After losing the first two contests of a 10-game road trip, the Rangers look to get back on track behind Padilla on Wednesday night against the Oakland Athletics.
Texas (59-46) entered this trip winner of 11 of 14, but has managed only two runs and 12 hits - 11 singles - in losing the first two games against last-place Oakland (46-60). In Tuesday’s 6-0 defeat, the Rangers were held without a hit until the fifth inning.
For a Texas team trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 1999, the start to the trip has been a disappointing one.
The Rangers, who are without the injured Ian Kinsler(notes) (strained left hamstring) and Nelson Cruz(notes) (sprained left ankle), trail the AL West-leading Los Angeles Angels by 4 1/2 games and are three back of Boston in the wild-card race. Texas begins a three-game series versus the Angels on Friday.
First, the Rangers are counting on Padilla (8-5, 4.66 ERA) to help them get back in the win column.
In his first start since July 17 after being sidelined by swine flu, Padilla allowed three runs and six hits in six innings of Friday’s 5-4 victory over Seattle. The right-hander, who spent time earlier this season on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder, improved to 7-3 with a 4.12 ERA in his last 11 starts.
“If we can keep him healthy, he’s shown us what he can do,” third baseman Michael Young(notes) told the Rangers’ official Web site. “If he can throw strikes and keep us in the game, good things happen.”
Padilla has been at his best on the road, where Texas has run into trouble, losing five of seven away from Rangers Ballpark.
Padilla has a 1.80 ERA in winning his last three starts away from Texas and is 4-1 with a 3.18 ERA in seven road starts on the season, with the Rangers winning six of those contests.
In his only start against the A’s this year on April 30, Padilla allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings of a 4-2 loss.
Oakland will counter with Chad Reineke(notes), who makes his Athletics debut after he was acquired from San Diego on April 8. The right-hander went 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA in three starts for the Padres last season.
Reineke went 5-4 with a 4.37 ERA in 24 games - 16 starts - for Triple-A Sacramento. He was 4-1 with a 4.73 ERA in his last six outings.