Texas (63-49) at Cleveland (49-64)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Cleveland, OH
Temp: 77° F
  • Game info: 12:05 pm EDT Thu Aug 13, 2009
  • TV: FSSW, STO
Preview | Box Score | Recap

A slow start to this season-high 10-game road trip certainly cooled the Texas Rangers. They’re now hoping to end the swing at .500 when they meet the Cleveland Indians on Thursday afternoon.

The Rangers enjoyed an 11-3 stretch heading into this trip, which started with three consecutive losses to last-place Oakland before closing that series with a win. They then took two of three from AL West-leading Los Angeles and have split the first two of this set, winning 5-0 on Wednesday.

Texas (63-49) is five games back of the Angels in the division and 1 1/2 behind Boston for the wild card.

Josh Hamilton(notes) is certainly doing his part to help the Rangers close those gaps, hitting .424 with a homer and six RBIs during the trip. He is 5 for 8 with two doubles and two RBIs in this series.

The center fielder, who has a .391 average in six career games at Progressive Field, also appears to be putting a controversial incident related to his prior substance abuse behind him.

Photos of the two-time All-Star cavorting with several scantily clad women in a bar last January were published on a Web site Saturday, and he apologized for the indiscretion.

Hamilton’s inspired comeback from the depths of alcoholism and drug abuse made headlines last season as he led the majors in RBIs and put on an amazing show at the Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium.

The Rangers will give the ball to Scott Feldman(notes) (11-4, 4.01 ERA) on Thursday. The right-hander is 7-1 with a 3.49 ERA in nine road starts, winning his last three with a 2.61 ERA.

He may be looking to be a bit more efficient after laboring through his last outing. Feldman threw a career-high 121 pitches over six innings Friday, allowing four runs and eight hits in an 11-6 victory at Los Angeles. That performance came five days after he hurled 20 fewer pitches in seven innings and allowed two runs in beating Seattle 4-2.

Feldman is 0-1 with a 6.14 ERA in seven games versus the Indians. That loss came in his only start against them, 5-2 at Cleveland on May 24, 2008, when he allowed five runs in six innings.

He has faced the Indians once this season, getting tagged for four runs and two homers in 2 1-3 innings in Texas’ 12-8 defeat April 9.

The Indians (49-64) are trying to win a fourth consecutive series and rebound from their second loss in seven games. Despite being shut out Wednesday, Cleveland is batting .304 with 21 homers in its last 17 games, winning 11.

Jeremy Sowers(notes) (4-7, 4.75) will take the mound looking to get a third consecutive victory for the first time since he won a career-high six decisions in a row July 22-Sept. 5, 2006.

The left-hander improved to 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in his last three starts after allowing two runs in seven innings of Friday’s 6-2 win at Chicago.

Sowers’ only game against the Rangers resulted in an 8-7 win Aug. 23, but he was removed with two outs in the fourth after surrendering seven runs and eight hits.

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Starting Pitchers

S. Feldman Hou vs. J. Sowers Cle
17-8 Record 6-11
4.08 ERA 5.25
113 K 51
65 BB 52
1.28 WHIP 1.51

Scoreboard

Thursday, Aug 13