Vladimir Guerrero(notes) received a rare day off, and the Texas Rangers can only hope it will serve to prepare the major league’s RBI leader for a showdown with a pitcher who hasn’t lost since April 10.
With Texas (34-28) playing the first of three straight series at NL parks, manager Ron Washington opted to rest Guerrero in a 4-3 win Saturday. Washington wants to limit the amount of innings his 15th-year veteran plays in the outfield.
The 35-year-old slugger has seven of his 54 RBIs in his last four games, and is hitting .349 (15 for 43) during a 10-game hit streak. He homered in Friday’s series-opening 6-2 loss.
It could be an historic day for another Texas stalwart, with third baseman Michael Young(notes) two hits away from tying Ivan Rodriguez’s(notes) franchise record of 1,747. Young is batting .388 with four homers and 18 RBIs in his last 23 games.
“I’m not trying to diminish how special it will be, but I’m focused on what’s more important team-wise,” Young told the Rangers’ official website.
None of the Rangers’ regulars have faced Gallardo (6-2, 2.41 ERA). The Brewers ace posted a 6.75 ERA in losing his first two outings, but has gone 6-0 with a 1.67 ERA in his last 11 starts.
The right-hander has given up one run over his last 23 innings. He yielded four hits in seven scoreless frames Tuesday, but didn’t get a decision in a 3-2 home win over the Chicago Cubs.
Gallardo is 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA in four career interleague outings heading into his first against Texas.
The Rangers bullpen had gone 12 1-3 innings without allowing a run before Frank Francisco(notes) and closer Neftali Perez combined to give up three Saturday. Perez’s struggles in the ninth inning forced Washington to use Chris Ray(notes) to record the final two outs for his first save since 2007.
“Last year it was rough, the whole season I had a problem with mechanics and trying to find my arm slot,” said Ray, who posted a career-worst 7.27 ERA in 2009. “This year, finally, I can go out there and pitch without having to think about mechanics.”
Milwaukee (26-36) is looking for more from slugger Prince Fielder(notes), who is 6 for 35 in his last 11 home games. His lone RBI in that span came on a solo homer Friday, but he regressed Saturday with an 0-for-5 showing and three strikeouts.
Texas starter Colby Lewis(notes) (5-4, 3.40) has dropped his last four road starts, and is winless in his last six outings away from Arlington. He was solid at home Tuesday, lasting seven innings and giving up one run to earn a 7-1 win over Seattle.
The right-hander has never faced the Brewers, and is 1-2 with a 11.12 ERA in three career interleague starts.