Texas (81-62) at Tampa Bay (77-64)

Fair Currently: St. Petersburg, FL
Temp: 87° F
  • Game info: 1:10 pm EDT Wed Sep 7, 2011
  • TV: FSSW, SUN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Texas Rangers’ offense more often than not has provided a lift for its starting pitchers, and Derek Holland(notes) has been one of the main beneficiaries.

David Price(notes) hasn’t been as lucky when he takes the mound for the Tampa Bay Rays.

The left-handers square off Wednesday when their teams complete a three-game set at Tropicana Field.

AL West-leading Texas (81-62) and Tampa Bay have split the first two games of the series, with the Rays (77-64) winning 5-1 on Monday and the Rangers bouncing back for an 8-0 victory Tuesday - their club-record 18th shutout this season.

The Rangers also rank third in the majors in runs scored behind Boston and the New York Yankees.

David Murphy(notes), hitting .477 with four homers and 16 RBIs over his last 11 games, went 4 for 4 with four RBIs on Tuesday as starter C.J. Wilson(notes) threw a five-hitter.

That type of offensive support from the Texas lineup has been a trend for Holland (13-5, 4.13 ERA), whose 7.52 run support average is tops in the majors.

He also has held up his end lately.

Holland has won his last two starts while allowing one run in 13 2-3 innings, beating the Los Angeles Angels 11-7 on Aug. 26 before pitching seven impressive innings in Friday’s 10-0 win at Boston.

“That’s something to be thankful for,” Holland said of the generous offensive efforts. “But at the same time they may be giving me that, I’ve got to do my part and that’s to make pitches and keep the momentum on our side. It’s amazing, but, at the same time, I’ve got to stay focused.”

The support has been largely the same when he faces Tampa Bay. Holland beat the Rays 11-5 on May 30 after allowing five runs in 5 2-3 innings, and he’s 3-1 in four career meetings despite a 7.29 ERA, with the Rangers scoring 25 runs in his 21 innings.

Price (12-12, 3.41) hasn’t been as fortunate this year.

The southpaw has lost two of his last three starts despite a 2.05 ERA in that stretch, with Friday’s 3-2 loss to Baltimore and a 2-1 defeat to Detroit on Aug. 23 sandwiched around a 12-0 victory at Toronto.

The Rays have scored two runs or fewer for Price 13 times - including none in seven starts - and he’s gone 0-11 in those outings.

“Two games in a row where the stuff has been outrageous,” manager Joe Maddon said of Price on Friday. “Absolutely pitched well enough to win, just did not have enough runs.”

The same thing happened to Price against the Rangers on June 1, when he allowed three runs in eight innings while the Rays lost 3-0. Price received only one run of support over 12 2-3 innings in losing Game 1 and Game 5 of the 2010 division series against Texas.

Tampa Bay mustered only five singles in Tuesday’s loss, which ended its three-game winning streak. The Rays had scored 19 runs during that stretch.

Evan Longoria(notes) went 1 for 4 and hasn’t had a multihit game in his last 11.

B.J. Upton(notes) is hitting .143 over his last 16 games and is 3 for 25 against Texas this season, with his only RBI coming on a solo homer Monday.

Rangers manager Ron Washington said there are “no worries” about Josh Hamilton(notes) tweaking his back Tuesday, and the reigning AL MVP should be in the lineup.

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Starting Pitchers

D. Holland Tex vs. D. Price TB
16-5 Record 12-13
3.95 ERA 3.49
162 K 218
67 BB 63
1.35 WHIP 1.14

Scoreboard

Wednesday, Sep 7