(Sports Network) - A pair of division leaders meet up in Arlington for the
third and final game of their series tonight as the Texas Rangers entertain
the Chicago White Sox.
Texas, which was 20 games over .500 less than two weeks ago, has been the team
leading the pack in the American League West in 2012, but the squad is in
danger of being swept by the White Sox, who themselves have assumed the top
spot in the AL Central thanks to a five-game win streak.
Despite hitting a mere .215 this late into the season, Adam Dunn again came up
big for the White Sox on Saturday as he crushed his major league-leading 31st
home run in a 5-2 road victory. Paul Konerko connected on his 17th home run of
the campaign and Eduardo Escobar contributed with a pair of doubles as Chicago
defeated the Rangers for the sixth time in eight tries in 2012.
Philip Humber managed to pick up his fifth win as he allowed just four hits
and one run over the course of six innings of work for the visitors. Humber,
who pitched a perfect game earlier in the season, walked two and struck out
four along the way.
"We had a good game plan going in and (catcher) Tyler (Flowers) did a good
job," Humber said. "To come in here and beat a tough team is always good. We
have a chance to sweep them tomorrow. We like our spot."
Mike Napoli hit a solo home run for the Rangers, his 16th of the year, and
added a second RBI in the ninth inning on a ground out. The team as a whole
generated just five hits and finished 0-for-13 with runners in scoring
position which was the worst display since going 0-for-14 against the Indians
"Offensively we could be better...that's it," second baseman Ian Kinsler
said after coming up empty in four trips to the plate. "We know we're good. We
know what we've done in the past. We know we've been the best offense in the
league the past few years. We all know what it's like when we're clicking. We
just have to get back to it."
Texas starter Matt Harrison was charged with his sixth loss of the season as
he permitted five runs on seven hits and three walks, striking out four as the
team saw its lead over second-place Oakland in the AL West shrink to just 3
Roy Oswalt was originally scheduled to make the start against Chicago in
the series finale tonight, but the Rangers have instead pushed Oswalt back to
Monday night against the Angels and will send Scott Feldman to the mound.
A product of San Mateo Junior College in California, Feldman is in his eighth
major league season, all of which have been spent with the Rangers
organization. The right-hander had been absolutely dismal through the middle
of June when he had a record of 0-6 to go along with an ERA approaching 7.00.
Since then he has gotten on track with four straight wins, his most impressive
performance coming on Monday when he allowed Boston just one run on seven hits
and struck out five over seven innings in a 9-1 victory.
Feldman, who failed to earn a decision in his first outing of the season
against the White Sox when he gave up four runs on six hits through six
innings, has a career mark of 2-2 to go along with a 5.09 ERA in 12 all-time
appearances versus Chicago.
A bit shaky with his control in his last outing on Monday against Minnesota,
Gavin Floyd won't be expecting his third win in a row if he struggles in the
same manner tonight.
The right-hander has actually won four of his last five outings and has held
opponents to a combined total of just two earned runs in those triumphs in
order to reach .500 on the season at 8-8.
Against the Twins earlier this week the Maryland native gave up three runs --
two earned -- over six innings which isn't all that bad. But while he was
permitting six hits Floyd was also issuing six bases-on-balls and had just one
strikeout to show for his efforts in a 7-4 victory.
Floyd, who has a career record of 2-4 and a 4.97 ERA in seven games against
the Rangers, has had issues on the road in 2012 with just one win in six
Not in the starting lineup for the Rangers on Saturday was Josh Hamilton who
was given the day off by manager Ron Washington. Hamilton, on fire through the
first two months of the season when he hit 21 homes runs and knocked in 57,
has been dreadful in the month of July with a total of only 10 hits, of which
three came before July 5.
Hamilton has struck out 21 times in 69 at-bats this month, his batting average
a woeful .145 in July as a result.
The Sports Network