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Series Preview: Texas Rangers

Sure, they may have one of the best records in the league, but a lot of their damage has been done against the weak Western Division.  With their star outfielder set to miss two months, surely the team can't stay in first place.

Sound familiar?  The sentiment above has been used to describe the 2009 Dodgers, but could just as easily be used to paint the picture of the 2009 Rangers.  The Rangers have the second-best record in the American League, but are 13-3 against their AL West foes, and 21-22 against everybody else.  Media darling Josh Hamilton was put on the disabled list last week after surgery to repair a torn abdominal muscle, and may very well miss two months of action.

The Rangers on offense have been led by Nelson Cruz, Ian Kinsler, and Michael Young:

Nelson Cruz RF 236 .288 .352 .594 .408 21.6
Ian Kinsler 2B 272 .265 .347 .525 .381 20.0
Michael Young 3B 250 .318 .360 .511 .380 19.7

Like the Dodgers, the Rangers are a good offense struggling a bit in June, having scored only 29 runs in nine games this month.

For all the early season talk of an Andruw Jones renaissance, he has nine hits in 54 AB since May 9, hitting .167/.242/.333 over that span.

Their pitching is led by Kevin Millwood, but his 2.72 ERA is belied by a .256 batting average on balls in play (BABIP), and his FIP is 4.71.  Closer Frank Francisco (one of the coolest baseball names) has a gaudy 0.46 ERA, but he hasn't been that good -- his FIP is 2.63.  Good, but not Broxton good.  Francisco has been nursing a strained right shoulder recently, and C.J. Wilson has filled in for him at closer.

Vicente Padilla, who was placed on waivers last week to "send a message," gets the start for the Rangers tonight.

The Dodgers are 5-3 all-time at The Ballpark at Arlington, but haven't played there since 2000.

2009 Rangers
Record 34-25, 1st AL West
Runs Scored 5.08/gm (5th in AL)
wOBA .346 (5th in AL)
Runs Allowed 4.80/gm (T-9th in AL)
FIP 5.02 (14th in NL)

Pitching Probables:

Friday, 5:05pm:  Hiroki Kuroda (1-1, 2.78 FIP) vs. Vicente Padilla (4-3, 4.88 FIP)

Saturday, 5:05pm:  Randy Wolf (3-2, 4.16 FIP) vs.Scott Feldman (5-1, 4.85 FIP)

Sunday, 12:05pm:  Chad Billingsley (8-3, 2.79 FIP) vs. Derek Holland (1-3, 5.39 FIP)