First, Boston will face the American League West-leading Rangers, who will be playing at home for the first time in more than two weeks, in a three-game set before going to New York for a three-game series against the AL East-leading Yankees. The Red Sox have dropped four of six since losing David Ortiz to a right Achilles injury, but have not had a losing record since June 16. Despite going 2-for-3 with runners in scoring position in Sunday's loss to the Blue Jays, the Red Sox are 3-for-16 (.188) with runners in scoring position over their last three games.
"We're stacking the bases and different parts of the lineup aren't getting that hit," Boston manager Bobby Valentine said. "You got a couple on first and second, you got first and third, you got the bases loaded, just need a hit once in a while and it's silly to think that would be David coming up all the time."
The Rangers are happy to be home, to say the least.
"Every time you get a 10-game homestand you're looking forward to it, whether you've been on a 10-day road trip or a three-day road trip," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "It's always nice to play in front of the home crowd. Hopefully, the heat will give us a little break. We've got some good teams coming in. Hopefully, we can put together a good homestand."
In Monday's series opener, Rangers righty Scott Feldman will make his 11th start after righty Roy Oswalt, who was 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his last two starts, was scratched with back tightness. Feldman tossed two scoreless innings out of the bullpen in his last appearance July 8 against the Twins, and got a no-decision in his last start against the White Sox on July 4, allowing four runs on six hits over six innings.
Boston lefty Felix Doubront will make his first appearance against Texas. He gave up three runs on a bases-loaded triple by Josh Hamilton in his only outing against the Rangers last season, which lasted just one-third of an inning. He is 0-1 with a 9.95 ERA in four appearances, including one start two years ago, in his career against the Rangers.
Yet, Doubront became the first player on his team to reach 10 wins when he allowed one run on four hits over six innings in a 10-1 win over the White Sox on Wednesday, improving to 10-4. He is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in three starts this month and will try to help the Red Sox chip away at a three-game deficit in the Wild Card standings.
"Since I came to Spring Training, I was working so hard to be here," said Doubront, who admitted to being surprised by his success. "Whatever happens, I want to keep fighting to get more wins."
"Coming out of Spring Training, Vegas would have given you pretty good odds that he would not have been the first on our staff with 10 wins," Valentine said.
Red Sox: Rotation at DH continues
Since Ortiz suffered a right Achilles injury that landed him on the DL on Wednesday, the Red Sox have used four different designated hitters in their last six games. Boston DHs have three hits in 21 at-bats without an RBI over that stretch. Cody Ross has gone 1-for-8 in his last two games as the DH after batting .429 with three doubles, three home runs and 10 RBIs in his previous six.
"I think so far, it's been fine," Valentine said. "Cody enjoys doing it and the more we could keep him in the lineup, but also keep his body in tip-top shape, the more productive he'll be. So maybe it's a little blessing there that he can do that."
Jacoby Ellsbury, who spent three months on the disabled list with a separated shoulder, led off the fifth inning of Sunday's 15-7 loss to the Blue Jays with a home run. It was his first homer in 64 at-bats this year. Ellsbury, who has hit more than nine home runs in a season once, is hitting .292 with 11 runs and four RBIs in 16 games this season.
Rangers: Torrealba comes back with a bang
Yorvit Torrealba, who was on 72-hour paternity leave with his wife, Millie, who gave birth to a girl Tuesday in Florida, returned to the lineup Saturday. He tied a season high with three hits in five at-bats in a 9-2 win over the Angels.
Torrealba also hit his third home run, hitting back-to-back homers with fellow catcher Mike Napoli in a five-run second inning. Torrealba last homered in a May 26 win over the Blue Jays, when Nelson Cruz, Torrealba and Mitch Moreland went back-to-back-to-back. Torrealba went 0-for-3 in a 7-4 loss to the Angels on Sunday night.
An attendance of at least 37,643 would allow Texas to reach the 2 million mark at the Ballpark in Arlington. Monday marks the team's 46th home game and would be the earliest in club history the Rangers would reach an attendance of 2 million in a season. Their average attendance this year is 43,607."That's a huge deal," Kinsler said. "We're basically playing in the golden era of the Texas Rangers right now. It's nice to have that kind of support. It means a lot to us to have that many fans to come to the ballpark."
Boston reliever Andrew Bailey, who signed a one-year, $3.9 million deal with the Red Sox in January and underwent surgery on his right thumb on April 4, will throw batting practice before Wednesday's game against Texas and is about a week away from beginning a Minor League rehab assignment.
Texas' Craig Gentry is batting .389 since June 1 and his .340 this season is the second best in the AL among players with at least 150 at-bats, behind the Angels' Mike Trout (.357).