Rangers-Red Sox Preview


Ryan Dempster hopes his second start for the Texas Rangers goes a lot better than the first.

The right-hander looks to bounce back from a rough debut with his new team and help the AL West-leading Rangers avoid a third consecutive loss Tuesday night against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Dempster (0-0, 15.43 ERA) went 5-5 with a 2.25 ERA in 16 starts for the Chicago Cubs this year, but allowed a season-high eight runs and nine hits - two homers - in 4 2-3 innings of a 15-9 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday in his first start since Texas (63-45) acquired him two days prior.

"The most important thing was I kept the team in the ballgame and gave us a chance to win," Dempster told the Rangers' official website. "I'm not really used to that, giving up eight runs."

Dempster allowed five hits in seven innings of a 3-0 win over Boston at Wrigley Field on June 15. This will be his first outing at Fenway since June 12, 2001, when he lost while pitching for the Marlins.

He'll face a Boston squad that's looking for a third straight win after pounding out eight doubles in a 9-2 victory in Monday's series opener. Dustin Pedroia doubled three times while Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford each had two as the Red Sox (55-55) increased their major league-leading doubles total to 243.

Boston had been outscored 39-12 while losing four of its previous five against Texas this season. The victory came hours after owner John Henry publicly gave first-year manager Bobby Valentine a vote of confidence despite the team's mediocre season.

"Our job is to go out and play," said first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who went 3 for 5 with three RBIs. "It's us that are playing out there so the .500 record we're at right now, it's on us. It's not on Bobby."

Crawford, who went 0 for 10 with five strikeouts during a three-game set at Texas last month, is 9 for 18 with eight RBIs in his last four games.

The Red Sox now hand the ball to Jon Lester (5-9, 5.36), who is 0-4 with a 7.91 ERA in six starts since the beginning of July. Though he's posted a 10.62 ERA while losing his last four home outings, Lester showed improvement Thursday, when he gave up three runs and struck out seven with no walks in eight innings of a 5-0 loss to Minnesota at Fenway.

"I need to keep sticking with the process," Lester said. "Obviously, the results aren't there and a loss is a loss."

The left-hander is certainly hoping for a better effort than his last versus the Rangers on April 17, when he gave up seven runs and walked four in two-plus innings of an 18-3 home loss. Lester had been 2-1 with a 2.97 ERA in five starts against Texas from 2009-11.

Nelson Cruz - 8 for 14 with two doubles, a triple and a home run against Lester - had two doubles and a single Monday. He's a lifetime .415 hitter with eight doubles in 13 games at Fenway.

Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus is expected to be in the lineup after missing Monday's game with a sore shoulder. The All-Star is 11 for 25 with seven RBIs in his last five games after going 1 for 19 in his previous five.

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