The Texas Rangers entered 2009 looking to improve after another sub-.500 season. In sole possession of the best record in the AL this late in a season for the first time in nearly 26 years, they appear to be on their way to doing so.
They’ll try to continue their hot play Wednesday night when they face the New York Yankees in the finale of a three-game series.
Last season, the Rangers (27-18) finished second in the AL West with a 79-83 record, 21 games out of first place. It was the eighth time in nine years Texas finished below .500.
The Rangers appeared to be headed down a similar path entering this month, holding a 10-12 mark May 1. Since then, they’re a major league-best 17-6 - 9-1 at home - to move four games in front of Los Angeles.
Texas has sole possession of the league’s best record 45 games or more into the season for the first time since July 3, 1983.
The Rangers accomplished that feat Tuesday with a 7-3 victory after the game was delayed 2 hours and 24 minutes. They bounced back from Monday’s 11-1 defeat that was only the Rangers’ fourth in the last 20 home meetings with the Yankees (26-20).
The left-hander went 1-1 with a 4.85 ERA in seven relief outings prior to being inserted into the rotation.
Burnett has struggled recently since a strong start, going 0-2 with a 6.04 ERA in his last seven outings after winning his first two starts with a 2.70 ERA.
Burnett gave up a home run on his first pitch Friday against Philadelphia and matched his single-game career high by allowing two more. He surrendered five runs and eight hits with seven strikeouts in six innings of a 7-3 loss.
“It’s a matter of executing every pitch,” Burnett told the Yankees’ official Web site about a flaw in his delivery. “We’ll work on it in the bullpen and be consistent, and take care of it. The good thing is I know how to fix it. … If I didn’t know what was the problem, I’d be worried.”
Burnett is 1-2 with a 4.72 ERA in six games - five starts - against Texas, and 1-1 with a 5.21 ERA in three starts at Rangers Ballpark.
New York could be without Melky Cabrera(notes) after he left Tuesday’s game with a right shoulder injury. The outfielder, hitting .323, crashed into the wall in the first inning attempting to make a catch.