runs and seven hits over 3 2-3 innings in an 8-1 road loss on July 15, 2006.