Although the Texas Rangers are cruising toward their first division title in 10 years, they haven’t done well against the AL East - the division which will almost certainly produce their first opponent in the playoffs.
The Rangers will look to avoid being swept by a fourth different team from the East this year Wednesday in the finale of a three-game road set against the Tampa Bay Rays, who have won four straight.
Texas (67-51) holds an eight-game lead over Los Angeles in the West as it heads toward its first postseason berth since 1999. There’s little chance the Rangers won’t face a team from the East, and they are 12-20 against the powerful division after being swept in past series by New York, Baltimore and Toronto.
Young said he was feeling better Wednesday, but his movement is limited and he continues to undergo daily treatment.
Vladimir Guerrero(notes) started in right field Tuesday for the 11th time, and had a double in four at-bats. Guerrero, with one homer in his last 30 games, will likely serve as the designated hitter Wednesday.
Texas fell for the 12th time in 15 games at Tropicana Field after Tampa Bay (73-46) used a 15-hit attack Tuesday. Evan Longoria(notes) and Carl Crawford(notes) each had three hits and three RBIs for the Rays, who remained in a first-place tie in the East with the Yankees.
Crawford is 12 for 35 during an eight-game hitting streak, with six RBIs in his last three games. He recorded the 100th triple of his career Tuesday, making the 29-year-old the youngest player to reach that total since Stan Musial (28 years, 8 months) in 1949.
“It’s a real cool thing,” Crawford said. “You like to be in the company with guys like that.”
James Shields(notes) (10-11, 4.98 ERA) will try to avoid a third straight loss for Tampa Bay. Shields lasted four innings and gave up eight runs in a 17-11 loss at Toronto on Aug. 7, and lasted five-plus and yielded four runs Friday in a 5-0 loss to Baltimore.
The right-hander is 2-2 with a 4.63 ERA in five career outings against Texas. Guerrero is 12 for 30 with two homers against him.
Derek Holland(notes) (2-1, 4.19) has been recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City to start for Texas. Holland was placed on the 15-day disabled list May 31 due to left rotator cuff inflammation, and has been in the minors recovering.
The left-hander went 6-2 with a 1.91 ERA with Oklahoma City this year. He’s 2-0 with a 5.73 ERA in two starts against Tampa Bay - both last year.
The Rays are a major league-best 26-13 against left-handed starters.